Living his best ponytail life

One from the “stupid shit” file – the deep personal importance of The Pony Tail to a trans laydee.

It starts with a photo of an actual pony tail on the head of an actual woman, I guess so that we’ll know what “Charlotte” Clymer is talking about.

When I was in kindergarten—and very much in the closet as transgender—I had begun to crave a ponytail like the ones I saw on many of the girls in my class.

Five-year-old children are not “in the closet.”

I’m well aware that for many girls and women, the ponytail is a “bare minimum” style, often for lazy days, but the girls I saw in my class emulated the women I saw on television who were strong, confident, and successful.

Wut? Five-year-old girls emulated women who were strong, confident, and successful? No they didn’t, any more than little Clymer was deep in the closet. Those are adult terms. Also, the women little Clymer saw on television were strong, confident, and successful? What universe is that? We don’t get to see many strong, confident, and successful women on television now and I don’t recall more of them 25 years ago. The ones we do see tend to be on cable news and the like, which I doubt little Clymer was watching. His own story about himself sounds like complete bullshit, so how good can his understanding of women and sex and sex roles and stereotypes be?

Even at six, I knew better. I was raised in deeply conservative Texas, in a world with firmly cemented gender roles. I was a boy and I had better keep to “boy things.” The bouncy ponytail of my dreams? Not a boy thing.

Yes but here’s another aspect of that bouncy ponytail: it’s not enough to shape your life around.

But it seems Clymer is just too dim to grasp that fact.

In 1999, when I was 12, the U.S. Women’s National Team won their second World Cup, and Mia Hamm became a personal icon. For weeks I dreamed of what it would be like to have the freedom to sport a ponytail like Hamm’s. By then I was fully aware of a desire within me to be a girl, but I kept it buried in the back of my brain, suppressed whenever possible. Still, it sometimes crept up, summoned by the most mundane signifiers of femaleness. Mia Hamm was confident and beautiful and successful, and although I had no sense of what womanhood meant to me, I couldn’t help but feel that her hair represented all the things I was missing. I wanted an authentic life. I wanted to feel confident. I wanted a ponytail.

Confirmed. He has no clue. He confuses the trivia of personal grooming for “an authentic life.” Dude, a ponytail does not an authentic life make.

Then we get his journey, his struggles, his therapy, his coming out. Then we return to his hair. It was short. It took a long time to grow out. He kept fiddling with it, wishing it would hurry up.

I hadn’t tried putting my hair up in months when one evening in late July, I absentmindedly grabbed a hair tie off my shelf and made a go of it. After some awkward handling and smoothing of rogue strands, I adjusted the band high on the back of my head and turned toward the mirror. I don’t know how to adequately articulate the combination of happiness and relief I felt in that moment. It’s just hair, I thought. But then I glimpsed the waves, how the strands bundled together so beautifully. I couldn’t help it. I got emotional.

Maybe he couldn’t help getting emotional, but I tell you what he could help, and that’s writing about it in Glamour.

Imagine a white guy writing this kind of shit about getting corn rows. Nobody would publish it and if he did a blog post about it anyone who read it would heap scorn on him. But burbling about his journey to Womanhood and A Ponytail? Oh that’s brave and stunning and gets space in Glamour.

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