When Barbers Become the Gender Police

People legit think I’m my characters. Which I get. I write in first person. It’s intimate. Plus, my narrators are sarcastic and good-looking. It’s hard to distinguish sometimes. For the record, I’m not my characters. In fact, we have very little in common.

There is one fundamental similarity between Cash Braddock and me, though. We both need haircuts every four weeks or we lose our shit.

Now I know a lot of people loved the barbershop scene in Cash Braddock. I know this because my mother loved it and so did my mother-in-law and they are always right. The nice thing about writing fiction is that, on occasion, we get to create an ideal world to rectify the wrongs of this one. The barbershop in Cash Braddock does exactly that. In Cash’s world, barbershops have the perfect balance of masculinity without toxicity. They have barbers who make appointments. They have barbers who can articulate questions. Obviously fiction.

My world is nothing like Cash’s world. And I’m kind of bitter about it.

I’ve gotten plenty of great haircuts from barbers. But they always seem to come with a side of something else (it’s misogyny. That’s the “something else.” I didn’t want you to be disappointed when you realized it wasn’t something fun). The first barber I went to was absolutely floored that I was both female and wanted a straight razor cut. He managed to overcome his shock once he realized that I was a lesbian. He then spent my entire haircut offering me the newest Playboy. I did not want to look at the newest Playboy.

The next barbershop was much better. They pretty solidly didn’t give a fuck that I have two X chromosomes. But then my barber left and his replacement (my new barber, almost) cautioned that blunt sideburns would make me look like a boy, which was kind of weird because I already look like a boy (I don’t look like a boy. I look like a androgynous chick, but if you live in a world where blunt sideburns make someone look like a “boy,” then the distinction of my gender presentation is going to be lost on you).

I then burned through Yelp’s barbershop suggestions pretty quick. A month ago, I found a female barber (not a stylist. The straight razor makes all the difference, friends) and it was a goddamn revelation. But her schedule is impossible and I needed a haircut like last Tuesday. So I found another female barber. The whiskey-drinking, mustache-cultivating vibe of the shop wasn’t really my scene, but I’m tolerant as fuck. The only downside was the receptionist spewing sexist, racist shit while the barbers literally drank whiskey. Straight razors and alcohol seem dangerous. My tolerance only extends so far.

I’ve now arrived at the realization that I need a female barber who works in a hyper masculine barbershop where the men are sober feminists? So, you know, still searching.


  1. In my early military days, I kept my hair short rather than put it up. The post hair salon was always packed. In exasperation one day, I took the advice of one of my fellow short haired troops and went to the barbershop like she had. The barber I got was skeptical but he did a fine job, quickly. That was in the mid-80s. I imagine post and base barbers see a lot more women these days.

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  2. I finally got up the courage to go to a local barbershop which was opened by these really cool young guys in my neighbourhood. I just walked in and asked for an appointment, like I owned it, and it worked ! I was so floored when I left and totally giddy. It was frankly the best hair decision of my life. Maybe even the best decision of my life period. So affirming to see the real me being revealed in that chair. I’ve been shorn by three of the four barbers so far and each one has treated me with interest, respect, and a lot of creativity. I mean, they asked me how I wanted my sideburns done, for h*’s sake ! And they also serve whisky (or water, or cappucinos), but to the customers. Plus it’s much cheaper (and faster) than a hair salon, naturally.

    I appreciate how lucky I am. I live in a pretty open-minded city, but this unfazed acceptance of my visceral need for short hair is just so empowering, and what’s more, I’ve gotten rave compliments from my relatively conservative coworkers and acquaintances. Which means it really suits me and everyone knows it. It makes me swagger all the more.

    I’m wondering if Sara Ramirez on Madame Secretary will change the mainstream view of women’s haircuts, I hope so !

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  3. I’m very lucky that I found a good local hairdresser with a unisex salon. I said I wanted the back and sides very short and the top bit longer… she said “we get a lot of women of a certain age wanting short hair” so I just went with that… she said it would be quicker to use the clippers and I went with that…. now she does my hair every six weeks and I’m happy. My partner goes to her now and her hair is ever so slightly longer and they cut hers with scissors. Hers costs £10 more than mine as I get “men’s pricing” cos of clippers… nice hair cut and cheap. Win win…. hope you find someone suitable (and sober) soon

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  4. I found the perfect barber/stylist/whatever. My wife! I use clippers and a small electric shaver for the finer points. (My hair is perfect, btw). I experimented myself with various combinations of sizes and whatnot until I found the perfect combo. Then I told Carol exactly how to cut my hair and every two weeks she takes care of me. (Well more often than that in the general sense. But you know what I mean.)

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  5. My mother always took me to barbers. The struggle got real when she decided I was too old for barbers, about the time I came out. Thanks for putting yet another piece of gender ridiculousness out there.

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