Denise Day Spencer

August 10, 2009

Coiffure confusion

Filed under: Random ramblings — denisedayspencer @ 6:43 pm

I got my hair cut a couple of days ago, shorter than I’ve had it for a while. My beautician did a great job. And this cut is perfect to keep me cool on muggy August days.

So yesterday I felt compelled to wear a pair of big earrings to church–the biggest pair I own, in fact. You see, when I get my hair cut this short I feel the need to compensate with accessories so strangers will know I’m a woman. No, that’s not a frequent problem. But there was this one time…

I was in my mid-twenties and was working in rehab. I was really slender (probably too slender, looking back on it now) and had very short hair. One of my patients was an elderly gentleman who was a fine fellow. He just happened to think I was a guy. “Boy!” he’d call out to me. “When’s supper?” I would tell him that I was a woman and that my name was “Denise.” The next time he needed something it would be, “Young fella, I’d like to go back to my room now.” No amount of claiming to be female could convince him.

So I decided to part with my usual slacks and wear a skirt one day. Surely that would show the good gent my real identity. I could hardly wait to get to work; I wanted to see recognition of the truth dawn in his expression. There he was in his wheelchair in the dining hall. “Hello, Mr. So-And-So!” I greeted him. We chatted for a moment. He looked up at me and smiled. “You’re a good boy,” he said.

From that point on, I just rolled with it. If I had to be a boy, at least I was a good one.

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