My mother’s silence and looks of disapproval luckily only lasted two days. She hasn’t shared any opinions about my hair since then, and every now and then she’ll ask if I just got a haircut without actually making any comments about it. My hair, like my sexuality, is now on the list of things that we don’t discuss. I’m okay with that.
Despite my mom’s objections, I absolutely loved my new do. I loved it so much that I quickly snapped the selfie seen in my first real post as soon as I could. To go hand in hand with feeling like my “true self,” a side effect of my haircut was feeling like my clothes magically looked 10 times better. That polo in the picture suited me more; my button ups fit so much better; my blazers finally looked right. Maybe that was the reason why I immediately gained confidence, and it was all from losing that excess length. I’m still not exactly sure, but everything was great now that I looked like a short young man (yeah, okay, maybe teenage boy at best). Shallow mirror talk aside, my scalp was also much happier, no longer having to deal with the constant pull and weight of my long locks. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I had a lot of hair on my head and my ponytail was so heavy that it probably could have been used as a weapon.
The responses over social media reassured me that I had picked the right new hairstyle. I was wondering if anyone would say “WTF!!” or “Ew, why?” but they didn’t. Instead, I got comments like “THIS HAIRCUT WAS MADE FOR YOU!! this ‘do was clearly your destiny” and “*lets bewbs out* take my body.” I didn’t expect to see comments of that nature at all and, to this day, I’m beyond thankful that I hadn’t made one of the worst mistakes of my life.
As for the reception at work, I had only warned one coworker that I was going to come back looking different the next day. That Tuesday morning, my new look was originally met with wide eyes and exclamations of surprise. But shortly after, it garnered compliments from my colleagues and one boss. I say one boss because the other one held his gaze a little longer than usual during a meeting but said nothing. I wasn’t sure about how to take his lack of comment, but maybe it was a professional thing to not make a big deal out of a workplace-acceptable change in hairstyle. Regardless, I thought my undercut made a great first impression in the office.
And you thought you could avoid my “first day at work with short hair” bathroom selfie. Nope; that you cannot.
While my only concern was that I would miss having long hair, it never crossed my mind that I would have to deal with any negative consequences. That evening after my 9 to 5, I went to the gym and walked into the locker room as I did every other day. This time it was different, though. Those whom I hadn’t previously built relationships with were alarmed, only to look slightly less perplexed once I greeted my acquaintances. It was at this point in time that I realized I unknowingly crossed a societal boundary. I was being perceived as a man who made his way into the long locker room without realizing that he was surrounded by a bunch of women. This was just the beginning.