I’m a queer woman and this past week, while visiting my in-laws in rural Michigan, I was denied service in two different barbershops. While certainly it’s own brand of bullshit, the situation echoes the Oregon wedding cake dispute recently put on hold by the Supreme Court. I’ve been encouraged to submit my complaint to the ACLU, but my first response was to write the below satirical take on the Three Little Pigs:
Once upon a time when Pigs spoke rhyme and Hens shot heroine to forget, where women were women and men were men, three little Pigs ran three little businesses cutting all the hair on all the chinny chin chins of all the gentlemen throughout their fair hamlet. In this very town, the first Little Pig built his shop of straw, the second built hers of sticks, and the third, of broken dreams covered with bright red brick.
Why three? One might ask. Who needs three barbershops in a town this size? Well, call it superstition, but everything in this town seemed to come in threes: three churches, three schools, three roads, three rules. One single anything made the people wary, and the Pigs even more so.
They’d heard stories of Big, Bad from their newspapers and radios and television sets—sometimes all three at once. Yet, they always assumed they were safe there, untouched, unchallenged in their town of triplicates. They had never actually seen Big, Bad—heaven, forbid. The stories were enough. Big, Bad wore the wrong clothes and walked the wrong way and had a voice just too deep for comfort. Big, Bad would huff and puff and blow their town to the ground—starting by gentrifying its most dilapidated neighborhood.
In reality, the three little Pigs were not so little at all—sporting beer guts with personalities to match—while Big, Bad stood mere inches above five feet with a jovial disposition. (Intimidation comes in surprising forms—and the town lacked in many ways, but sense of humor was not one.)
Presently came along Big, Bad, and entered the first Little Pig’s cozy barbershop, made peculiarly of straw—but who were they to judge? Big, Bad had travelled across the country for months and longed for a decent haircut. “Little Pig, Little Pig, let me have a fresh fade.”
“Not by the steel of my straight razor blade!”
“Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll file a complaint with the ACLU.”
“See what good that’ll do.” Snorted the Pig.
And when Big, Bad slammed the door on the way out, the entire straw structure fell to a pile of nothing.
Exhausted, but not broken, Big, Bad approached the second shop and entered with a bright smile: “Little Pig with the blonde wig, may I get a fresh fade?”
“Not in here, I’m afraid—and no, I won’t be swayed. We serve men, boys, and gents alone in this shop.”
“But it’s a simple buzz, a rudimentary chop!”
The Little Pig shrugged her shoulders appearing helpless, so Big, Bad cried out: “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll wait patiently ‘til you serve me.”
“Well, there’s no need to be surly. As a matter of fact, we’re closing early!”
Big, Bad collapsed into a chair in the waiting area and suddenly all the sticks that formed the shop tumbled to the ground. The Little Pig looked pissed. She definitely wasn’t insured.
Fearing the Little Pig’s mad rage, Big, Bad, quickly ran to the final shop on the street—the structure made of brick.
A round, rosy-faced Pig turned to greet Big, Bad. “May I help you?”
“You’ve no idea what I’ve been through! All I want is a haircut, so I entered their shops. Little Pig refused, and his neighbor called the cops.” Big, Bad let out a loud sigh, and quickly leapt back—it had been a traumatic day and the town seemed to be severely lacking in engineers, despite its plethora of barbershops—but the brick building stood strong and stayed in place. “I’d like a fresh fade, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. I need a minute—you mind if I sit?”
Little Pig shook his head and gestured to a seat. “Well, I hate those assholes, but you’re plum outta luck. I’ve got no talent for haircuts, so now I sell trucks! Try a town over—they’re more liberal up there! My Little Pig Cousin—he’ll do your hair!”
So they hopped in the quad cab with a cooler of ale while the two Little Pigs chased after their tails. Holding shotguns and shouting, “We’ll sue your ass!” The third Little Pig stepped on the gas.
At long last, Big, Bad stepped into Little Pig Cousin’s shop. “Little Pig, Little Pig, may I get a fresh fade?”
“You betcha. Give ya’ the best in the trade.”
So Big, Bad sat back in the barber chair while Little Pig Cousin worked away on their hair. In the corner, third Little Pig popped open a beer—and the three lived happily ever afterward here. (At least for the next 20 minutes…)
Christina Quintana (CQ) is a cross-genre writer with Cuban and Louisiana roots. The author of the full-length play Scissoring (Dramatists Play Service, 2019) and the chapbook of poetry, The Heart Wants (Finishing Line Press, 2016), she is a current staff writer on the new ABC series, The Baker and the Beauty. For more, visit cquintana.com