There’s More Than One Way to Be a Woman (There’s at Least, Like, Three)

I recently got my hair cut short. Not in a cute, feminine, pixie kinda way, although that is what I went for the first time I got my hair cut short nearly a decade ago.

This time, I went full quiff – a look I’ve wanted to try since I was a teenager because I always thought it was cool. But it took me until I was 34 because I was worried it would make me too masculine. Mostly I was concerned it would render me unattractive, which is something us gals have been brought up to fear as most fear death.

Being attractive, of course, should be the primary goal of any woman. How else are we supposed to trick a man into providing for us? You know??? There’s just no other possible way.

Anyway.

I ummed and ahhed over this decision for quite a while. Months. I suppose years, when you consider I’ve been curious about this hairstyle since I was approximately 14. But in real terms, in true I-seriously-might-do-this contemplation, this was the first time I had ever earnestly considered it. After all, intentionally undermining our beauty is not a decision any woman should take lightly.

I was sitting in a cafe, alternately sipping coffee and thinking about doing some work, when a group of kids on a school trip walked past. This was mid-rumination over whether to get a quiff cut in. And as I watched these kids it dawned on me that, well, firstly, the boys were taking the lead and the girls were trailing behind, which in itself made me angry. Why can’t the girls be the leaders for once? And then I studied the kids’ hair. Without exception, all the boys had short hair and all the girls had long hair. This also made me angry.

Why? Well, I’ll tell you.

Short hair is so much easier to manage than long hair. It doesn’t get trapped in your armpits. It doesn’t pinion you to the bed when you accidentally lie on it. It doesn’t turn you into a red-faced, dripping mess of sweat on hot days. It doesn’t get in your face when it’s windy and you never have to tie it back into a headache-inducing ponytail. It doesn’t take 7000 years to dry or turn your head into an icepop if you let it dry naturally. You never have to contort yourself to style it at the back and it doesn’t get stuck up your butthole, requiring you to pull it out when you shower (if someone can explain this baffling phenomenon to me, please don’t). It doesn’t block the drain and it doesn’t get everywhere. E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E.

When a guy complains about his girlfriend’s long hair penetrating the entirety of his home, from the sink to the bed to the floor to the light fixtures, I want to say to him, THIS IS THE PRICE YOU HAVE TO PAY IF YOU WANT YOUR GIRLFRIEND TO BE LONG-HAIREDLY HOT. JUST BE THANKFUL FOR HER SACRIFICE AND THE FACT YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAINTAIN IT YOURSELF.

There are only two good things about having long hair: it makes you more attractive (debatable) and it will look good even if you don’t do anything to it (also debatable).

I wish so much that girls and women felt at ease with the notion of having short hair. Or no hair! My god, I can only dream of the hassle-free life of shaving my head, because I will never be brave enough, or willing enough to forfeit what hotness I have left, to try it.

This balding dude on Twitter once told me, when I mentioned how much I would sometimes just LOVE to shave off all my hair, that ‘some women can pull it off’ (and that we should be grateful we have the option of having hair at all). Oh, is that right, buddy? Okay then. He spoke of it as if it were a genuine option for all women, not realising that it simply… isn’t. Not realistically. Realistically, it’s not something most women would ever, ever consider a legitimate choice.

It would be great if all women felt like they could ‘pull it off’, not just the ones with cute heart-shaped faces and undeniable fairylike beauty, but we don’t. In fact, almost none of us do. We have been trained by society to value our hotness, which our long hair contributes to, above all else. And even if we did have the guts to go through with it, people would probably just assume we had cancer or were having a mental breakdown.

Most women who are curious about short hair worry they would look like a man, or at least a boy, if they went through with it. And I don’t know about you, but I’m already paranoid enough about the fact that I look so similar to my brother, thanks. I know it’s just our identical eyes, right down to the way we arch our brows, that make us look alike. Still, sometimes I compare pictures of me and him just to confirm that I do not, in fact, look like a man. I look at his square jaw and compare it to my angular one. I affirm that his brow is heavier-set than mine and that my mouth is half the size of his.

Although if I were a man, I would be fucking gorgeous. I would be the hottest man in existence. I know this because FaceApp told me, and it was 100% worth giving the Russians my biometrics to find out. Seriously, look:

You seeing this? That’s a ruggedly handsome millionaire footballer if ever you saw one. The kind of guy who goes on expeditions to Antarctica and casually takes motorcycle trips around the entire globe. Other friends of mine have FaceApped themselves into men only to discover that they would look like gay Brazilian dancers or some guy called Brian who knows how to fix that software on your laptop.

Not me, though. I’d be super hot as a man. Unfortunately, you’d get excited about me when you saw my profile pic on Tinder, then try to hide your disappointment when we met in person and you noticed my tiny hands and 5-foot-5 stature.

I sent these pictures to my mother and said, ‘Who is better looking, me or Chris?’ My brother is a good-looking dude in his own right. She answered diplomatically, as expected: ‘I couldn’t possibly choose. You are prettier though.’

What I didn’t expect was her offhand comment when she visited me a few days later: ‘You do wish you’d been born a boy, don’t you?’

She said it in a jokey way, and her comment came when she was watching me play Fallout 4, the game I was in the middle of when she dropped by. I play as a man in this game. An extremely hot man, because I designed him that way, and a man who, completely incidentally, happened to sport almost the exact same quiff I had recently had cut in. I’d forgotten he even had this hair until I booted up the game again.

Even so, my mother saw him, laughed at how similar our hair was, and then made her comment.

