Bangs Forever: In Defense Of Fringe (The Cheapest Alternative To Botox)
I’ve had bangs for basically my entire nearly-36 years on this planet. No pictures exist of my actual birth, but I’m pretty sure that when the doctors lifted me out of my mother’s body (I was a C-section baby), they declared, “It’s a girl! And she looks like Alfred Hitchcock — with bangs!” As a little kid, I rocked a legit bowl cut, my mom wielding scissors like an amateur Vidal Sassoon. As I got older, my bangs evolved from thick, chunky fringe to something a little more wispy, and of course I went to town with the hairspray during the late-’80s, when voluminous bangs were all the rage. There have been short periods where I grew my bangs out a bit, tucking the strands behind my ears, and I’ve certainly toyed with other hairstyles that involve pulling my fringe away from my face with bobby pins or headbands — but in the end, my heart stays true. Bangs forever has been and always will be my hair mantra.
Some, apparently, disapprove.
Over at Jezebel, Jasmine Guillory has written a screed declaring that bangs are terrible. She writes: “Do not get bangs. They won’t look good on you, they’ll drive you crazy, they look good on virtually no one, don’t do it.” To which I say, SHUT UP, YOU DON’T GET TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!
Now, in fairness, Guillory does write that she isn’t talking to those of us for whom bangs are basically a part of who we are, like a limb. “You never wondered if you should get them because you knew you would rock them,” she writes. “This piece isn’t for you. It’s for all of the people who constantly wonder if they should get bangs. Those people who ask their hairdresser once a year or so about bangs. Those people who want to do something different and they’re not sure what, so they think, ‘I know! Bangs!'” Her directive to them is, again, NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT.
As a member of Team Bangs Forever, I am not so arrogant that I’m unwilling to see that she makes some decent points, and there certainly are many women who are forever engaged in the “Should I get bangs?” debate. I know, because they often ask me for my opinion, since I have bangs and can speak to the alleged downsides, like those presented in Guillory’s story as rock solid facts that apply to everyone ever. So, with that in mind, allow me to play a little game of Point/Counterpoint:
Point: Bangs make you look childish.
Counterpoint: Sure, certain types of bangs do make a person look childish. Like baby bangs (below left)! Which, as the name suggests, are baby-sized! You shouldn’t get baby bangs unless childish and/or Janeane Garofalo in “Reality Bites” is the lewk you’re going for, in which case, girl, do you.
Some other bang styles can certainly give you a more youthful look — like bangs that are styled so they are curled slightly under (above right) — but given that there is an entire billion dollar beauty industry based around the same goal, I’m not sure that’s such an undesirable thing to a lot of women.
And then there are the tons and tons of examples of adult women with bangs who look like, well, adult women with bangs. Where their bangs don’t make them look noticeably younger or older, just like themselves but with less forehead. For example:
And, I mean, behold the sophistication of Jane Birkin, Francoise Hardy and Anna Karina, all of whom made bangs part of their iconic style:
Flawless. Counterpoint made.
Point: Bangs emphasize your nose.
Counterpoint: Do they really? Always? Or even most of the time? And if that’s even true, so what? Are you saying my nose is ugly? That most noses are ugly? I like my nose. I even got it pierced, which emphasizes it even more. When can I expect a follow up post titled “Should you get your nose pierced? NO”? Because I would like to play this game again!!
Point: Bangs hide your eyes.
Counterpoint: Do you own a pair of sharp scissors? Actual hair shears, or kitchen scissors, or nail scissors? Yes? Are you not a moron? Great. Congratulations, you are perfectly capable of trimming your own bangs on a regular basis so the rest of the world can see your beautiful eyes.
I get my hair cut once a year. (I told you I was low maintenance.) I trim my bangs on my own the rest of the time and they look fucking great and I have amazing eyes, THANK YOU FOR NOTICING.
Point: Bangs make your forehead break out.
Counterpoint: I had the most horrendous acne as a teenager. I still get the occasional breakout now. Through it all, I have had bangs. And of all the available real estate on my face, my forehead has never ever been ground zero for festering zits or blackheads. I cannot remember the last time I broke out on my forehead. And I don’t even wash my hair every day! In other words, this is just fear-mongering. Don’t believe it, sheeple.
Point: Bangs are a pain in the ass to style.
Counterpoint: Bangs can be a pain in the ass to style – if you are high maintenance AF. I am very, very low maintenance, however, and the most work my bangs take in the morning is giving them a quick blast under the hair dryer, either to dry them if they’re wet or to tame any weird cowlicks that might have formed in my sleep, and a few quick clamps of the flat iron because I happen to like mine stick straight. This takes, at most, ONE SINGLE MINUTE.
I am willing to admit, however, that bangs can be a pain in the ass in certain other ways. For example, on those very, very, very rare occasions when I have been riding around in a convertible with the top down, my bangs emerge all mussed up and sticking in weird directions. This is probably why I don’t have a boyfriend, but boyfriends are dumb. When I go to the beach, I am forced to bring a couple bobby pins with me so I can pin them back so I can get an even face tan. It can be hard to wear a winter hat with bangs, but I’ve managed to figure it out relatively unscathed. I’m sure many of you could figure it out too.
Point: Growing out your bangs fucking sucks.
Counterpoint: This is, by far, the most salient point Guillory makes. She’s right. I’ve tried growing out my bangs a few times and it was true suffering. But if you’ve ever grown out a short haircut — and I have — then I can assure you that growing out your bangs is a piece of cake in comparison. But still, I am willing to give this one to Guillory, as it is the sole reason why you should seriously PAUSE and have a good think before deciding to get bangs. And that’s mostly because I don’t want to hear you complain about it for the six months or however long it takes before you STFU about how growing out your bangs sucks.
So, now that I have ably debunked Guillory’s arguments, allow me to present a fantastic reason why you SHOULD consider getting bangs that she didn’t address in her article, probably because she knows it is irrefutable:
Point: Bangs hide your forehead wrinkles. I have three wrinkles on my forehead that are noticeable and, frankly, irksome to me. Two lines in between my eyebrows, from making what I call my “blogger face” for the last eight goddamn years, and a line across the middle of my forehead. You can kind of see them below:
I don’t like these lines on my face, frankly, but whatever, they’re there. The two between my brows make me look a little disapproving and angry, and I’m actually very chill, so this bugs me. They distract me when I look in the mirror at my own face. There are two solutions for this “problem”: regular injections of pricey Botox – which I had done once (for free, for a story I was writing) – to smooth out and diminish the appearance of those lines, or BANGS, which are FREE.
Counterpoint: There isn’t one. BANGS FOREVER.