What shapes a mans life more? Being molested at age seven, having a gruff father ashamed of him for being effeminate, or being humiliated by school bullies for being a sissy?
In the memoir, Shorn: Toys to Men, author Dennis Milam Bensie chronicles his journey from damaged boy, self-medicating by cutting the hair of shoplifted Barbie dolls, to confused young man, paying hundreds of gay street hustlers to shave their heads. Bensie demonstrates how hair can be currency–a moral gauge for good and bad, male and female, lawful and unlawful. The world of theater is his backdrop, a sanctuary where he gradually spins fantasy into reality.
After getting his start in community theater, Bensie moves up to professional houses throughout the United States, turning his private sexual conflict over haircutting into a successful career as a skilled theatrical wig designer. Humorous and honest, this book is a uniquely tangled love story, a triumphant quest for love, forgiveness and self-acceptance.
Shorn and Bensie’s more recent memoir, One Gay American were both finalists in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. One Gay American was also a finalist in the 2013 Indie Excellence Awards.