2 min

Connecting dykes one haircut at a time

How a straight hairdresser became a hub for Ottawa's queer women

DYNAMIC DOS. Meghan Dailey, with her signature tools -- a pink razor and funky scissors -- cuts the hair of many young, urban, queer women in Ottawa. Credit: Noreen Fagan

Meghan Dailey is the straight girl at the centre of a lesbian haircutting hub. Through asymmetrical haircuts, whacky colouring and wispy femme styles, Dailey is connecting Ottawa’s queers together — one hairstyle at a time.

Dailey, works at Hair Junkie on Laurier Avenue, is a whacky, fun loving woman with an easy temperament and a knack for talking a mile a minute while cutting hair. She knows and loves what she does and it shows — in the hairstyle her clients walk out with and with the growing number of lesbians, queers and
not-so-queers who go to her on a regular basis.

“There’s a lot of links,” says Dailey. “I lose track of who originally sent people in but I definitely get 6 or 7 links. If I piss off anyone in that link, that whole link is gone.”

Dailey who loves to create awesome and sometimes whimsical hairstyles — without pissing off any of her clients — has been cutting and shaping hair for the past five years, yet hairdressing was not her first career choice.

When she first went to hair school, she did it on a whim. One lazy summer with nothing to do, Dailey blithely enrolled in the Marvel School (now closed) on Bank Street along with her best friend. There, Dailey found her creativity and entered into her fantasy playground of art, fun and fashion.

“We got mullets and skullets,” says Dailey. “All the really good hair was at that school. It was awesome.”

After ten months of training and 3,500 haircutting hours, Dailey, with her signature tools — a pink razor and funky scissors — snipped and coloured her way into a new career. Dailey did the rounds at various Ottawa hair studios that allowed her the freedom to experiment and create original hairstyles — all the while building up her chart of queer followers.

“What I do remember very clearly in the few months after my first Meghan cut,” writes Megan Butcher, a Dailey die-harder, “is that it felt like every dyke I talked to suddenly went to her or knew someone who did.”

Butcher, who is now sporting a Mohawk, further emphasizes the links and incestuous life of the queer haircutting clique.

“Someone would say ‘Wow, that’s a great haircut!'” says Butcher, “so I’d say Meghan at [her old salon] did it. And inevitably they or someone nearby would say ‘Oh yeah, Meghan. She does my/my girlfriend’s/my best friend’s hair too.'”

Karen Cocq, whose hair is asymmetrical, coloured and wispily textured, is another Dailey fan. Dailey had never met Cocq — in fact she had no clue who Cocq was — when she started getting new clients referred by Cocq, six in one week.

“Karen has sent me all of her office,” says Dailey, “then like, their sisters, then their kids, and their husbands and whoever.”

Cocq first found out about Meghan when she arrived in Ottawa over two years ago.

“I was with a friend of a friend,” says Cocq, “we were hanging out and I noticed she had really great hair, and I asked her where her got her hair done.”

Cocq got her question answered but since she didn’t need her hair cut immediately, Cocq started recommending Dailey to her office mates and friends and that piqued her curiosity about Dailey’s creativity.

“They kept on showing up with great haircuts,” says Cocq, “and I thought I can’t wait to get my hair cut.”

Cocq finally got her haircut — months later — and is, two years later, still making hair connections in the city and helping Daily expand her chart of queer followers.

If you want to know more about Dailey’s creative hairstyles — and become part of the queer connection — you can find her at Hair Junkie on Laurier Avenue.