3 min

The hair makes the dyke

A slip of the scissors leads to a whole new set of assumptions

Ho·mo·hawk: A tame variation of the Mohawk hairstyle in which a conservative cut is gelled into a pointed strip along the centre of the scalp. Usually worn by club-hopping queers with day jobs.

I’ve given myself the same hair cut so many times I could practically do it with a blindfold on. So even though I know I’m a bit distracted (daydreaming about an upcoming biking trip through the Californian desert) I’m not worried a bit as I head to the bathroom, scissors in hand, to give mylid a trim.

Things start out well enough, but early in the trimming process I start to drift, daydreaming about Joshua Tree National Park and hoping that I don’t come across any snakes while I’m there.

When I snap back to reality I’m shocked to discover that I’ve managed to snip myself a fairly large bald spot onto the right side of my head. Shit.

I survey the damage, trying not to panic. “If I cut the rest of my hair a little shorter than usual,” I reason, “the bald spot won’t even be noticeable.”

I continue to snip, but the barbering gods are not with me. I slip. Another bald spot. Fuck.

I begin to panic, but foolishly trudge on. The situation just gets worse and worse. It’s time to call for backup.

I rush into the living room, looking like I’ve been doing it with a lawnmower. Dawn, my partner, gives me a horrified look as if to say, “I leave you alone for five minutes and look what happens!”

Practically in tears, I drag her to the bathroom to help me deal with the growing disaster. I hand her the scissors. She looks me over and bites her lower lip.

After taking a few snips here and there, she declares that it’s too delicate an operation — scissors aren’t going to do it. She reaches for the clippers.

I’m sweating like a whore in church when I suddenly feel the clipper graze my scalp. She gasps. I panic and turn to face the mirror. I now have two more bald spots on my left side.

That’s when Dawn announces there’s no choice left; we’re going to have to shave the sides of my head completely bald. “I’ll give you a real Mohawk. Don’t worry, you’ll look cool,” she reassures me.

I look up at her with disbelief. I did not sign up for this Mohawk business. All I wanted was a straight-up homohawk. Was I ready to make such a bold follicle move? Hell, no!

I plead and beg, but Dawn won’t budge. “Go big or go home,” she says. “None of this homohawk crap. What are you afraid of anyway?”

Fine. I secretly curse her to hell as she starts to clip ferociously. Within five minutes there’s so much hair on the floor that I swear I’d lost at least 10 pounds.

She hands me the mirror. I nearly die.

We sit together on the bathroom floor, hair clippings clinging to our arms and legs. I have a good cry. Then I start to laugh, followed by more crying. She makes us martinis. We drink them there on the bathroom floor amidst my old hair.

When I look at myself in the mirror the next morning, I know exactly why my new hair is making me so upset. I look like a lesbian. A dyke, even. And not just any dyke, but the type of dyke who wears a Mohawk. I don’t feel any different, but I know I’ll no longer be able to remain comfortably ambiguous, hidden behind a look that says, “Hi, there. I might be a lesbian, but I’m a nice, nonthreatening lesbian. There’s nothing to be afraid of here.” Now, everywhere I go, people, queer and straight, will look at me with a whole new set of assumptions.

This shouldn’t bother me, but it does.

I take my Mohawk for a walk, to conduct my own social experiment. I watch the way people react to me and compare it to the way things had been before the buzz. And it’s true. Even if my hair is in a well-manicured strip down the centre of my head and even if I do still smile a bit too much to be considered a credible threat to anyone, I get odd looks. Suddenly people assume I don’t have a job. Homeless people strike up conversation instead of asking for change. Suddenly Dawn is getting peevish because other queer women are giving me a lot of extra attention.

It’s not like this isn’t a fixable situation. Hell, my hair grows so quickly that you can practically watch the process happen if you stare long enough. But I’ve decided to go out and buy myself a fancy new clipper ’cause, for the time being at least, this badass mohawked dyke is here to stay.