Got a haircut today. Twice. Today I plopped myself in a black swivel chair in Rudy’s Barbershop on Division Street and introduced myself as a challenge kid with identity problems. A scrub surviving on the sassiness of my bedhead. I didn’t say that immediately, but I did cheerfully offer a photo of Ruby Rose’s four-stripe undercut as well as a photo of myself with that length hair sans stripes. I explained I wanted my hair longer on the top and stripes on one of my sides. My barber was reserved but friendly, a thirty-something from Phoenix. He smelled like alcohol at 10:45 in the morning.
He wasn’t sure what I was going for as we navigated length discussions about my top and sides. Toward the end, he implied I should wait on the stripes—wait until I was sure of what I wanted. I left but I knew I wanted the stripes. I’m not new to clippers, Leslie.
A few hours later I went back with my best buddy. Their favorite barber, a big bearded man from North Carolina who loves working with andro/masculine women (buddy’s words, not mine—neither of us are women, but we’re glad he likes cutting hair for folks like us) cut both of us. He shaved my left side and gave me four contoured stripes.
It wasn’t my best haircut day ever—I didn’t feel particularly comfortable with either barber and they didn’t seem to understand what I wanted (it was odd to have the second just make an executive decision on the length and angle of my stripes), but in the end, I got what I made up my mind about this morning.
I don’t know if I earned my stripes, but today I seized them.