Karen, 33, London
I'm a proper girly girl. When I was little I used to love playing about with hair and make-up, and I'm never without my heels and make-up. I've always been very careful about how I look. My mum used to work in a clothes shop and I've always admired her elegance. She's still beautiful in her old age, and men still stop to look at her. I dreamt of being like that.
And then I started going out with Rob. He told me I was beautiful but too conventional. He said my mum was very elegantly-dressed but looked her age, and said all I wanted to do was look like her, which gave me a bit of a shock! He reckons Chanel suits look alright on Hitchcock heroines but that times have changed. Basically he wanted me to be a bit daring and do something a bit different. So one day I took the plunge and shaved my head. I only had 2cm of hair left!. He was quite shocked but in a good way, and so was I.
Sophie: Karen ended up doing something she thinks is very transgressive, but she didn't do it because of the man she loves; she did it because, whether she realizes or not, she was ready to do it. That's why she sought out that kind of partner in Rob. She needed to break away from her mum's image and stop wanting to be her mum, or seek out someone just like her dad for a partner. She fell in love with her boyfriend on the inside, which had already changed. The outside of her changed in turn, but Rob wasn't the one who instigated the change - it was Karen herself.