2014-2015, Short Story

The Hairdresser

Featured in the 2014 Fall Issue of Rambunctious

By Zev Anbar, ’16

Chris began to question the wisdom of this trip. He paced back and forth across the hotel room for a minute muttering incoherently, before collapsing down onto the feather bed and running his hands through his now short hair.  He had cut it off earlier that day, when he had been confident in the choice to change permanently from a she to a he. He had come to Boston for a consultation and after he had spoken to the doctor, Chris had felt confident that he was making the right choice, now though…

“Do you want me to buzz your hair or do you just want to cut it short?” the hairdresser had held up both options for Chris and he had immediately pointed to the razor.

“So why does a girl like you decide to shave her hair off? I mean I totally get the short hair look but your hair is gorgeous.” She was just trying to make idle conversation, but the question still made Chris’s throat close up in nervousness.

“Oh, um…I’m-I’m trans, and getting ready to start hormone therapy and I thought it just a good time to cut it off.”

The buzzer stopped whirring and the hairdresser paused, her hand poised above his head just about to shave off the first chunk of blond hair. “Oh…well good for you sweetie.” She didn’t talk for the rest of the time, only narrowing her eyes when she looked up, leaving Chris to stare at his face in the mirror and watch as his hair fell to the floor.  It was surreal watching each bundle fall to the ground, like a snake shedding its skin. Each strand of hair that fell was like saying goodbye to the female Christina and welcoming the male Chris. When the hairdresser was done 15 or 20 minutes later, Chris couldn’t take his eyes away from the mirror, or stop running his hands over what was left of those once despised locks. He noticed now how light he felt, without the pounds of thick hair trailing down to his waist, it was liberating. Smiling to himself Chris got up to leave, momentarily forgetting the hairdressers scrutinizing glare.

As he was leaving, however, Chris heard the hairdresser speak again, and it wasn’t to him but to one of her co-workers behind the desk, a black-haired woman with tattoos covering both her arms.

“Do you see that girl I just helped,” the hairdresser staged-whispered. “She’s trans and is going to change her gender. How messed up is that?” Nodding the other hairdresser typed a few keys into the computer before responding.

“Yeah, that is messed up, people like that should get help. I mean come on, you’re not the gender you were born as? Puh-lese, obviously just a ploy for attention.

Eyes stinging, Chris had run out of the shop and grabbed the next bus that took him to the hotel, paying attention to nothing until he reached his room.

He really did want to feel comfortable in his own skin, and finally having short hair made him feel less dysphoric, but was it really worth it to get rid of the dysphoria completely? The ridicule was horrible, he had come to Boston for his consultation because he thought that people in a big city would be more accepting of his identity than the people in his hometown. But he was wrong, people here were just as nasty as the people back home, Boston was definitely not his safe haven. Sighing Chris sat up and took a map out of his red backpack that sat on the edge of the bed. Shaking his head, he crossed off Boston on the map and drew a line north. Next stop, Maine, maybe that could be his safe haven, just maybe if he tried hard enough. It was the only place left.  Closing the map, Chris pulled out his phone and hit a number, four rings rang out before a voice picked up on the other end.

“Hello, Christina?”

“Hey Mom, just wanted to tell you…looks like I’m coming home.”

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