Less of a Man

Alexander (Sascz) Herrmann
Published in
3 min readAug 7, 2020
Photo by Shane on Unsplash

Today I realized that my hair is almost long enough to ponytail again.

I cut my long tuft of hair off soon after I started my job. Up until then, I’d worn it shaved on the sides and back (which I still do), but in a long tuft on top, which I often scrunchied into a bun. Yup, that’s me, wearer of man-buns. But because everyone was misgendering me (as a woman), I cut the tuft (which was chin-length at the time) completely off, so there was just a little short bit on top. I thought I’d look more “manly”, I guess. Silly me.

I don’t know what people see when they look at me. I think I’ve always had a fairly androgynous face. What I see when I look at myself in the mirror, at least from the neck up, is a femmy guy, which is exactly right for me. But apparently other people still see a middle aged woman, one who perhaps has an unfortunate facial hair problem if they look really closely. When I actually identified as a woman, I did NOT have a facial hair “problem”, but of course, most people don’t know or care about that. So cutting my hair didn’t solve any of that for me.

Up until the time I came out as trans, I increasingly performed femininity. I figured it’s what I was, so I became more and more “inyerface” about the fact that I was a woman, almost always wearing dresses and using a lot of makeup. I became almost a caricature of a woman with my shoes and my clothes and my eyeliner and my hair. I even began buying wigs, because my hair was never going to be long and luxurious Real Goddess hair. I was basically a drag queen in a cis woman’s body.

And then, one day, I realized that I was, in fact, performing something that I was not and never had been.

I still liked dresses, shoes, makeup, and wigs, don’t get me wrong. But applying all those accessories did not make me a woman. I came out as trans. I bought a bunch of boxer briefs, some binders, and a wardrobe of men’s clothing. I couldn’t buy men’s shoes because my feet are so tiny, but I bought the manliest looking women’s shoes that I could get my hands on. I changed my name and the gender marker on my ID. I went all out MANZ.

Except…that’s not really me either. I was performing masculinity as much as I had been performing femininity, and to less effect, because to many people, I just don’t look like a man, no matter how hard I try, and I’m trying much harder than I want to.

Oh, the name and gender marker change aren’t something I regret. I have the name I always wanted to have, and I have the right to insist on using the men’s room and other “man stuff”, even if someone insists on checking my papers (which in some places they do). I love the man clothes and I think I look pretty awesome in them. But my hair…

Is almost long enough to ponytail again, a cute little manbun on top of my head. And I’m going to wear whatever I want, whenever I want to, because gender is in fact performative, and I’m nonbinary.



Alexander (Sascz) Herrmann

I’m a disabled transmasculine cybersecurity specialist living in Berkshire County, MA, USA. I like to write, sing, do fiber art, and play video games.