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Androgyny – The Constant Confusion

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My partner is possibly the most androgynous person I know. She thinks she’s a boy most of the time (except when the bins need taking out) and she constantly battles with modern day lesbian traumas like insisting on wearing clothes only made for boys, even when her little size 6 feet don’t quite fill the standard men’s size. She wears men’s boxer shorts (apparently they make her feel “free”) – don’t get me wrong, she has no desire whatsoever to become a man, nor does she strap her boobs down and draw on a moustache.

I always feel a bit bewildered when she goes into salons brandishing screen grabs of Esquire magazine as ideas she still gets charged for a women’s cut. I wonder if long haired guys (like David Guetta for example) get charged for a ladies’ cut? After all “lesbian haircuts” (in Manchester that’s actually the collective term for a combination of shaved and long bits favoured by stereotypical gay girls) are basically a gents cut – on a girl. If it takes the same time as a guy why should lesbians get penalised for not needing a curly blow? The blow dry part of my cut takes at least 15 mins – hence the extra I would expect to pay.

The solution for us is to send her off to a Barbers’. She gets to sit with other guys and get an excellent cut for under a tenner. Winner. Having reproached this subject further with another androgynous friend we discovered that inner city gays tend to go anywhere no problem. It’s in the suburbs that the confusion begins. So do you go to your local hair salon which is predominantly female clientele but you get funny looks and awkward stares, or do you go to your local barbers where you will get the cut you want but have the chance of being turned away because you are a girl?

I was amazed to also discover other difficulties androgynous girls encounter – girls telling her she’s in the wrong toilet, late night petrol station visits for fags resulting in the attendant refusing to serve her as her card said “miss”! Now might be a good place to add she has a whopping DD cup boobs…

Then we have clothes. Try and find a men’s suit jacket that fits in a healthy bust. Non-existent. Surely someone has caught onto the fact that a load of professional lesbians may just want to wear a suit that doesn’t come with girly trousers? And Topman must realise that most Saturday afternoons their clientele is half man/half lesbian. Huge gap in the market here. But would they buy it if it wasn’t predominately made for guys? Maybe that’s the whole point. How many of you have been refused entry to the male changing rooms? Apparently Primark isn’t worth even trying as the attendants just assume you are male and it is way too embarrassing to argue the case.

Being in public with my GF still shocks me at times. In the (gay) Village, my GF has gay guys mistake her for one of their own; in shopping centres men follow her into toilets thinking she is heading for the gents. On holiday recently a restaurant owner shouted “bring your boyfriend for a drink”. I was livid. Luckily my GF was not at all bothered as she chooses to dress and look like that. She doesn’t actually care.

I suppose we all conform to what we think we should be rather than what we naturally are. My late, and very wise Granny used to tell me to say in the mirror, “I’m glad I’m me”. And I think she is right J

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Author
Sam has had an illustrious career managing Harvey Nichols’ Urban Retreat, working on X Factor, as well as working with the beauty industries leading mentors and brands. She is published journalist, and has featured on local and national TV and Radio, in the UK Based in the Manchester, Sam currently runs her own beauty consultancy business; providing in-depth business advice, guidance, and training to other beauty professional and salons around the UK.

2 Comments

  • Frankie says:

    A really interesting article – i can actually identify massively with your gf. I like to wear boys clothes despite my figure really not being that boyish, and have trouble at times finding suits that fit right. I really wanna get my hair cut like a guy’s but am in the same dilemma about where to go. Several times I’ve been told in stores ” we do have ladies wear downstairs” or whatever, or “is this a gift?” when buying a men’s shirt. I am very much a woman but just don’t want to look like the society’s idea of one!

  • Michelle says:

    In advance, I wanted to say contra Frankie is that I don’t go in to get a “boy’s” hair cut, I go in to get “my” hair cut: short back and sides. But if I go to a hairdresser, I get charged as pertaining to my sex: a female. I was told that this was because women need more conversation, not a blow wave. I prefer your theory.

    But to my main reason for commenting. Your description of clothes comes from ignorance I suspect. I, as a butchish person but more androgynous, choose men’s clothes over woman’s because they fit better: they are baggy. We choose men’s clothes for the freedom of movement they allow. We choose men’s clothes because women’s clothes limit in some way. For example, I choose natural Fibre for my clothes and mostly I find natural Fibre is used more in men’s clothing. Another reason, not only are women’s clothes made out of synthetics, they are tight and, as with must synthetics, they don’t give so restrict your movements.

    Another point I wanna make is i think you confuse butch with androgynous. With butch, one tends to look more masculine. However, with androgynous one can’t tell if one is male or female because they look like both so feminine as well as masculine. I think you need to correct this because you have platform, you have audience, and presently you are misrepresentating. An androgynous person may be questioned by some presumptive arsehole but only if they were expressing the other gender. I think you are confused because you ID your girlfriend as female not male so why is she going against the norm and trying to use a men’s toilet in a space where it is unusual to do so?

    Also, ought we conform or be naturally who we are, is a question you ask. There is nothing natural about who we are: every bit of our personality is informed by our environment from the moment of conception we adjust and adapt, learn and incorporate into our being, which is all what we humans are: Human being.

    Other than that mostly I enjoy the articles on this website even if i disagree with some of them.

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