the history of her hair

On Friday I came home from work to find my girlfriend had undergone a radical transformation. I leave for work and she has chin-length hair, sweet curls a little messy, cute and soft–and I come home to find that I live with a totally different person. This new haircut? Undeniably, it screams DYKE. It’s a statement haircut, you know the kind–with the buzz in the back and a bit more up front–very recognizable. Very butch. I swear I nearly fainted.

Understand: when I met K., her hair was long. To her elbows at least, blond, wavy, thick. And looking at her today, in a polo shirt with this new very short hair, I was struck by how changed she is–and I couldn’t help feeling guilty. Like I have somehow manipulated her into changing through the sheer force of my lust for the butch women of the world (every one of them, in their machismo and grace). Like I had managed, simply by fantasizing, to make her actually do it.

Not that I asked. But I will admit…when we started dating, the hair was a drawback. As were the skirts she sometimes wore. I am much more attracted to masculine women, and I knew it then and ever since. Not enough to let it compromise our relationship, but the K. who appeared in my fantasies, to say the least, did not look very much like the girl I was dating.

So when she expressed even the faintest interest in button-downs, I went on a femme shopping spree that would make Stacy and Clinton proud. I was trying to be supportive, you know? But I worry, deep inside, that what I passed off as “support” was truly a kind of manipulation. That I was hoping, that if I wished hard enough, she would turn into one of those suave butches I admired so much. That, if I was patient enough, she would change her wardrobe and–yes–cut off all her hair. That I could, in time, have my cake and eat it too.

And I am probably being a silly girl, but when I lie curled around her tonight, I will run my fingers along the back of her neck and the prickly feeling of those little hairs will be half sheer lust–and half a kind of dread. Because what if she changes her mind? What if she has done this for me, not to make me happy, but out of a kind of…obligation? What kind of girlfriend am I, then?

8 Responses to the history of her hair

  1. miss avarice says:

    I sometimes feel the same way! But D swears that she likes it short, and she likes the pants and all. Dresses are part of her female heritage, but they are not part of her present. <3

  2. Dylan says:

    I think many many butches are transformed by the femmes who love them, in more ways than just physical appearance of course, but especially outwardly. After so much pressure from society to be a female in a very particular way, it is often the love and encouragement of the women we love who make us feel safe enough to shed the mandated look and find the one which resides within. It is your love that makes it ok with her, your approval, your lust that makes her feel sexy as she embraces her masculinity. You haven’t made her do something she didn’t already want to, you just created a space where it was safe and hot and comfortable.

  3. actiongirl says:

    I don’t think that K is the kind of person who would change her whole image if she didn’t actually want to. I mean . . . it may, in part, be your influence, but I suspect that even if she’s doing it to please you, it’s because pleasing you pleases HER. If that’s at all coherent.

    I suspect that she really enjoys the effect that her butchness has on you; but also, that she enjoys the role itself and what comes with it (a certain sense of power and control, in the world and also in your dynamic). That “machismo and grace” that you talk about is extremely enjoyable and empowering for the person who adopts it. I’ve always thought that it’s the self-confidence of most butch women that makes them so damn sexy.

    (I agree with Dylan, above: the permission/desire of a loved one is the sort of thing that gives a woman the courage to try on a role she hasn’t been handed by society. It’s a hard role to take on by oneself. Desire can *be* supportive, rather than manipulative; in any case, they’re not mutually exclusive.)

    I don’t know that she won’t eventually develop some nostalgia for skirts and the like; gender presentation can obviously be a very fluid thing. As always, I suggest you enjoy yourself. :) Though if you’re worried, you could always try talking about it with her. (Have you?)

  4. linaria says:

    Thank you. I still have a lot of things I’m working out on this one, but you’ve all given me a different angle from which to approach it. I appreciate that.

  5. yeah, i definitely have moments of this sort of fear (slightly different cause, but a very similar feeling) – is she only doing this because i like it, or am i, as dylan says, giving her the opportunity to go somewhere she’d like to be anyway? for now i’m just hoping, but perhaps at some point i’ll go with actiongirl’s novel advice and find out ;)

  6. sif says:

    ohmygod. thank you. this is pretty much my neurosis right now. so glad i’m not the only person who thinks they’ve manipulated their lover into short hair and button-downs.

  7. linaria says:

    sif: and likewise! I was pretty sure I was the only one too.

  8. Lina says:

    I can absolutely identify with this one too.
    Word for word.
    I agree with Dylan.

    To be pleased by pleasing. Very powerful dance.

    we have a lot in common.

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