Looking a little like a boy

One of the best parts of having really short hair is that I look a little like a boy. This was something I was nervous about, when I thought about cutting my hair. I thought, “What if I look a little like a boy? I can’t let that happen. What if someone thinks I’m a boy? What if someone calls me ‘sir’? Then my life will probably be over.”

But a surprising thing happened when I cut my hair. I stopped caring so much about looking like a girl. Maybe it’s all the fussing that long hair demands. I stopped looking in the mirror as much, because I didn’t have to check and make sure my hair was OK. Because it’s always pretty much the same.

Since I already look so different, something in me that was constantly competing to look just as good as or better than other women shut off. It’s like I removed my name from the roster. And when the guy who runs the world is calling out, “Potentially beautiful, sexy women: Molly Aacker! Christina Abbens! Tianna Abbey! Jessica Alba! Jennifer Aniston!” He will never get to my name, because I’m  not even there. My name was scratched out and replaced by one of those smiley faces with the tongue sticking out.

I can’t believe how simple it was.

I can’t believe how much pressure I was putting on myself to look feminine in very specific ways, without realizing it.

I put on my wedding gown (it is still hanging on the back of the bedroom door while I procrastinate about dealing with it), as a joke, to show Bear how ridiculous it would’ve looked if I had cut my hair before the wedding.

I didn’t look like a boy at all. But it would have been OK if I had.

There was something awesome about cutting off my hair and then rocking the wedding gown that I agonized over, back when I cared about looking pretty in dresses. I told Bear we might have to get married again. I think I’d be better at it this time.

*  *  *

Un-roast: Today I love how things can change suddenly for the better. This is one of the best things about being alive.

Guest post about how educational travel is, at Un-schooled. From a very cool woman whose two-year-old son has already seen a lot of the world.


Kate on January 28th 2011 in beauty, being different, wedding

37 Responses to “Looking a little like a boy”

  1. Shyra responded on 28 Jan 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    You could do a trash the dress photo short w/ your short hair and then you would have pics of both!

  2. Kate responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 12:17 am #

    I’ve actually loved the shots I’ve seen from trash the dress shoots. Something to think about…

  3. amanda responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 12:27 am #

    I had the same short haircut for my actual wedding. I loved it and I’m glad I didn’t have to fuss over my hair on the big day. I’m totally going to follow the ‘trash the dress session’ (my hair is long again, and I was considering taking the scissors to it tonight – maybe I’ll wait for pictures…..)

  4. poet responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 1:37 am #

    I’m sorry to tell you, but you actually look really beautiful and sexy with that short hair + that big wedding gown :) The “contrast” that we’re culturally conditioned to see there is a very cool one. You’re seriously making me consider cutting off my hair, and that is the one thing I thought was never going to happen (I’ve let it grow for all my life and it goes down to my waist, so there!)…


  5. San D responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 6:28 am #

    Love the photos. Was Bear the photographer? If so, he has a second career in the works. Hmmm, and maybe when your hair starts to grow, he can trim it as well. My husband used to trim my short hair, and well, it was an incredibly intimate act. As for “trashing the dress” I wore my wedding dress to school for years, until one day one of my students tripped and ran into me with his silkscreen full of ink…Who knew I was trashing the dress?

  6. Megan @ ascension blog responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 8:31 am #

    Totally agree with your ‘un-roast’. I think that choosing peace and happiness is a decision we make in every moment, and when we do, life supports our choice.

  7. Luyi responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Wow. You are drop-dead gorgeous, whatever hairstyle or dress you choose. Thanks for sharing the photos!

  8. Mandy responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Kate, one of the nice things about your short hair, is that now everyone can see what pretty, graceful shoulders you have!
    I’ve has short hair for a lot of my adult life. About five years ago, I grew it out to almost to my shoulders, and my poor, long-suffering husband had to put up with a lot of complaining before I got tired of fussing with it and cut it off again.
    And you know what? The longer hair made me look OLDER–and not in a good way… As soon as I got my hair cut again, I looked SO much better.
    So, on those rare occasions that I get the yen to grow it again, I just remind myself that I look better with it short. And that short hair is more eco-friendly (less shamppo, conditioner, hot water, product, and electricity) not to mention a tremendous time saver!

