Femme Friday: Angela, from “Cannon Street” by Lee Lynch

I love this short story! It reminds me of how important it is for children to see adult queers, and how powerful intergenerational connection can be. In this sweet story, a tomboy takes charge of her own haircut. Despite her mother’s instruction to go to the beauty parlor, Ericka opts instead for a newly opened establishment, the Snip’N’Shape. Angela, the femme beautician, gently allows her nervous, 9th grade customer the space and time to tell her what kind of haircut she wants, and it isn’t some frou-frou pixie nonsense, either.

Deep gratitude to Lee Lynch for loving Angela onto the page!

The sign in the window that said NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY was still there. She pushed the door open, eyes to the worn maroon linoleum floor. The shop smelled just as bad as the Elegante. Dark nylons and white shoes appeared in front of her. She looked up. The beautician, just her height, wore a tight white uniform and held out her arms, hands open, as if Ericka were a long lost friend.

            “Hi, honey. Here for a cut?”

            Ericka felt her breath stop. The woman’s long, narrow eyes were dark as semisweet chocolate and welcoming under angular eyebrows. Her nose was sharply yet elegantly curved, her dusky-brown hair so waved it looked ruffled. her broad, keenly-etched lips smiled, dressed up in a grapey lipstick. Ericka looked quickly away when she noticed that behind the hairdresser a row of three ladies under silver space-helmet driers stared past magazines at them, cigarettes between index and middle fingers. Another beautician, this one very tall, bent over a sink and scrubbed an old woman’s white hair. Ericka saw no sign of the whistling woman who washed windows like a proud shop owner.

            The small beautician was never still. She swung a stiff transparent cape over her as soon as Ericka was seated, then sprayed her head wet with an excess of movement that made a performance of her attentions. “Like this again?” she asked, holding up a hank of overgrown pixie hair. She smelled of a kind of flowery powder that Ericka’s mother patted on with an oversized puff. Did she cut the whistling window washer’s hair? Ericka’s insides quivered.

            She got chills as the beautician, warm-fingered, refastened the cape at the nape of her neck. Her heart worked like a bongo drum as she answered, “No.”

                                                            –“Cannon Street” from Cactus Love by Lee Lynch


Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. Suggestions welcome!