I’ve had short hair a majority of my life. Up until the age of five I had a an honest to god bowl cut (I don’t know what my mom was thinking). I grew out my hair for four years until it was half way down my back, and then chopped it off into a bod in fourth grade for Locks of Love.
Since then my hair has only gotten shorter. I sported a bob through middle school, and got my first pixie cut the summer before my freshman year of high school. Ever since I’ve had just about every variation of a pixie cut that you, or any hair stylist for that matter, could imagine.
I love having short hair. It’s easy to take care of, easy to style, and easy to grow out a little and get cut completely differently. Honestly I feel like my hair looks better short than it ever could long. Having short hair makes me feel confident.
However, there are still some downsides to getting a delightfully downsized ‘do. First and foremost, people treat you differently. I remember we I first showed up to school after I cut my hair super short, my friend Zoe literally screamed, and not in the ‘oh my god I love your hair’ kind of way, more like a shocked and horrified kind of way.
Despite all this, I’ve never had any regrets about cutting my hair this short. Never mind the fact that I don’t think I’ll ever have the motivation or the patience to grow out and maintain long hair ever again.
But more than just initial reactions, the entire time I’ve had my hair short people have treated me differently. Children will often ask me whether I’m a boy or a girl because I have short hair like a boy and wear dresses like a girl. People sometimes stare at me in public. And all too often I get an outrageously inappropriate comments from some ignorant asshole who feels so moved by my physical appearance, that they simply must speak up about it.
Here are 8 examples of outrageously inappropriate things that people have said to me just because I have short hair:
1.”You should grow out your hair. I want to see what it looks like.
This one is probably the most common comment I get on the length of my hair. It’s mostly just really annoying, because how can one reply, “Yes, I will spend the next three to five years grow out my hair for your viewing pleasure,” without mountain’s worth of sarcasm?
2. “Have a great day, sir!”
This wouldn’t bother me if it were a sincere mistake. I understand that if I’m wearing a baggy clothing and my hair isn’t done that well, I can appear a bit androgynous. Sometimes people can’t tell, and although it’s never fun being misgendered, I try to understand that not all people are as conscious of non-traditional expressions of gender. However, when I am standing in plain view of someone, in full hair and makeup, in a ruffly, cap-sleeved shirt, and petticoated skirt, and they spout, “Have a great day, sir!” There is no excuse. I will never understand why people fixate on hair so much as the ultimate calling card of gender, and it will never cease to amaze me the number of feminine markers people are willing to overlook, because of my short hair.
3. “I think you would look prettier with long hair.”
Wow, bitch. I think you would look prettier if you didn’t criticize people’s style choices to their face. Just incredibly rude. Enough said.
4. “How will you ever meet a guy looking like that?”
Well one thing’s for sure, the one I meet will be open minded about gender expression and won’t expect me to conform to oppressive, gendered beauty standards.
5.”I’m just not attracted to girls who look like you. Short hair just doesn’t do it for me.”
Well I’m sorry that you are so shallow that you would totally disregard a woman, because of the length of her hair. In all honestly, I’m not attracted to boys like you either. Assholes just don’t do it for me.
6. “Are you ex-military?”
I got this comment from a coworker after I had my overgrown pixie cut trimmed down with shaved sides and a texturized top. There were so many things wrong with this question. It’s just ridiculous. Why would me getting my already short hair trimmed shorter imply past military service? Does he not realize that women in the army can have long hair should they choose? Not to mention the fact that the amount of hair product needed to style my hair would have been totally unfeasible to maintain if I were in the military. Did I forget to mention that I had to explain to him three times that I’ve never been in the military, because he didn’t believe me the first two times?
7. “I could never date a girl like you, because I like to pull a girl’s hair in bed.”
Yes, someone actually had the gall to look me in the eye and say this. It’s easily the most inappropriate comment I have ever received about my short hair. Where to even begin? Well, to start, you’re just plain wrong, at least logistically speaking. I might not have much, but there is still plenty to pull on top of my head here. Also, you’re biggest problem with ‘dating a girl like me’ is that I’m not interested. Lastly, a better statement would be, “I could never date a girl who didn’t put up with douchebags, because I am one.”
I’ll never understand the strange weight that is attached to hair as a marker of gender. It’s ridiculous that many people have felt entitled enough to say shit like this to me on multiple occasions. However, I hope the real take away here is that, regardless of the reason, whether it’s hair length, weight, height, skin color, ability, or sexuality, it is never okay to treat people poorly. People are so much more than their first impressions.
Be kind out there.