And I mean, there’s just no delicate way to explain to your mother that you don’t want to be the hot guy in the game you’re playing or the male version of yourself that some app threw out – you want to fuck him. It’s embarrassing how attracted I am to the FaceApp man-version of myself. Are my eyes that dreamy as a woman? I can only hope.

I don’t think my mother was literally implying that I was a trans man, although I’ve never exactly been a girly girl, whatever that means. (Not wearing pink frilly things, I think.) To be honest, when I got my hair cut into a quiff, I assumed people would think I was coming out as a lesbian, not as a trans man, but evidently my thirst for men is too transparent.

I sometimes wonder if my mother is disappointed I didn’t end up more feminine. I’ve always played video games and sports, preferred trousers over dresses (I have precisely one dress: my Wedding/Funeral Dress), and manoeuvred through life with the assertiveness of a man, which mostly means I spread out my limbs on public transport and don’t apologise when someone bumps into me. She lamented that she would like to see me with long hair again one day.

You know what the wildest part of all this is? Even I prefer the way I look with long hair! Of course I do! That’s how I, and every other woman, has been brought up. (Who doesn’t love a bit of internalised misogyny???) But I finally found it within myself to say, Fuck it, right now I just cannot be bothered with long hair and if that makes me less attractive, I’m okay with it.

This isn’t really about my hair, though. It’s about all the limiting ways women are supposed to behave, largely with the goal of being attractive to men, and that if we’re not like that (and come on, how many women actually live up to the rigid feminine ideal?) then we are not really women at all, or, at the very least, we are not loveable women, fuckable women, women deserving of attention.

But you can do all the things that men do and still be a whole, loveable woman. You can do anything that is firmly entrenched within the realm of men, like going to the pub alone or learning to lift weights or wearing your hair short, and still be fully, completely a woman. Those things do not belong to men. I mean, surely no one really believes it’s only men who contain multitudes? (Don’t answer that. It’s too depressing.)

The point is, you can do whatever the hell you want, even if those things are ‘not feminine’ or ‘too masculine’ or ‘bordering on illegal’. Okay, maybe not that last one. Still, though: Like what you like! Wear what you love! You do fucking you. No one gets to define what being a woman means to you except you.

And if some random dude finds you less attractive because you decided one day that hey, maybe you’d look pretty cool with short hair and a quiff, who fucking cares? You’ve got important shit to do in your time on this planet, and maybe you don’t want to waste any of it fishing hairs out of your asshole.

10 Comments

  1. Haaaaa! I absolutely loved this article and your hair! Not many women will confirm that they really DO understand the hair in the asshole thing (most try to deny they even have one). You’re the first! Thank you! Keep rocking your new hair and maybe one day we’ll both say, “Fuck it! I’m shaving my damned head today!” and then we’ll do it! I’ve been threatening to for years.

    1. Hahahaha. It’s totally a thing! The only real question is whether the sensation of pulling the hairs out is pleasant or unpleasant.

  2. So I *considered* telling you the amount of time I spent looking at your FaceApp man pictures, mumbling, “Holy shit… but, I… holy shit?” to myself with the same expression as surprisedpikachu.jpg… but I figured it would make both of us uncomfortable and decided on option B:

    A resounding “fuck yes” to all of this, Karen! I’ve never made the connection that the “boyish/manly” option is the practical and low-maintenance one, but now I can’t unthink it and my salt level over it is approximately ‘Dead Sea.’ What a sham.

    The teensiest bit of consolation is that long girlfriend hairs will not only invade a dude’s living space — THEY’LL GET UP HIS BUTTHOLE TOO. A friend of mine says her fiance regularly complains about pulling her hairs OUT OF his ass, which… yeah, Mother Nature, sometimes she ain’t right.

    1. Hahahahaaaa. Ada, there’s nothing about your comment I don’t love. A friend of mine saw it and was like, Yep, can confirm. Her hairs get stuck up her boyfriend’s ass too. This revelation feels like a victory.

  3. Girl I’m loving that hair, red lip, and this article. The only thing holding me back from short hair is that I have naturally curly hair and fear there would be MORE maintenance to make it look good.

    Been a long time since we spoke, but I’m glad your taking chances and living your best life. Makes me want to get back into writing lol.

    Keep doing you and dont give a fuck about being too masculine or feminine! Do what makes you feel good!

    1. Thanks Amber! I’m pretty sure curly hair just means you gotta go EVEN SHORTER??? Mwahaha. I googled a lot of pics of women with cool short hair before deciding what to do.

  4. Hair looks fantastic, and I’m so pleased about your new blog. I’ve recently gone from longer to short hair and love the ease of it, though I had the same reservations. I thought it was an age thing as I have 20 years on you, but you’ve obviously learned earlier than most of us. My other bugbear just now is about girls vs boys clothes – even casual clothes it’s revealing Lycra leggings and tight tops for girls, loose trackers and tees for boys. Ihave a 9 year old granddaughter so these things are on my mind a lot just now – what do we want her to grow up thinking about herself? Thanks for giving me a space to rant!

    1. Thanks Brenda! The boys’ vs. girls’ clothing pisses me off too. At 9, you’re supposed to be comfy and get messy. Hoodies and joggers for everyone!!!

  5. Well, damn! When I first saw your FaceApp pic, I was thinking it was your brother and that you should pass my name and number onto him ASAP. Just…wow! Apparently, you’re the man of my dreams. Only obviously you’re not a man and I’m disappointed to realize the man of my dreams doesn’t actually exist.

    My man FaceApp photo was atrocious. Total creepy dude with bad facial scruff.

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