Why I Decided to Cut My Curly Hair Short… Again


Emelie Burnette

When I came out to my dad in a Chili’s parking lot in 2011 (we all make choices), he asked, simply and sincerely, if I’d be cutting my hair short and wearing more cutoff jeans. It was sweet, really—he’s a man of few words and definitely not fluent in gender identity—so with a hefty weight off my hard-femme-leaning shoulders, I confidently told him no. Maybe six months later, I got a pixie cut and my first denim jacket. It wasn’t meant to be a statement, I swear.

While I wouldn’t say I regret it—my new life in San Francisco was a vibe, and hey, I still wear that jacket!—something about the hair felt not quite right, almost juvenile. Chalk it up to gayby insecurities, but I also really didn’t love that on my wedding day a couple years later, my hair looked eerily reminiscent of some preschool-era family portraits. But, you know, it was pretty easy to take care of and, ultimately, how I started a real relationship with my curls. In honor of that love story, of sorts, I’ve been growing out my hair ever since. It’s been almost eight years.