I got my hair done the other day for the very first time!!! It was a major milestone for me in my transition.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Umm, Lorelei? How that heck have you managed to avoid ever getting your hair done?!!?!’
I mean, I’ve had haircuts certainly. And I even had my hair stripped white once so I could dye it bright blue for my wedding. It’s a long story. Someday I’ll show you all the video.
Anyhow, like I said, I’ve never had my hair DONE. All girly at the salon Done.
I’ve been letting my hair grow for a couple of years now, since I decided to go ahead and really, truly, actually transition. It grows like a weed, I’m really lucky, and it had gotten really long. Like halfway down my back. It had actually gotten so long that it was getting caught in my armpits when I sleep and I would often end up cranking my neck when I tried to turn over.
I’ve actually had long hair for most of my life. My parents were good hippies and in all the pictures of me as a little kid I’ve got longish curly blonde hair and people would always say when they saw the pics, “Oh, what a cute little girl!” It is little wonder I have gender issues… At some point though, anatomy got in the way and people started to say, “What a cute boy. And what nice hair he has!”
I cut it for a minute in Middle School in a desperate attempt to get teased less. It really didn’t work though so I let it grow back as soon as I got to High School. The point between short hair and long was soooo wretched and awful and Mullet-esque that I felt greatly compelled not to do anything so foolish as cutting it again!
This caused some problems socially, as I considered myself neither a hippie (my parents were hippies and a girl’s got to rebel somehow!) or a metal-head. The two main long hair social sets. I thought of myself as more of a punk. I preferred the Dead Kennedys and The Sex Pistols to The Greatful Dead or Def Leppard!!!
I was also fascinated by mod/traditional skinhead culture and style. I was friends with a number of what I thought of as Garden Variety Skins. Not the Neo-Nazi type mind you. The ones I knew hated them for giving skinsheads a bad rep. They weren’t necessarily rascist so much as angry and alienated.
Still, I certainly wasn’t going to cut my hair, so for a while when anyone asked I told them I was “A Skippy”. A skin-hippie. I dressed like a skin, but I had long hair and I have never been very angry or violent. It did help keep all the short kids with a chip on their shoulder from picking on me though.
I also discovered that girls often liked me because of my hair and were not shy about saying so. Let’s face it, I was a shy Doctor Who fan who liked to get all dressed up like a girl when I was at home alone. I was going to take every compliment I could get.
Still, my realization of the fact that girls liked my hair gave me good reason to resist all urges to cut it. Even to get that big Roostertail Mohawk I have always wanted!
After I got off Cape and moved to Northampton (the first time), my friends quickly began to notice that anytime I was hitting on a cute girl, I would take my hair down. I usually kept it in a ponytail. I often still do.
I would be talking to a girl and eventually, my hair would come cascading down, long, dark blonde and naturally wavy. And surprisingly, it usually worked!!! I was absolutely incorrigible. There’s more shameless tactics I used in my adventures trying to meet cute women, but that’s for another time. Allow me to stay hair-focused here.
Eventually I moved to Boston and my hair stayed with me. I became a club kid, and a Goth. Concurrently. Trust me it’s a much harder balance than you would think.
And I discovered Manic Panic!!! My long hair entered it’s multi-coloured phase. It was streaked purple and red and green. All done at home. Usually by girlfriends or drunk friends or even drunk girlfriends!!!
I got my hair trimmed every so often. Every six months to a year usually. And it was never more than getting rid of the dead ends.
Then, after my hair and I went traveling around Europe for a piece, I came back to Boston to a seriously unstable girlfriend a fair bit of apathy about my life there and decided it was time for a change. Time to go, go, go!!!
So I moved to Chicago! The windy city!! And like I said it was time for a change. I went and I found a reputable hairdresser and I said, “I want to cut it off.” At the time of course that had a different connotation than it does when I tell people that same thing nowadays.
I cringed as I heard the scissors near my head. I practically got my ears lopped off from flinching at the sound. I got my first “guy haircut” in a little more than a decade.
I usually kept it in what I thought of as the “Superman Style”, short but slightly wavy on top. This generally rapidly progressed to what I referred to as the “Mad Scientist” style.
