I’ve got short hair, and this has been so for the last few years. As a child, I always wanted to chop my long locks off and have more boyish hair. But my parents wouldn’t allow it, seemingly because they had to reinforce the idea that girls are girls, and boys are boys. Another post is due on that topic later. When I left home at 18 (which was the first possible chance I had to do so), I felt unsure and almost guilty about wanting to cut my hair. It seemed to be expected of young ladies to have long hair, and while I don’t consider myself to be particularly ladylike (and I would not want to be) I did want to fit in. Now that I’m older and feel a bit less lost in the world, I’m more comfortable making decisions that may set me apart from other people. But the length of my hair still seems to be contentious. I’ve been told that my hair makes me look like a man (um, I don’t find this offensive but the person who said it did mean it as a pejorative), and that I am not allowed to wear dresses anymore (I know, even though I’m a grown-up in my 30s, other people still feel the need to tell me how to dress).

The haircut before this one was even more extreme, ranging from crew cut to a rather stylish Tintin-esque quiff. It was guaranteed to attract strange looks from people; the best response to these is to just stare right back at them. But finding a hairdresser willing to actually cut my hair like that was a marathon. The most blatant one was a man who wanted to check with my boyfriend that it was ok for him to cut my long hair off (WTF????), but I’ve been to numerous others who continually ask me if I’m really sure and talk me out of getting the haircut I actually want. I’ve found a unisex hairdresser that I’d ordinarily praise for their ability to look beyond gender and see what the customer actually asks for.  However, they’ve taken on a new stylist who doesn’t really seem to get it – I told them what I wanted and they talked me out of it, and then when I conceded to a haircut less likely to offend Joe Public’s delicate sensibilities, they hacked away at it with scissors, bemoaning the fact that if I wanted it shorter they’d have to use clippers.  Uh, yeah, that’s what I want you to do, 1970s-man.  Maybe time to find a new hairdresser – but it’ll be tough.  Many barbers in Manchester state explicitly that they are gents barbers, and even if I can find somewhere to give me a “man’s haircut”, I know I’ll get charged twice as much just because of my biological sex.

More disappointingly, I discussed the possibility of going shorter with Mr. Science Gentleman, who isn’t too keen on the idea.  Why?  Because he’d find it “intimidating”.  I don’t even.

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