Genderqueer Hair, Genderqueer There

December 7

Leslie,

I think I’ve been frank about my scrub status but I’ll reiterate if I haven’t made it clear already: I’m a scrub. Not the kind shouting at girls from the passenger side of their best friend’s ride, but I’m probably still sitting in the passenger’s side if I’m in a car—still working through that driving fear, ya dig. TLC shout-outs aside,  I’m also just a chill person when not stressing about social inequalities and climate change; I’m not into status. Although I work hard really hard and tend to do well at what I set my mind to (got a pile of awards from school awkwardly sitting on my bookshelf), I’m not into honors. Nor uncomfortable clothing, so it’s unlikely I will be caught in a pantsuit, heels, flats, ties, super tight pants, binder, corset, or anything else that will leave me cold, too constricted, or hurt my knees. I dig the collared shirt + blazer look but I always feel like I will Hulk out of the blazer despite having the build of Tinker Bell. Button-up shirts, bless their little buttoned hearts, make me sweat. I wear strictly pearl snap flannels because I like the option of tearing off my flannel quickly. I seem incapable of patiently buttoning and unbuttoning a shirt.

I’m a scrub. And maybe that’s not the best thing ever—I definitely shouldn’t seek professional success on the east coast—but I’m thankful I recognize and honor my preferences. I’ve never forced myself to be something I’m not. I’ve grown, I’ve tried new things, I continually learn more about myself and others, but I haven’t forced myself into boxes I don’t fit in terms of appearance, gender, sexuality, and behavior.

But hair is a challenge, Leslie. Keeping things in perspective, this is not a serious problem (the U.S.A’s mass shootings, criminalization of black, brown, and trans people, climate change, and Syrian refugees’ need for homes are some actual issues demanding immediate attention). But I do need a haircut.

It’s difficult finding hairstyles which suit me, and hair stylists who won’t intentionally or otherwise push a gender on me. How can I get a haircut which is neither very “masculine” (short, angular, sharp lines) or “feminine” (you calling it a pixie cut because i have boobs?)? I love haircuts but I’m tired of fretting about conversations with hairstylists. I want someone who will easily understand my meaning when I express my needs. I don’t want to get into an entire conversation about gender for them to get my fluidity.

 

The problem is barbershops feel so men and hair salons feel so women

and i am middle,

outside, a blend, a shirt that shrunk in the wash

different now but maybe one day

i’ll stretch.

I feel guilty, worrying I’m asking for a gender therapist

palm reader or psychic

someone, anyone

who doesn’t exist

When I sit in a chair.

Just read me, read me right,

I want to say. I am

so tired

of hanging much

on the coat rack

in the corner of a barbershop

or salon,

hoping the wielder of clippers and

scissors

will realize I’m not trying to be read

as pixie butch hard wispy

I wish there were ungendered ways of saying (having people get)

please give me a cut that suits me on foxy days

(it’s been so long since I’ve foxed)

all my foxy days~

dresses, legs, disco pants,

eye-liner, make-up

mesh tanks, soccer shorts,

jeans, and triblend tees.

I ask for the sun,

as a flower (don’t call that feminine)

ready to tilt in 360 degrees

 

(Some photos from the last five years.)

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