Don't be a victim.
When I had long hair, I pulled it back into a ponytail and didn't give two craps about it. But since cutting it short about four years ago, I've become downright vain.
I used to go to a barber. There was something rite-of-passagey about it. I often got sir'd throughout the entire haircut, even if I was talking (in my clearly female voice) the whole time, which always amazed me. But if I didn't get sir'd, I'd often be told, "We don't do women's hair," whereupon I would spend the better part of fifteen minutes explaining to the guy that I was in the right place. Inevitably I'd get a cut that was plain, inoffensive, and largely devoid of style, but since this was the still closest I'd ever come to having my hair cut the way I wanted it, I was happy.
My barbershop experience, despite its drawbacks, was vastly superior to my experience at places like Supercuts--discount chains that snip men's and women's locks. Inevitably, the haircutters there (I don't know what to call them--they're not "barbers," and God knows they're not stylists) would try to charge me twice as much for a "women's" cut though I made it clear that I wanted a regular guys' cut. Usually I'd come away with cuts that were guy-ish, but too long--as if the haircutter was stubbornly determined not to reveal my whole ears to the world. Worst-case scenario, I'd come away with some atrocity--including, but not limited to, feathered sideburns.
Eventually, I asked a butch I'd just met (C, who later became a very good friend of mine) where she got her hair cut, and she gave me the name of her stylist. That's right--an actual stylist. I was highly suspicious.
I made an appointment anyway, and when I arrived, I announced that I wanted my hair "exactly like C's." The woman spent a few minutes examining my hair, then pronounced it "too thick" for the C's haircut. This, I thought, did not bode well. So, fully planning to stop at a barber shop on the way home, I said, "Can you do something kind of dykey, basically a guys' cut, super short on the sides and back?"
To my astonishment, the haircut rocked. Just like you're probably better off going to a Yelp-favored mechanic over some dude behind the local gas station, it actually makes a difference when the person knows what he or she is doing. A good stylist will thin your hair if it needs thinning, color it if you want it colored, and give you a cut that will actually look good as it grows out, too. The sole downside is that I now pay $60/haircut, and I am far from wealthy. But to a vain butch like yours truly, it's worth every penny.
Bottom line? Find the most stylish short-haired dyke you know and ask where she gets her hair cut. If you don't know one, stop the first one you see on the street and ask where she goes. Not only will she be flattered, but probably sympathetic as well, since she, herself, has probably navigated the hair-raising gauntlet from which you have just emerged.
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