It’s rather astounding, how powerful a woman’s hair is. Before officially starting her real life test, the Bit-ler went to work with her B cup breasts and her somewhat androgynous women’s clothing. She was never clocked as female or even gender fluid. She was male, full stop.
More than any other transition accoutrement, she needed hair.
Some trans women have their own luxurious locks; others get by with a bit of judicious styling. The divide on the Bit-ler’s scalp could only be breached by the wigs she had, none of which fully satisfied her, all of which precluded being physically active. The Bit-ler reconciled herself to a demure life.
I, on the other hand, did not think beauty was a good swap for giving up my partner in crime, so I researched the whole thing and found out about hair systems that allow you to do sports and take showers and yes, even wear hats!
At this stage, I’m an enthusiastic, supportive hag.
And so off to Edinburgh the Bit-ler goes to get a hirsute-ish pate. I’m left in the new house with the fencing guys who’ve promised they can erect a barricade that’ll keep the Doodle in our garden. A Doodle, I should add, who has already learned how to open the childproof door locks and escape the house. Repeatedly. With a big ol’ grin on her doggie face.
The fence guys themselves were civil enough. The neighbours were a different matter. We’d left the land of UKIP-pery and Mad Farmers to join the Uppity Nouveaux Riche too busy espousing capitalism to weed their rose beds. New neighbours sensitive about property boundaries. A sensitivity that extends into our garden, apparently.
By Day 2 of making bacon butties for the fencers and failed diplomacy with the neighbours – tasks previously the sole responsibility of the Bit-ler, as legislated by law and gender inequity – I’d redefined her trip north for hair as a luxury spa holiday that left me holding the can, an unappreciated Cinderella SOFFA.
Despite my self-pity, the fence got raised, no neighbours murdered in the process. The Bit-ler came home looking the happiest I’d ever seen her. It’d all been worth it.
Until the next day. The Doodle’s early morning escape from our newly fenced garden required a run to the DIY shop. Only, the Bit-ler had to get ready so she would pass. Therein followed a long, drawn out prep that included visual demonstrations from myself. Amazing, how complicated brushing your hair in a mirror really is. Something second nature to little girls but that takes a while to master if your first attempt is as an adult.
The next three days, Doodle found new escape routes, so three more trips to the DIY. Three more preps by the Bit-ler while I twiddled my thumbs. On that last trip, I was having trouble with the Sat-Nav. The Bit-ler looked over just as we came into a curve. The car drifted toward the centre line and she pulled it back before we crossed it. I lost the plot.
For me, losing the plot isn’t telling her she’s a feckin eejit who should keep her goddam eyes on the road. Nope, losing the plot is taking a sample box from psychiatry’s diagnostic manual and giving her an assessment at 120 decibels. A little knowledge with a lot of sharp edges.
She says nothing. In her mind, she has to put up with an outburst like that because she considers me long suffering.
‘I wondered when I’d start shouting at you,’ I said. A declaration of how long suffering I think I am.
I eventually apologised like the alleged adult that I am. The Bit-ler eventually agreed she didn’t have to take shit off me because I’m supportive. But the first shot had been fired in what probably won’t end at a 21 gun salute to our old way of living. Everything’s changed, from how long it takes to get ready to go, to what people perceive of our relationship.
And all because of her hair.