Earlier this month I watched Lèon The Professional (1994), a movie staring Natalie Portman. My attention was more directed at Natalie Portman than the plot, as I found her irresistibly beautiful. She had a very short hair in the movie. I watched the movie twice in less than six hour and that night, her beauty kept me thinking, particularly her hair.
Three days later I decided to cut my hair exactly like Natalie Portman in that movie. I went to a salon, the best one in town and told the hairdresser that I wanted to cut my hair short. She asked me if I really wanted to that short and I nodded, so she proceeded.
When the hairdresser finished my hair, I looked at my reflection in the mirror and I was really happy. My hair was even shorter than Natalie Portman in that movie. I never had it that short before, and that day I had no regret.
Later the hairdresser asked her assistant to blow dry my hair. She blow-dried my hair, as I kept staring at the mirror, unable to take my eyes off myself. And then she asked me if I was a lesbian.
I was speechless. The question was too intrusive to be asked, and it was offensive. I gave her a cold stare.
“Most lesbians cut their hair short,” she said.
“What makes you so sure I’m a lesbian?” I asked her.
She smiled and said that my hair is even shorter than any lesbian who had ever come to the salon. I stayed quiet, thinking of how stupid the stereotype was.
After I was done and as I was leaving the salon, she waited for me at the door to open it. As I stepped outside, however, she asked, “How long have you been a lesbian?”
I replied curtly: “Since your boss cut my hair.”
To be clear, it was not the fact that I was thought as a lesbian that offended me, it was the casual stereotyping that irritated me.
I went home and there was my sister and my mother. They were surprised to see my new hair.
“Hey, you look like a lesbian!” My sister remarked. She and my mother laughed at me, thinking that the lesbian hair was the most hilarios joke ever made.
Here’s what I want you to know, if you ever made offensive jokes or stereotypical remarks about lesbians and short hair: I am proud of my hair. And if cutting my hair this short makes me a lesbian, then I am one proud lesbian.
Bella Meilani, 19, had been writing behind anonymous blogs, but this time she decided to take her mask off.
Illustration by Ramona.Forcella