When I came home from the beauty parlor, after my first pixie cut, my father said to me “You look just like Barbra Streisand!” He meant it as a compliment. I broke into a tantrum. I did not want to look like Barbra Streisand. I wanted to look like Paul McCartney.
The pixie cut was meant to “fix” the haircut that I gave myself with ordinary scissors. I wanted a “Beatle mop cut” but mostly I wanted to cut off my hair. I was still hoping that a hair cut could turn me into a boy.
My father adored me. My father adored Streisand. She was a poor, big nosed, Jewish girl from Brooklyn who made it big. She was a star.
I didn’t want to be a star. I didn’t want a girl’s nick-name. I didn’t like girlish diminutives or terms of endearment. I especially hated when my Grandmother called me Ameleh or Feygele; the former the Yiddishification of my birth name, the latter Yiddish for little bird. Years before I changed my name I forbid anyone to call me Ameleh or Feygele. I cringed at the sound. I didn’t want any part of being either.
I didn’t see the movie Yentl (the 1983 musical, which Streisand produced, directed, re-wrote, and starred in). I remember seeing the trailers and thinking that Barbra Streisand looked way too much like Barbra Streisand. She didn’t look like a yeshiva boy to me. Her hair was still in a kind of pixie cut. Continue reading