Two weeks later, my hair is still a topic of conversation.
As are my clothes. As is the way I walk in the rain.
I know this because I overheard it. Someone at work called me, and then when I didn’t answer, forgot to hang up the phone when it went to voicemail. I came into the office to listen to the voices of my male coworkers, all old enough to be my father, at least, discussing my choices. “I just saw her walk into the building, huddled against the rain.” “Did you see her pants? It’s a wonder she didn’t pop a hip in those grandma pants.” “Did you see she cut her hair off?” “You don’t like it? I like it.”
Let me clear something up RIGHT OFF THE BAT.
These pants are fabulous. Green and printed, I have waited years for a pair of printed pants that look like a 1960s callback. I am proud of these pants. I lost 30 pounds to feel good in these pants. And you can go jump off a bridge because I like them and I’m happy in them. The most important part of this whole paragraph is that THEY MAKE ME HAPPY.
In Bossypants, Tina Fey recalls one of Amy Poehler’s first writers meetings for SNL, in which Jimmy Fallon told Amy Poehler her vulgar bit was “not cute” because it wasn’t ladylike.
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit.
I’m always surprised at the level of investment men seem to have in the physical appearance of women. Always surprised that it matters whether they like it. Annoyed that cutting off my hair means that I am “brave.” (The only reason women are “brave” to cut off their hair is because they are removing a symbol of traditional femininity. Maybe that is brave, in a system where the trappings of femininity are so important to the system.) I had seen and spoken to all of one person out of the four on that voicemail in the 24 hours before it was left. I had cut my hair nine days before the conversation. And yet, nine days later, my appearance and whether or not it was acceptable not for the workplace but for their preferences was up for debate.
I’m still in shock that what I wear or the length of my hair is important enough to other people to have a conversation over. I haven’t deleted the voicemail yet, because I keep pressing on it like a bruise. I want to stay angry over this. I want to remain annoyed that my choices about my appearance are anyone else’s business.
Because I don’t fucking care if you like it.