You know what’s a hard summer activity? Finding the perfect haircut.
I had medium-long hair for a long time. I had a boy-cut when I was in elementary school (and refusing to wear anything but boy-clothes), but since then I’ve kept my hair at least shoulder-length. I decided last year that I wanted to finally try something approximating a pixie cut. After sifting through hundreds of haircuts online, I found the perfect one. I took the picture to my hairdresser and BOOM, all my hair was on the floor.
I LOVED it. There was no more hair on my neck, and I didn’t have to use a blowdryer. Plus, I got to explore a whole new section of the hair products aisle, populated by spiking gel, mousse, and hairspray specifically for short hair. I finally felt like I looked right. This would require much more self-analysis to explain, but my fashion sense changed too. After I cut my hair off, I went back to dressing like I had in high school—dresses, eye makeup, and all that nonsense I had done away with in the past year.
But. There was a sticking problem. This haircut definitely gave me queer visibility in a way my old hair hadn’t. But I couldn’t help but wonder if it gave me too much. I didn’t expect that cutting my hair would change the way EVERYONE looked at me. I found myself being approached by other queer women much more often, while straight boys didn’t look twice in my direction. As a gal with interest in all genders, I was a bit disappointed. More importantly, I felt myself being put in an identity box by people who wouldn’t have bothered categorizing when I had long hair.
A post-haircut, lesbian-identified new friend said to me, casually, about another girl, “I think she plays for our team!” I felt like protesting, “but I’m not on a team…” I almost wish I’d known that a short haircut apparently serves as a team uniform. I wouldn’t take back the haircut even if I could, but at least I’d have known what I was getting into.