I decided to have a radical haircut and beard trim.
I put it down to the heat of Toronto (and needing some ‘air’ on my face and head), but the truth is I just didn’t want to look like a hipster daddy while staying in a part of Toronto where hipster daddies abound.
I find the homosocial way in which they nakedly stare with admiration at my choice of floral shorts, ironic tee-shirts and silver-fox facial hair (with no physical intentions to follow through) has provoked an existential crisis. One even came up to me to compliment me on my ‘Monte Carlo’ style and how it would ‘lay the ladies’.
My new mustache, stubble and haircut is much more gay.
I had my hair cut by a gorgeous baby dyke barber from Vietnam who has lived in Toronto since she was a little girl. The barbers was off Church St, the old traditional gay area, but she talked about going to Montreal Pride because “there you find the real Pride.” There was no sense that she had a problem with Toronto; she was a great ambassador for the city, recommending things to do outside of the usual Pride schedule “to get a feel of the real Toronto.”
Having given me a great haircut (she was a really talented barber) the last thing we talked about was how she wanted to go back to school to “study something like law because that was a real profession.”
Gender panic, sexual panic, moral panic – I’d say the greatest panic for most gender and sexually diverse folks is the panic over how ‘real’, how ‘authentic’ we appear. It can police our lives in such subtle ways that, faced with groups of affluent white men coming out of coffee shops looking like me – I did something I haven’t done in years. I wanted to look really gay.