Before last night’s screening of Asghar Farhadi‘s Everybody Knows, Salle Debussy journalists were more or less obliged to sit through live video of the red-carpet arrivals as well as opening remarks and tributes inside the Grand Lumiere. I was half-watching and half-texting while scrolling through Twitter. But Kristen Stewart‘s appearance struck me as comment-worthy.

I asked a youngish British journalist sitting to my right what she thought of Stewart’s radically cut, blonde-streaked hair, and she said “Oh…uhhm.” In other words she found it striking but didn’t want to share any impressions. I said, “The shorn sides and odd streaks and the smoky eye makeup…it’s just not very attractive.” Certainly not in a conventional hetero sense of that term, I meant, which is what Hollywood Elsewhere more or less goes by.

The journalist said, “Well, I don’t think ‘attractive’ is the idea.” What would the idea be then, I wondered? I actually was telling myself that the idea was to project an edgy sapphic thing, or some kind of statement against what most of us would call conventional foxy norms. But I didn’t want to discuss in detail that so I just said, “She doesn’t want to project an attractive appearance?” No response so I added, “You mean as a gay thing?”

That stopped the conversation in its tracks. British journo woman stared silently at the screen and I went back to Twitter.