I got a fresh haircut today, just in time for my first visit back to Chicago (tomorrow!) since I left in April. Also, I was called “he” at a haircut for the first time without needing to correct anyone or specifically tell someone that I prefer masculine pronouns. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it.
I started getting my hair cut at the Aveda Institute when I was in Chicago — they do a good job, and it’s inexpensive. Of course, they also called me “she,” and I never really felt comfortable correcting them. There was one time when someone asked me what my preferred pronouns were, but that was a rather special occurrence. Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t just get one of my friends to cut my hair — several of my friends could have, and it would have turned fabulously, and they obviously wouldn’t have called me “she.”
So I generally don’t really like the whole haircut experience because they’ll inevitably think I’m a woman, even if they end up giving me a good haircut, and that’s just uncomfortable (and I’m still not good at correcting people).
Today, however, both the student cutting my hair and their educator used masculine pronouns for me — without any hesitation, without me saying anything. I was a little taken back, and I wasn’t quite sure how they were reading me.
Were they actually reading me as a guy? If so, would there be an awkward moment of “No, really, ‘he’ is great” if they realized I’m not a cisboy and got embarrassed about the pronouns? Were they reading me as transmasculine and assuming that I want masculine pronouns? Did they just somehow know? — Pronouns aren’t in the Aveda paperwork (and anyway, the last time I was there, they called me “she”), and I wasn’t wearing anything trans-related.
It felt good, but it was also a little stressful — I kept wondering whether they’d decide part way through that they’d made a pronoun mistake, wondering whether something in the next remark I made would cause things to change.
I don’t think most people read me as male — most people still call me “she” or “ma’am” (except for the person selling food at the Twins game and the person doing tailoring in the boys department at Nordstrom). Maybe this is just the very beginning of the “oh my Athena, I never know how people are reading me” that is yet to come.
Whatever the reason for the pronouns, I now have a nice new haircut . . . that will probably never look like this again because the person put a ton of product in my hair — my hair is incredibly stubborn and does not like to be even the least bit styled.