I cut off all but a couple inches of my hair. It's way comfier and easier to maintain now.
But I didn't realize, when I did it, how much I would be running head-on into a minefield of gender and sexual anxieties. It wasn't a deliberate act of gender fuckery; I went in for a woman's haircut and showed the hairdresser a picture of a woman.
Within a day, I was getting called "he" and "sir."
Which I don't mind, when it's an honest mistake. If someone wants to believe I'm a man and treat me in good faith like a man, that's fine. In fact, if I were a little more passable I'd almost be curious how far it would go. What I do mind is when someone recognizes me as a woman, but as a woman who's presenting wrong, and gets either nasty or excessively "so, since you have short hair, tell me about your genitals" intrusive about it.
And it gets to me. I wish I were a Gender Warrior. I wish I had the strength to answer every "are you a boy or a girl?" with "really, would it affect you?" But I have an ego, I have sensitive spots about being called ugly and unsexy, and frankly, I have me some tender widdle feewings. At the same time as I want to be a Gender Warrior, I also want to be attractive and be liked.
It scares me that my first thought was "I could wear makeup and dresses and that would even it out!" Because it would. But it wouldn't be a matter of making myself happier, or even really prettier; it would be a matter of getting people off my back. It would be letting strangers--and the very meanest and dumbest strangers at that--tell me how to get dressed in the morning.
And my second thought is outright fear that, with something as simple and silly as a haircut, I might have bought myself a ticket into some really dangerous bigotry. I look like a lesbian or a trans man, and although I'm not, good luck explaining that to the sort of people who can't be decent to lesbians and trans men in public. (Then again, it's kind of a grossly privileged thing to say "don't call me that, I'm not a lesbian!" instead of "don't call me that, you shouldn't call anyone that.")
And my third thought is "oh no, it's going to be much harder to get laid now!" Rowdy likes androgyny, but it seems like most straight men like femininity, and I do feel a bit bummed that I might've blown my chances with them. Even some of the guys I've dated before liked me to be feminine, and in a weird way I almost feel like I'm betraying them--making them retroactively gay or something.
But I have all these nervous little thoughts, and then I look in the mirror, and all I can think is that I look good to me. I look like I'd like to look. Whatever the risks of being unfeminine, there's a great reward in feeling comfortable in my own skin. If my appearance were a mask, something that existed to show to others, it would be a failure at its task; but as a face, something that is also a part of my self, it has value.
I like my short hair. It scares me, but it also challenges me. It doesn't allow me to hide behind "don't worry, I may be an ally to weirdos, but I'm normal" quite as easily. And I can get a goddamn comb through it. I'm going to keep it for a bit.
Now, what really challenges my self-identity is the fact that with all the dyed parts cut out, I'm blonde now. I'm a goddamn natural blonde. This, I don't think I can integrate into my self-image.