    Un-roast: I enjoy wearing my leopard-print, sequinned, hi-top converse (love those shoes!) to parties and seeing who notices!

  9. Leslie Beauchamp responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    I think you look more lovely and feminine without the long hair, because you can see your face more clearly!! Blessings to you, and I love your honesty more than anything else!!

  10. Jen responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Most of those women who grow long hair for the wedding wind up
    A: Putting it up, or
    B: Having it styled in a plastic-looking way (fat rolls like Miss Scarlett, etc.).

    You get the updo look without all the pins and spray.

  11. Anna responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Kate, you look amazing with short hair. The pictures with the wedding dress are superb. I have often found that the people who mistake a female for a male or vice versa feel more embarrassed about the mix-up than the person they addressed. As long as you are comfortable in your own skin who cares what other people think?

    Ironically enough the entire fashion industry was influenced by people who dared to be different. Why don’t we encourage that mentality when reading magazines instead of trying to be the same. They say imitation is flattery, but why flatter other people when you can flatter yourself?

    In reference to short hair vs long hair, both hair styles and everything in between can be beautiful. It just depends on what you are comfortable with. I have to say I prefer my long hair. I have tried short hair styles, but with my curly hair it is waaay more work to keep up than long. With my hair long it will take me 2 minutes top to do something with it. When my hair was short I had to use product and clip it or use bobby pins, yet some days it just wouldn’t cooperate. Needless to say it was a hassle and I hated it. I am envious of women who are able to pull off short hair, but I completely adore my long hair.

  12. Anna responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Un-Roast: I love that although I am a college drop out people still find me intellectually stimulating. I have come to terms with the idea that traditional education may not be for me, but sometimes people don’t understand that. I love smashing people’s preconceived boxes (in the nicest way possible, of course).

  13. Corny responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Un-roast: I love that I look and feel better with short hair. I cut about 4 inches off my hair last week, taking it to about 1 inch below ear length. It’s all coming off soon.

  14. monika hardy responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    It’s like I removed my name from the roster.

    nice Kate. i love it.

  15. Maya responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    I seriously considered starting to cross-dress as a man a few days ago, for exactly this reason. It would be nice to stop trying so hard to look feminine for a while.

    Unfortunately, I’d have to get an entirely new wardrobe. And I kind of already did that once this year.

    P.S. Your short hair looks awesome.

  16. Louise responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Your hair looks beautiful! I wish I could pull something like that off but I have curly hair and I hate straighteners!

  17. Diane responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    You are seriously stunning in that dress with your new short hair. It’s such a striking look. Probably my favorite pictures of you yet. I don’t even know you, and somehow, I feel proud.

  18. Wei-Wei responded on 30 Jan 2011 at 4:36 am #

    You want me to be really honest? I think you look really, really cool in a dress with short hair. Something about the bareness of the head just makes you look vulnerable but pixie-ish at the same time.

  19. Lonelily responded on 30 Jan 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    I’m sure you have seen this/been nominated many times before, but I have to let you know that I have given you a “blog award” for being my favorite blogger!

    If you are interested, you can check out what I wrote at http://loseaguyin7years.blogspot.com/2011/01/and-blog-award-goes-to.html

    Have a great day :)

  20. Rebecca responded on 30 Jan 2011 at 5:20 pm #


    (with the long hair, too, obviously!)

    You just look…more content with short hair.

    And I might be totally wrong about that;
    it’s just what I can see from the photos you’ve posted.

  21. Erin Block responded on 30 Jan 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    “I can’t believe how much pressure I was putting on myself to look feminine in very specific ways, without realizing it.”

    Wow. This post is awesome!

  22. Sal responded on 31 Jan 2011 at 6:14 am #

    You look amazing, both with long hair and short. :)

    My un-roast has to be my hair- I love that it’s long and curly and different. I also love that it’s a link to my mother and sisters.

  23. Autumn responded on 31 Jan 2011 at 10:25 am #

    I’ve got to agree with those here who are pointing out the ways in which short hair makes you look more feminine. It heightens your features and shows them off, along with your decolletage. I hear you on the androgyny bit and how that can be fun to play with, but having short hair doesn’t remove you from the list of “potentially beautiful, sexy women”–not in the least.

