Thursday, February 10, 2011

Identity Crisis #2: Hair

The last time I got a haircut was in the middle of August on top of a roof by professional hair cutter & stylist Laura Wooley Mammoth and I was half naked. Look, here is a picture from that same day.

my hair stylist and I are closepersonalfriends.

I usually get my hair cut every ~3 months as my hair grows fast and it is also short which means that I have to cut it in order to avoid the shaggy dog look. But this year I moved out of my parents' house and September, October, November, and parts of December happened and by that I mean my life disintegrated to the point where I was a frumpy mess of clothes lying in bed wondering if I actually existed. In between this and trying to spend as little money as possible, I seriously considered letting my hair grow out. I have not had long hair since I was 17. Mostly every time I think about growing my hair out, I think about the shaggy dog phase and then decide that I don't want to do it. In November I asked for a haircut for my birthday, which I didn't get. I don't remember what I was thinking at the time. I think I just couldn't be bothered to get a haircut/didn't want to spend money on it/wanted my professional hair stylist to do it until I decided that I wanted to grow my hair long enough for a full ponytail and then cut it off.

Okay, most of that is bullshit.

Here's what I noticed when I first cut my hair back in grade 11: people started calling me 'sir'. I have never been called 'sir' until I cut my hair. I have to make a bit of a stretch to see where people get confused with my gender, but I can see it. I get it, kind of. One might say that I have an androgynous face. I don't know. Some people are surprised when I tell them people call me 'sir', some people are not.

I also noticed that when I got a fauxhawk I got called 'sir' a lot more, especially at work. This led me to wear v-necks and boots with heels more often.

You see, this is the truth: part of me is afraid I am growing my hair out because I want to "pass". I'm afraid I'm doing it for the wrong reasons. Semi-consciously I've tried to pass at work because let's face it, it's fucking awkward when customers realize you're not actually a 'sir'. I've spent most of my life wanting to fit in with the "normal" kids, but I could never wear the dresses or heels or 234 different kinds of make up. But I could have the long hair. Right? A teeny tiny part of me wants to be normal.

But really, I want to be a person who is not afraid to be herself. Sometimes I am. I want people to recognize that there is more than one way of looking like a girl. I don't want to pass.

On the other hand, I want people to see that lesbians can have long hair.

On the other foot, I don't want my hair to be my identity. Does anyone really care about my hair that much. So while I sit here pondering the meaning of my existence my hair is growing longer. It's in a ponytail and it's really cute, if I may say so myself.

The other truth is that I will probably cut it all off and run rampant like a good angry queer feminist with a radical homosexual agenda and sweet combat boots. JK about the combat boots.


snugglebbumz said...

my hair looks like a mangy rat's nest as it is growing out and i'm too cheap for a hair cut. i feel your pain

Ari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ari said...

Man, I spend so much time thinking about my hair and my identity, too. I read an essay-blog-thing once about queer hair. It's crazy how complicated the associations with one bit of a body can be. (I realize this applies to other things too.) Only I like that I look boyish with my shaggy dog hair and I worry that I'll look too girly and also too much like a twelve-year-old boy when I cut it short again. The funny thing is I too will probably "cut it all off and run rampant like a good angry queer feminist with a radical homosexual agenda and sweet combat boots." (I really do have sweet combat boots.)

Oh and in case you didn't know about it already, in the Village there's Lesbian Haircuts For Anyone, which is $15 to get any haircut you want at a dyke bike repair shop :)

saint modesto said...

snugglebbumz: mangy rat's nest is a good way to describe it.

ari: i bet you have totally sweet combat boots! i feel in solidarity with you re: identity. also thanks for the hair place recommendation. i've heard of it but never been.