I have been going to the same hairstylist for about 16 years. For some reason, like many other kids, my adolescent mind seized upon my hair as a major route for self-expression starting in junior high. I've had it almost every colour, but since I got to New York it's almost always been fairly short. Anything from a crew cut to a short bob was fair game, but generally it's been quite cropped, most often what they used to call "spiky" but now call "texturized". I guess when I think something fits me I stick with it, even if it means boring my haircutter after years of the same shtick (minus the early experiments with colours and perms).
Well, lately I think Miss Gina has been too bored. She is still a great stylist - she now even owns her own salon. But in the whirl of her business I think my coming in every couple month for "the usual" has led her to sleepwalk through it a bit, and I haven't been thrilled with a cut for a while.
Granted, it could all be a problem of self-perception. The personal difficulties of the last couple years, along with the weight gain, have made me loathe to look in the mirror much of the time. My hair has much reflected this. I've let it grow out into odd feathers or what I call "the Han Solo look" several times, and I listened to people who told me they liked it longer and softer. But, now that I'm starting to emerge from my funk a bit, I've decided I don't like it. So what do I do?
Why, I go to a new salon, of course. Normally, this would be a terrifying proposition for me. As much as the average person grows attached to the one hairdresser who understands what they want, I get twenty times more superglued. My obsession with getting each lock just right is legend - enough so that a friend even filmed me for her documentary on how people's self perceptions are connected to their 'dos (I got left on the editing room floor for not being dramatic enough, but maybe that's because by the tail end of the shooting I'd begun to slip into not caring so much about tonsorial perfection). But now that I'm making some changes in my life and taking some big risks - like quitting my job - I figured I might as well shake things up in other areas. So, I made an appointment at a new salon for tonight.
There's just one thing. I haven't become that devil-may care. I still want a haircut that suits me, something a little puckish, à la the Calvinesque side of my personality, without voyaging into the realm of unemployable. So, I decided to bring some pictures of how I want it to look. The problem? I can't find any.
Look, all I want is a semi-standard dyke/fag short haircut. Short on the sides and back without being a fade, a little textured on top without being architectural, a little rock and roll without being Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Is that too much to ask? But apparently, although I see variations on this haircut frequently in the city, it is never photographed. Perhaps all the little queers I see running around with it are vampires. That would explain them being stuck in a haircut that's really a couple decades old fashion-wise (which is just long enough to make it retro-cool, I suppose), but who am I to say? I want the same thing. Just like I still want those monk-strap Docs I had back then, too. And maybe the fedora.
Anyway, the closest thing I could find was, naturally, a picture of one of the Butchies. Of course. It seems that, however individual I may believe myself to be, I can still be lumped into the old stereotypes. And, truth be told, it's not that far off from the same haircut I've had most of the time since I started going to Gina (minus the experi-perms, and so forth). So, why change stylists at all?
Call it a metaphor. I want to make some changes. But most of all, I want to recognize what I want and have my desires listened to with interest when I express them, even if they're stereotypical.
Knowing me, I'll probably end up back at Gina's, eventually. But at least I'll have tried something new. It isn't exactly skydiving or joining the Peace Corps, but we shake things up in the ways we can. And sometimes risking even very minor disasters can make you feel alive.