the sexual orientation of hair

by Aimee Herman on October 3, 2016



“my haircut came out before I did”    –Anonymous  


You cut your hair on a Tuesday when the newspaper revealed

fourteen different murders spread out in over five different territories.

On page eleven, there was an interview with a survivor of sex trafficking

who had just written a book, which seemed to receive high praise. The weather

outside could have been described as drab or B-movie-horror bone chilling.

But none of that mattered because you cut your hair from twelve inches or nine

to two or four and now you are no longer what you were.



When you were seventeen, you grabbed the slightly rusted scissors found in

mother’s coupon drawer, stormed up to your purple-drenched bedroom and

began severing all the compliments out of your hair. You watched a puddle of

the only thing anyone ever noticed about you cover the floor. You refused to

watch as you amputated each strand, tufts at a time. And then, you turned around

to face your massacre and you smiled. Because now, the only thing distracting away

from your face is what really matters: your brain.



Your parent sees you post-shear and asks why you always feel the need

to make yourself unattractive. You wonder why hair means so much to

others, when it contains no tongue and chords to speak and impress.



Can be used as camouflage to hide and protect. You use this method to conceal

the parts of you which do not match the way you feel inside. See: vagina



Before, when it fell past your shoulders, the whistlers called you beautiful and sexy.

Compared you to princesses and paper dolls. After, everyone forgot to look.



You learn that hair has a sexual orientation because when you no longer have it, suddenly

everyone sees you asgay or queer or a dyke or butch. All the words that were always inside

you and had nothing to do with your hair.



There seems to be a binary in the non-binary of queer measured by haircut, so you give in.

You spend two months doing research. Going to LGBTQ events to study the queer coifs that

seem to be in rotation. You catalogue about five different kinds, but none would work with the

frizz genetically burned into your scalp, so you leave your hair alone. Hope you are still seen

by just your presence in the room. You give it fifteen minutes. Then forty. You leave having

uttered only the exhales of your oxygen.



When you move to New York City, you worry about your leg hair. And all the curls and stench

beneath your arms.It is summertime and all the other female presenters are smooth like

sanded-down wood. You sit on subway, hoping no one will notice. Then across, you see a

gender-experimenting human with hair to match yours. When they smile, it reaches your face

and you feel seen for the first time in this siren-soaked city. You stop worrying about others.

You throw away your razors, which at this point had just grown oxidized. You stop putting

so much pressure on your hair to define who you are. You buy a dictionary and start learning

new words to call yourself. You came out of the closet almost twenty years ago, so you stop allowing

its contents to define you as well. When you enter spaces, you stop waiting for others to speak to you.

Because you are tired of waiting. Because you know you are a beautiful anomaly. But so are they.

With or without hair.



Read more Aimee Herman in the full-length collection, meant to wake up feeling  meant to wake up feeling front cover

Aimee’s website



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