I didn’t even think it would become a problem for me at first. Now that I look back, it was a sign.
I had a brand new haircut which was shorter than all my previous haircuts. The hairstylist made sure it still had traces of ‘femininity’, but I never told them to make it ‘feminine’. There was even a time when they refused to make my hair too short. They claimed it would affect their reputation.
Anyway, I walked into the toilets at the mall. Seconds after I pushed the door, I heard giggles in the distance. Then, a child approached me. He said: “Excuse me, that’s the girl’s toilet.”
I didn’t think I heard him clearly, so I said: “Sorry?”
His expression changed. Perhaps he wasn’t expecting to hear the voice of a female. Did he blush? I wasn’t sure. I think he said “oh” quietly before scuffling off. The continued laughter was noticeably intensified, despite how the people sounded as if they were trying to suppress it.
I don’t know why this incident was so memorable to me. Maybe I found it funny at the time; maybe I didn’t.
The next series of incidents occurred at UNSW after I got an even shorter haircut without my relatives’ permission: A shave.