shopping for facial hair.

(photographs by/of Ana Mendieta)

We sit on a saturday in a part of brooklyn where farmers gather and, with coffee and crushed-up pretzels on our breath, we shop for facial hair. You wonder what it will be like when yours grows in; I wonder what it will feel like against me.

There are men with six o’clock shadows at noon and there are men with beards long enough to braid or bunch up into knots called dreadlocks. There are men with grey stuck to their dark. There are short ones and red ones. There are beard/moustache combinations. There are intricate moustaches that curl up and those which curl downward.

I gaze at the hairs you’ve got, the ones I’ve named, the ones I’ve poem’d about.

We sit on a bed sheet in the middle of brooklyn bridge park on a thursday where humans wait for outdoor movie to begin and, with ice cream and curried popcorn on our breath, we shop for facial hair. You wonder if yours will have interruptions of silver like you’ve got against your scalp; I wonder what it will be like to kiss you with new texture against your skin.

There are thick ones and beards like confetti sprinkled over cheeks. There are hipster beards and shadows of ones still growing. Facial hair becomes like cloud formations for us, as we search for images we see in each one.

I shop for chests. Wonder what it could be like to have a shirt that fits me exactly the way I long for–without intrusion of curve below collarbone. Men take off their shirts this time of year and we lust after the shape we desire on ourselves.

We point to the ones with slight musculature. I notice variations of nipples and ones with hair like a standing ovation all over chest. I tell you that maybe one day I’d like to have that one or that one. You tell me that however my body exists, I’ll be just as handsomely beautiful.

We sit on a concrete bench not too far from the chanting Hare Krishnas on a wednesday in manhattan and, with pickles and no-sugar-added sour cherry juice on our breath, we shop for our gender, ripening against our bones. You tell me that tomorrow, if I decided to wear a dress, you’d look at me just the same.

With our painted toe nails from that time we sugared our tongues with rainbow ices beside neighbor’s garden, we search the crowd for others like us. The ones experimenting with all the ways in which one could exist.