My hair has always been very fast growing and thick. Despite my new attempts at “being a man”, I never got any better about how often I visited the hairdresser’s. I tried to do it every six months at least, but that meant I often ended up with big, unruly hair. Styling it for me usually consisted of running a strong brush through it and hoping for the best. I begged, I pleaded, but more often than not, my hair simply did as it pleased.
I kept my hair short for some years after that. Through Chicago and a Marriage and all the craziness afterwards leading to my move to LA.
I was desperate that if I kept my hair short, I could pull off this whole being a man thing. Like I said. It didn’t work. And when I did decide to transition I immediately began growing it out, or more specifically, simply not cutting it. For a fairly frightening minute or two, I looked a little like Kenny G on a bender.
Still, even when my hair was long and girly again, something was never quite right. For all my bluster, I am as insecure about my appearance as any transwoman. Any Woman for that matter!!! My hair was the same basic style it had always been and so I always looked just a little like “Mac” to me. No matter how girly I am becoming.
I had been putting off getting my hair done for the longest time. Finding all kinds of excuses not to do it. Finally though, I had a big show coming up. I’m hosting Northampton Gay Pride!!!! Kind of a milestone really. An out and proud TransWoman hosting Pride!!!
I was going to have to look my absolute best!! It was time to get my hair done. But where?!!? I agonized. My very patient friends listened to me agonize. At last, my friend Annie took matters into her own hands and arranged for me to meet with Debbie Droy, “The Foil Queen Of Main Street”!!! Debbie is the owner of The Underground Day Spa on Main Street in Northampton. And she is FABULOUS!!!!!!!!
I walked into the Main Street store front with the London Underground inspired sign and down a flight of stairs, it is indeed underground, and came out in a very light and airy and pleasant feeling salon. It is actually only kind of underground, the widows open up on a nice bright and sunny back entrance.
Debbie asked me what I had in mind. I should mention here that I know I am a nightmare type of hairdressing customer. I haven’t been living as a girl very long and I don’t speak “hairdresser’s” at all. I think I kind of stammered something like, “Kind of a trim maybe and some kind of coloring maybe kinda-sorta-thing.”
But Debbie patiently asked me all the right questions and had a great manner. Very friendly and professional and sure. She was fast, but she never rushed. She washed my hair and trimmed it so it regained all of it’s natural bounce and curl. Then she put in the bleach for the blonde streaks I wanted and worked with my idea to do something fun without going too extreme. I have a tendency towards doing extreme things.
She put the foils in my hair and talked with me pleasantly about all kinds of things and then I got to sit in the steamer for the first time!!!! Debbie gave me the latest copy of glamour to read (at my request) and I felt so damned girly!!!!!! It was great!!
I remember watching women in those steamer/dryer things at the salon as a child with my Mother and it seemed like such a special club! And I wanted so badly to join!!
Here I was at last. In the girl’s club at the salon, getting my hair done.
When Debbie took the foils off, I saw a brand new Lorelei emerging. She had given me these wonderful looking blonde streaks and my hair looked so good! She blow-dryed my hair so we could get a good look and it looked fantastic! There was less “Mac” looking back at me from the mirror. I felt new.
I thanked Debbie, who assured me if there was anything I was unhappy with I should come back and she would tweak it for me (my language here, a little tech-y, I know).
There was absolutely nothing wrong with my hair though. In fact I couldn’t be happier!!
I thanked Debbie and asked for propaganda so I could tell my friends! Then I walked out into downtown Northampton. No makeup. Sweating with the 98 degree heat. And I felt Beautiful. OMG!!! I felt so confident and happy! Like I could do anything. Simply because I had a Great New ‘Do!!
I even got hit on in the street by a pretty young black man! Very pretty. Yum.
I never had any idea how marvelous it is to get your hair done! I could never quite understand why all the women I knew were always doing it. I mean sure, I understood the desire to be well presented and to want to look pretty. But I had no idea simply how good it feels!!!
So thanks Debbie Droy for my first real sexy hairdo!! Thanks Underground Day Spa!!!
I highly recommend giving them a visit. It’s well worth it. They were more than trans-friendly. They were trans-relaxed. And they have a whole range of Spa services. Massage, a steam room, facial treatments, waxing and of course Great Hair styling!!!
I’ll be going back to try them all!
Underground Day Spa
151 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060