Getting a haircut can be a vulnerable experience for anyone who is gender non-conforming. Our hair, after all, is a big part of our style. Clothing, shoes, and accessories complement who we are and how we want to express ourselves in the world, but our hair somehow plays a pivotal role in our sense of self-confidence. The whole hairstyle experience matters a lot when looking in the mirror, not just to see a good cut but also to see our true self.
Hair studios are still divided into hairdressers for women and barbers for men. What is someone who identifies as non-binary or genderqueer to do? Over the past few years, I have been searching for a hairstyle and a haircut experience to match my outside with my inside. I have had so many misses and total disasters that I stayed away from any haircut for months this winter. I was dreading my next cut.
Then I discovered Nikole Texidor, known in the Cowichan Valley as "The Curly Barber." Nikole is originally from Montreal but lives on Vancouver Island now. She says she has several clients who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. "I welcome anyone and everyone who wants shorter haircuts no matter what their pronouns are." Nikole is genuinely caring and has a talent for style.
When I sat in the chair in the little barbershop in downtown Chemainus, I was immediately charmed by the quirky old-school shop. Nikole was the only barber working on a Monday evening, so it was just her and me. That was a definite bonus for me. I decided to risk it and tell her what I really wanted. I told her that sometimes I dress fully masculine, and other times I go out in heels, a dress and am fully feminine. I said I wanted a hairstyle that works for both. Nikole did not look reserved about this. She did not hesitate. I showed her a few photos, some of women and some of men. Then she went to work.
The Curly Barber works out of Chemainus and Shawnigan Lake Village. For a few months during the pandemic, she became a mobile barber, offering outdoor "patio haircuts'' in clients' backyards to provide haircuts and keep her business going.
A hairstyle truly matters when we are creating a look for authentic expression. It can be a challenge to find a positive experience. Nikole Texidor provides that experience, and she also rocks the style.
The Curly Barber is an excellent LGBTQ-friendly option. You can DM Nikole on Instagram and Facebook as @thecurlybarber. She works out of a shop in Chemainus called Doc The Barber and in Shawnigan Lake Village.
Rowan Brunet (she/he/they), who identifies as genderqueer, is a writer based on Vancouver Island. Rowan also writes a blog called All Kinds of Mischief.