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Friday, December 31, 2010

Short Hair and the Litany of Cuteness

I arrived to find Emer and Wesley playing cards at the Hiawatha house Friday before last. The house smelled deliciously of garlic. Fresh garlic, old garlic, garlic breath, garlic sweat. Or maybe it was fennel, or cinnamon, or yeast. It smelled of unwashed hair soaked in hormones, oils and kisses, of laundry and shoes covered in mud. It smelled of Amber oil, dumpstered leather and spells, dreams and depression, quickies and long, fantastical masturbatory sessions with KEXP floating in the background. It smelled of laughter and bubbling beer bellies and fingernail art, love and adjustment, plans and parties, time in it's ever evolving state of dying youth.

Emer smiled at me, the ring in her upper gum glinting at me with it's usual element of surprise; that brave piercing on such a brave woman. Emer the traveler, the woman with hair of gossamer and hay in curly tendrils of no adorable sort. Rather, the dapper sort you would find on a retired hair band producer. The kind I want to touch purely to know that I am making contact with her, which would make me feel like I was in her gang of cool feminine strength.

I made an entrance with my hair, now once again chopped to allow for new possibilities, and she told me I looked cute, corrected herself, and then told me what she meant to tell me what that I looked good. Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you, beautiful knowing Emer with your hips of power and your winning hand of cards. We discussed our feelings about the word cute, and its seeming passive aggression where there is usually none, and the twinges of "wrong" that pass through our chests when we are identified with this term.

I had described my haircut hopefully and proudly as "Edward Cullen meets Tinkerbell". I had taken photos of myself in my peacoat on my way to school looking cool and androgenously magical in my own eyes. Perhaps I need more styling experience, or I'm a little blind to myself, or I take myself too seriously (this is true regardless), OR I am simply doomed to be cute forever. It's not that I would rather be beautiful, it's that I would rather be awesome. I want to look as though I have wings but they are only reserved for coitus, as though I fell out of the pocket of a mad toymaker, as though I were a nineteen forties baseball player, nose and cheeks pink, scratching the underside of my tits between innings. I do not want to look proper, stylistically pretty or handsome. I do not want to look young or old per say... I just want to look awesome.

Poni and I looked at the beautiful family photos my parents had framed for me for Christmas this year. My hair is chin length in the photos, ridiculously curly, as it seems to get curlier as I get older, dyed orange on one side, my bangs choppy and oddly asymmetrical. He touched the picture me and said he kind of missed my hair that length, and I was of course sent down memory lane to all the awkward relationship interactions I have had over the years having to do with such superficiality as my hair. He likes my hair now, he says, it's just that he misses the other hair, too. And this to me is like hearing, "I look forward to the day months and months from now when you will be beautiful to me again. I hope you finish this phase soon!" And while he didn't mean to communicate this to me, the highly suspicious part of me didn't want to cuddle anymore that night.

I suppose the biggest blow is that while I may try over and over again to be a certain thing, a certain ideal I have created in my head with the help of Burberry and a League of Their Own, and Bilbo Baggins and Natalie Portman, I will never be perceived in the way I would prefer. The voice, the big boobs on the tiny body, the more angular cheekbones atop a more papery jawline, all of these classify me as....well cute is definitely one thing I may always be. My Grandmother was always cute. I wonder if she ever wanted to be some sort of strutting rooster like I would.

Will I always be an adolescent? I certainly don't feel like one. Can I drop the cute despite my physical smallness? Am I small at heart. Is the feminine the cute?

Thing is, I still look in the mirror and see Edward Cullen mixed with Tinkerbell. I don't see the huge jugs or the missing hair or the cute. But one can't always take breaks to go back and check the mirrors to make sure one's reflection hasn't changed. I have to trust my inner voice, no matter the proverbial cheek pinching I endure with so much patience.

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