I recently cut my hair.
It was already short, but now it’s the kind of short that makes people look at me strangely when I walk by. You see, I buzzed most of my head. It’s called an undercut. And it looks good. I’ve gotten many compliments.
I’ve gotten even more odd looks from strangers passing me on campus. It’s actually really interesting. I’ll paint you a scenario.
You’re walking toward someone on the sidewalk. You don’t know them. They’re getting closer. Do you acknowledge them? Should you say hi? Should you wave? Should you awkwardly half-smile? Do you chicken out and pull out your phone and pretend to urgently text someone? You notice that it’s a girl. Is it? Yes, yes it is. But she’s got short hair, like, really short. She’s wearing a hat. Does she even have hair? Wait…is she…? I better stop staring.
This has been happening to me every day, except I’m the girl with the short hair. I’m the one confusing everyone who walks towards me. And it’s fascinating, because as you walk toward me, I can see all of those questions on your face. I can tell exactly the moment you notice that my hair is short and that it looks kind of, dare I say it, like I might be a lesbian.
It’s my new favorite game, to study the people I pass and see how they react to my appearance. It’s especially interesting because just a few days ago my hair was short, still well above my shoulders, just in a more “usual” way. And I didn’t get those reactions at all.
There was no confusion or indecision written on the faces of my fellow students. People didn’t avoid eye contact when I noticed them looking. They used to smile or say hi. Now they avert their eyes like they’ve been caught doing something wrong.
I was in a Theology class earlier this week, and we were asked what controversial issues are going on in the Church right now. And everyone, I mean everyone, looked at me and then immediately tried to act like they weren’t. And I knew what they were expecting. They were waiting for me to raise the issue of sexuality. Because I have short hair, because I don’t necessarily fit quite as well into the box as I used to. Nobody would have expected that before I cut my hair. I wouldn’t have drawn that sort of attention.
I feel like I have some sort of power to affect people now, and it’s weird. I attract attention, and I don’t know what to do with it. So, this is just a shout out to everyone who feels uncomfortable or confused when they see me on campus. You don’t have to be. I cut my hair this way on purpose. I like it.
I realize that I confound your gender expectations somewhat because I’ve decided to ignore some of the roles I’m meant to conform to, but it’s ok. I’m not a more radical or crazy person now that my hair is shorter. Weirdly enough, I’m exactly the same person I was before the haircut.