    And I’m not saying this to be all “You look awesome, girl!” (even though you do); I’m saying this because what I found after chopping off a foot of hair into a pixie cut was that people sort of put me into a different “type” than they had before. I felt fantastic but I didn’t find that it liberated me from the beauty game. Literally cutting off one of the primary signifiers of beauty in our culture didn’t mean I was out of the game; it meant that people just expected me to, I dunno, be Mrs. White instead of Miss Scarlett, you know what I mean?

  24. Alii Silverwing responded on 31 Jan 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    After my hair drove me to distraction over the summer, I finally chopped off most of it and got the haircut I’ve been jonesin’ for since I was in middle school.

    Best. Thing. Ever.

    It fascinates me the way that impulsively doing something kind of transgressive, at least to former thought patterns, can be such a relief. Like, jumping the thought-rails or heading off in a different direction and getting a new perspective on other people’s perceptions of you.

    Un-roast: I love the way my slicked-back short hair makes me look extremely dapper when I want to be dapper.

  25. Kate responded on 31 Jan 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    I like that you sometimes want to look dapper.

  26. Lori Lieberman responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    I’d love to state that I focused solely on the written words in this wonderful post, reflecting exclusively on what’s inside, what really matters. But in truth, I was drawn to how stunning the photos of you are–so self assured-seeming–and gorgeous. So yes, I, like the rest of society, am impacted by appearances. I admit it.

  27. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Hey! I somehow missed this comment when you posted it. Thank you!!! This is so nice of you! I’m really touched.

  28. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    @the people who said I look gorgeous
    Honestly, I look at these photos and think, “Well, that one’s decent. The lighting is lovely in that one.” So when someone says I look beautiful, I’m happily surprised. Which kinda just goes to show you how out of touch a person can be with her own appearance. Which is also kinda why I write this blog. So I guess I’m just saying the compliments mean a lot to me.

  29. Louise responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    I had a pixie cut not that dissimilar to yours when I graduated from college, and once, a little girl, maybe 3-4 years old was pointing out the gender of everyone in a Taco Bell and called me a boy. “that’s a girl…that’s a boy…” There were like 6 people in the TB and I heard her, and the mom totally knew I did and tried to correct her, laughing apologetically, and it was funny, but it also stuck with me.

    I’ve had a short bob most of my life, but decided that the pixie was not for me. I guess I really am a “girly girl”.

    You could have totally rocked that dress with your short hair, and it’s a beautiful dress, too. You should have it dyed a different color and wear it everyday. It’s too good to hide away somewhere.

  30. Katja responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 6:22 am #

    A little comment from Germany: I cut my hair off in January 2008 after considering doing it since I was 15 (I’m 27 now). And I love it!
    I had short hair when I was 12 years old for the same reasons I have it now: I was never satisfied with the way my long hair looked, I thought it was more modern, sleek, cool and easy to manage. Then the worst happened: I was taken for a boy. Three times. In one year. I was devastated. And had my hair long again. For 13 years. And then I cut it again. Because that’s how I’m supposed to look, that’s how I feel beautiful. And now guess what happened? I was “mis-gendered” again. This time not for a “boy”, but one time for “that man over there” and the other time with “Dude, no, that’s not a chick, that’s a guy!” And as I’m writing this I’m laughing about it. I really think it’s funny as I don’t care about it anymore. Mostly, in daily life, I don’t wear any make-up, no girly accessories (like earrings etc.) I know that I have very “distinctive features”, but today I really like my face.

    I’m getting married in June. And I’m really looking forward to wearing my (very girly) wedding dress with short hair (pixie-short!)! So that’s my two cents on girl-boy-short-hair.

    “Btw”: You look pretty great with short hair!

  31. Meow responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Your dress looks way more fierce w. your hairs like that.

  32. Eat the Damn Cake » The Evil Voice in The Gym responded on 22 Mar 2011 at 11:44 am #

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  33. Eat the Damn Cake » I want to look like a pirate queen responded on 11 Jan 2012 at 1:00 pm #

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