My son is two years old, with beautiful blue eyes, and long curly blond hair. He was born with a mischievous and impish personality and a mop of wild hair to match. He is pure, unadulterated sunshine, and an entertainer to everyone around him. Strangers frequently mistake him for a little girl, but to me the glowing halo of messy locks around his face are logical extensions of his magnetic personality. As if his smile couldn’t be fully expressed by his face alone.
I’ve fought hard to keep his hair untouched by society’s stereotypes and gender rules, but the time has come for me to admit defeat. Lately, he’s been pulling on his hair and complaining that it’s always in his eyes. When I asked him if he wanted his hair short like his brother’s he latched onto the idea with the fierce tenacity that I’ve come to expect from him. I was no longer battling the rest of the world on behalf of his hair; I was battling him. How could I say no?
So I booked an appointment for my little boy to have his very first hair cut, but in honor of the two years I’ve loved and cherished his raggedy do I have recorded some of the genuine excuses I’ve used for why I wouldn’t cut his hair. You know, for posterity…and because I’m kind of proud of my creativity with some of them.
- His head will look out of balance- What if when we remove the protective layer of curls around his face, we suddenly realize that his head is too small for his body? Or worse, what if it makes it look bigger somehow and he looks like a bobble-head doll when he’s running around on the playground?
- We won’t be able to tell him apart from his brother- If it was up to my son he would do everything exactly the same as his big brother, but I have a hard enough time keeping their names straight when I’m shouting at them from across the room. I certainly don’t need to complicate matters by making them look alike too.
- He loves wearing my hair clips and barrettes- He spent a blissfully quiet hour the other day putting dozens of little plastic butterfly clips in his hair. Who am I do deny him this quiet, solitary, completely unsupervised, doesn’t-need-mommy-at-all luxury?!?
- It’s finally long enough for me to braid- There was a time when I wasn’t sure I’d ever have a daughter, and even now my little girl’s hair is too short for me to play with. I have needs too!
- What if his ears turn out to be lopsided- How do we know his face isn’t horribly misaligned? By the time he was old enough to sit up straight and hold his head up his hair had already started growing over his ears. Is it really worth the risk of future humiliation just to keep his hair from getting in his eyes every once in a while?
- His neck might get cold- Or maybe sunburned? We live in the Midwest, we have weather to suit any paranoia that speaks to you personally. Should we really be putting his health in danger?
- Where will he wipe all his snot and food mess? I consider myself prepared for most potential parenting disasters, but even the best Boy Scout moms find themselves occasionally without a tissue when the world’s largest green booger comes shooting out of their kid’s nose. For years his hair has soaked up whatever disgustingness he wipes away from his face, and then at the end of the day, I wash his hair in the tub. The system works; don’t fix what ain’t broken!
- It’s perpetuating gender stereotypes- Ok, this one might be a bit melodramatic, but there is a part of me that loved the fact that he didn’t adhere to normal standards of male beauty. It made him even more special.
While I’ve lost the war over my son’s hair, I feel I have fought gallantly and with great honor. I will quietly mourn the loss of his lovely hair and wait patiently in the shadows, steeling myself for the day his comes home with his tongue pierced, curse words shaved into his head, or one of those tattoos make it look like you can see inside your body. You know, the important things.