Tag Archives: Justin Bieber

Lessons and Failures from a Haircut

Below is a post from guest blogger Robson Govine about his experience getting a haircut and having to find a new hairdresser after moving away from his hometown.

“So what are we doing today?  The usual?”   I sat down in the chair and looked at Kristen, my hairdresser, through the mirror.

Who didn't think about getting "The Shane" at one point?

“Actually, no, I thought we’d try something different,” I said, somewhat fearful, as I handed her a picture of the new haircut I had been inching towards for years.  It was stereotypical – beyond that even – the epitome of gay.  Shane, from the L Word, Season Two (I know, I’m judging me too).  “I was thinking this only less strung-out-coke-head-chopped-my-hair-with-a-weed-whacker look.”

“This is different, I think I can manage.” Kristen went to work on chopping off about six inches of hair.  She tweaked the cut, of course, making it my own, and every visit it seemed to get shorter and shorter till we had it down to an unspoken science for the next four years.

One of the first "let's go shorter" cuts.

Kristen had made the task of getting a hair cut easy.  I didn’t have to worry about walking into a barber shop surrounded by men, or going to a random shop with a different person each time trying to explain how to cut my hair. I never thought that getting my haircut would be difficult – until three weeks ago when I moved away from my hometown and relocated to Boston.

My hair was shaggy and I was dying for a clean, fresh, cut – but where to go? I had already clogged the sink of my friend’s bathroom when I stubbornly decided I was just going to trim it myself.  “You’re screwing it up!  Don’t cut your hair in my bathroom, Robbie!  Just wait and go to my friend!  The back isn’t even!”

She wasn’t wrong.  I snipped more generously in some areas as opposed to others and for the next week sported a spotty trim. My roommate had suggested Supercuts because it was cheap. I was tight on cash, I figured it would be fine, it’s just hair right?

After walking in the wrong direction down Mass Ave. for five minutes, I walked into Supercuts, somewhat sweaty, in a pair of baggy shorts and a t-shirt, looking like a twelve year-old boy who had just tried chasing down an ice cream truck and miserably failed.

I checked in, having to use my first name (which sounds like I should have my own line of Southern bake goods) because I had to use a card to pay.  Evaluating my surroundings, I pinpointed the hairdresser with purple hair and decided she should be the one to cut my hair.  Unfortunately, right as I decided this, another woman walked up to the counter and called my name.

She introduced herself as I sat down in the chair.  “So how would you like it cut?”

“So, usually, I have the back taken in, along with the sides, but leave the top a little long.  No layering.  And the bangs just trimmed up, not too short, and chipped into so they’re shaggy and not straight across.”

She seemed confused.  I didn’t blame her.  I just gave her instructions that were as simple as a Rubik’s Cube with some of the colors missing.  “So do you use clippers for the back and sides?”

“Just on the back.”  Kristen had always used scissors for the sides.

“Do you know what number on the clippers?”

“Um…” crap, “no, sorry.”

Lesson number one: clippers have numbers.
Fail number one: I didn’t know clippers had numbers.

Not-Kristen took the clippers and started at a modest number saying we could go shorter if needed.  She began to clip the back, clearly the easy part, since it took her no longer than a minute.   Next she took a spray bottle, wetted down the rest of my hair and began to comb it.  And comb it.  And comb it.  I realized she had no idea what to do.  Any other person would have offered some direction, but I had no direction to give her.  I tried to think about possible terms someone like me could use that she, too, would understand.  Think Ellen meets Justin Beiber?  No, that would confuse her; I don’t think she would have understood what a forty old lesbian would have in common with a fifteen year-old pop singer.  Dani Cambell?  Who?  Gender-queer without the hipster?  Gender-what?   I realized there were no terms that could easily overlap.

Lesson number two: Language and communication is important.
Fail number two: I’m an English major. (I should be good at this, right?)

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For the love of Hanson

Semi related to this blog, here’s a podcast that I was on a few weeks ago. (I come in at 49:30.) In it, I talk about my love of Hanson while at the same time being queer. For anyone looking for some nice ear candy to make your commute a little more tolerable, or anyone that loves commentary on pop culture and hilariously mundane things, I highly suggest Too Beautiful to Live. Affectionately referred to as TBTL and hosted by Luke Burbank.

Me with Taylor (left) and Zac (right) Hanson, when they visited my college in 2006 and I got to interview them on the radio. Isaac was down the hall and missed my photo op.

I fell in love with Luke on his stint of the short lived NPR show The Bryant Park Project. TBTL has a segment called Call Makers, where Luke calls up listeners who have topics they’d like to discuss with him. I called to gush about my ridiculous love of Hanson and the hots I have for Zac Hanson, specifically. I also dragged my girlfriend into it and her love of Justin Bieber (which, to be honest, she’s not as in love with him as I like to tell people. But she does appreciate anyone of the younger male persuasion who can pass as a lesbian. Can you hear me Zac Efron?)

Here’s the amazing video of the song I was talking about – “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin'”. Definitely worth watching. It was made in honor of the Blues Brothers movie and their love for oldies music.

Hanson, actually, made it hard for me to come out. You can ask those who were close to me in my 12-14 aged years; I was boy crazy. I thought about boys, 24-7. So when I started dating a girl at 15, it threw everyone off. I mean, for god’s sake, my room was literally covered – walls and ceiling, with pictures of Hanson and other boys. So, I don’t blame anyone who may not have believed me at the time or thought it was a phase. And here’s the thing, before I started dating my first girlfriend, I had no idea that I was attracted to girls. But I believe sexuality is a fluid thing that can evolve over time, and some studies show that to be true for many other women. I can dig those up sometime so we can all analyze them together.

And Hanson still makes me feel like a 12 year old girl drunk off of hormones from puberty sometimes. And that’s okay with me. It’s also part of the reason why I identify with the label of queer. It leaves room for things like that.

Hanson’s new album, Shout It Out, comes out on June 8th – TODAY. Don’t lie. You loved MmmBop in 1997.