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June 24, 2019 Nonfiction

Your Hair: A Timeline

Dharani Persaud

Your Hair: A Timeline photo

 Before

1. Every year you chop off a little more: one year it was at your shoulder blades, the next at your shoulders. Now, you book an appointment on a whim. But it’s not a whim. You’ve been thinking about this for a while.

2. In preparation, you try to Google pictures of short haircuts. By try I mean you search the same combination of words and phrases: "women" "gay haircut" "short hair." But every picture is of a white woman so you wonder if this kind of haircut could even look good on you.

3. You add in “brown” and “women of color” to your Google search in hopes that something else will come up. Emma Watson still appears a disproportionate amount of times. You give up hope and question why you want to cut off your hair in the first place. Is it because you want to look more visibly queer? By visibly queer do you mean white-girl pixie cuts? Why is that your aspiration?

4. You cut it all off anyways.


During

5. You surprise yourself every time you pass a mirror. You waver between liking how you look and thinking you made a huge mistake. You start to dread extended family functions and steer clear of posting pictures on Facebook. You then wonder whether your family will actually care or if you’re just reading too deeply into your own cultural stereotypes.

6. You are constantly on the lookout for other visibly queer brown people. You want to see them just as much as you want them to see you. When you make eye contact, you tell yourself to stop making assumptions and that just because they’re brown and have short hair does not mean they’re gay. But most of the time your assumption is right. Why though? Are you all trying to blend in with white queer culture? You both do happen to be wearing flannel.

7. Your ears get cold. So does your neck. Both get hot when Aunties in saris glare at you in the grocery store. Sometimes you stare back, but most often you tuck your head down and grab an extra frozen meal of palak paneer. You hope that even if you stand out to them, your less-feminine look has made you invisible to cis men and you’ll finally escape unwanted attention.

8. You’ll be wrong.


After

9. Your hair starts growing into a mullet. You'll try to trim it yourself and you won’t be good at it. You’ll find small bits of hairs down the back of your shirt for two days, and again wonder why you thought this was a good idea.

10. As you navigate this state of messiness, a White Gay will offer their unsolicited opinion that you actually look better with short hair. You'll feel flattered, and then indignant. Later you will think about your conflicted emotions. Why did you like that validation? Is it because that gold star approval was from a white person? Other people have complimented you on your haircut, why is this the one you remember?

11. You will decide that despite all this you quite liked the shorter length, and it’s getting long now. You'll want to cut it again, but you won’t go as short this time. Ever the planner, you will restart the process of finding example pictures online. You’ll stop, and scroll through your phone to those selfies you indulged in last month when your hair was at its best. You know that when you show the hairdresser, they’ll understand exactly what you’re going for.

12. You’ve become your own example.

 

image: Alwin Kroon on Unsplash


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