In Grade 7, my first year in the dorm, my “dorm parent” smelled me wearing cologne on my way to Sunday morning service. He told me I smelled like a girl. He told me Christian men didn’t wear perfume. Farewell English Leather.
In Grade 8 all of the boys—on both floors—about 40 of us, are obliged to attend a course on “Christian Grooming.” The dorm parents are concerned at the sudden prevalence of centre-parted, feathered hair on the boys in their care. We are given a textbook: it uses biblical verses to explain why parting your hair in the middle is un-Christian. God does not call men to look like women. We begin to side-part our hair.
In Grade 11, my first year back in Quito after a year in Regina, I tried out for the high school basketball team. I had a long, Golden Age Bono, mullet. It was beautifully side-parted, according to the most stringent theological standard. I made it through the first day of try outs. And the second. On my way home, the coach—who was also the Dean, the same man who would personally expel me in one year’s time—told me I was on the bubble. He told me that if I'd cut my hair I’d improve my chances enormously. I went to the dorm, found one of my dorm “sisters” who had the right scissors, and got it all cut off. I went back the third and final day and got cut from the team.
In my second year of my continuing professorship, I was taken aside by a colleague and told that teaching in a short-sleeve t-shirt was “problematic.” I was displaying excessive “male sexuality.”
In my sixth year at the college, having duly taken on board the previous critique, I was scolded most severely by another colleague for wearing tweed blazers in the classroom. This made my phony, a fake and also a snake for trying to hide my “true nature.”
Whenever people try and tell you what to do with your own body and the way you choose to present it to the world, you are not, I repeat not, in a good place.
"You cut your hair, and now you look like a little boy." Speaking of headlining bands, Alvvays at The Commodore, was the best show I've seen in a decade, and one of the best of all time. That band means business. They were so on top of their game.