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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Long Haired Freaky People Need Not Apply

My oldest son decided approximately six months ago that he wanted to have long hair. LONG hair... like Jesus or Johnny Damon. Whatever. It's his hair I couldn't really care less how he wears it as long as it is clean.

Mostly I just ignored the hair growing or made jokes about putting bows in his hair. My joking was all in good fun and my son would laugh. His hair looked awful, like a big poofy mushroom cap sitting on top of his head. Especially when he takes off his baseball cap and the hair on the top of his head is plastered to his scalp and the ends of his hair are curled up and sticking out like a mane around his head. In the grand scheme of things, it isn't something I want to fight with my son about. However, it drives my husband crazy.

It is one of the very few parenting things that we have disagreed about. Rob keeps asking him if he would like a haircut. And the constant mentioning seems to make my son even more adamant that he is not cutting his hair. I think embracing it takes the rebellion factor out of the equation and shows that we respect him as an autonomous individual capable of making some decisions of his own. And honestly, I just don't care.

When I was his age I had long hair. Really long hair that was well past my butt. Every morning my mother would put it into two thick braids. I would have to stand up on the toilet lid so that she could reach the bottom of my hair without having to sit on the floor. Every morning would find me in tears as she dragged the brush through the snarled mass of my hair. And every morning I would get hit on the top of my head with the brush and yelled at to stand still. I hated it and hated my long hair. I begged to be allowed to cut it short. Short being a relative term since I really only wanted it to my shoulders.

Well, one day I came home from school and decided that I was going to cut my hair myself. I'm still not sure what possessed me to do it, or how I thought I was going to get away with cutting my hair and my mother not noticing. But I cut one of my braids off above my shoulder.

Then I panicked. And I did the only thing I could think of which was to dispose of the evidence.

And so I flushed my 2 foot long braid down the toilet.

But now the question remained, what to tell my mother about my missing hair. My first thought was to just pretend that I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought that when she came home from work I would just pretend like my hair had always been like that and that I had no idea what she was talking about. But even at ten years old I knew that was just wishful thinking.

Then I got the brilliant idea to pull all my hair back into a single pony tail in the back of my head. that way the short choppy hair would be camouflaged by the longer hair that still remained. I silently praised myself for this awesome idea and resolved to wear my hair in a pony tail for the next few years. Surely my mother would be none the wiser.

But when I tried this I realized I had cut the one side so short that it wouldn't reach the back of my head, let alone flow nicely into a ponytail.

Then I became desperate, though not quite desperate enough to tell the truth. I called my mother up at work and told her I had just arrived home and looked at myself in the mirror and realized that someone must have cut off my hair at school that day.

She asked the obvious questions like, "How could someone cut off your hair and you not notice?" "Why would anyone do that?" "Wouldn't you feel someone with scissors right next to your head?" "Wouldn't any of your friends have told you that the hair on half of your head was missing?" "Do you have any idea who would do that?"

And I gave the obvious answers, "I don't know." "I don't know." "I don't know." "I don't know." But the answer to the last question would haunt me and live on in family lore for the rest of my years, "Well, I did see Stacey with scissors today."

And my mother answered, "Well, we will just see about this Stacy girl when I get home. Don't worry we'll get to the bottom of this." And then she hung up.

Then I spent the next two hours ringing my hands and pacing around our house. I was terrified. And frankly a little incredulous that my mother actually believed my lie, or so I thought. I would find out years later that she spent the two hours laughing and sharing the story with all her coworkers, and all of them collaborating on what my mother should do.

Long story short, many embarrassing phone calls to my many friends and their parents and the school principal, I finally collapsed into a sobbing heap on the kitchen floor and admitted that I had, despite all the believable evidence I had given to the contrary, cut my hair myself.

Which brings me back to my son.

This past weekend Rob offered him cold hard cash in exchange for a haircut. They went back and forth over the amount of money his hair was worth. My son poured over his Lego catalogs contemplating future purchases. Finally they settled on $100.

My son sat outside on the stool wavering in his decision. Finally I said to him, out of earshot of my husband, that his hair could always grow back, but legos are forever. With a glimmer in his eye and thoughts of Bionicles, he picked up the clippers and shaved off the side of his hair.

And now I have four other boys who have felt the lure of cash and decided they want to grow their hair long also.


Blogger rugdesigner said...

Love this! I secretly wanted my sons to grow their hair long (child of the 60s) and they freaked if it touched the top of their ears... I agree with you in your attitude about hair. Great post! They are learning the system!

8:46 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

My brother was once "bet" by my mother that he couldn't not watch TV for a year for $200. He did it, and I wanted to, too, but my mom wouldn't let me. :(

10:20 AM  
Blogger TBG said...

Go boys. You have some smart little boys at your house. This could get very pricy for the husband.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

What is it about long hair on boys that freaks the dads out?? My son has bangs...BANGS, and my husband just can't stand them.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

"[H]air could always grow back, but legos are forever."

Finally! The mantra that I've been looking for!

10:59 AM  
Blogger annie said...

My son has beautiful curly brown hair with blond high lights. My mother in law is a hairdresser and has always resisted cutting his locks in that short little boy look. About a year ago he decided to go for dreadlocks. My husband and I refuse to wrangle about hair. He eventually tired of trying to twist it. Then he just decided he wanted to grow it long. Only problem is, he just doesn't like the maintenance. Rule is though, it has to be rat nest free. Sometimes he thinks he can just put a hat over it to keep it under control...a rediculous Bozo the Clown kind of look. In his attempt to brush it out last week, he looked in the mirror and said, "Aaaagh! I look like a Who!" (a la Dr. Seuss). My stomach hurt from laughing so hard. Just don't think it's worth it to fight over hair. My dad gave me hell over it and it wasn't until my late 20's that I could get my hair cut short without feeling like I was going to get into trouble.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The style these days for the teenage boys is big and puffy...white boy's afro.
My son is cursed with straight as a board THICK hair like mine. His was well over his ears and almost to his collar. When he would wear a baseball cap he could barely see through the hair.
He went almost 8 months with no haircut.
Then a miracle happened....his best friend got back from UPNORTH and he had gotten a buzz cut.
Yep, less than a week later my boy had his head shaved too.

My daughter cut her LONG blonde hair when she was in preschool 3 years ago. I cried. I think it scared her so badly that she will never do that again.
The very next week were class pictures and she looks horrible!
It is funny now but not then.
She walked in with big chunks missing out of her barbie hair.

3 years later and it is back down to the small of her back again.

So yes, it does grow back.
And legos ARE forever.
I think they actually multiply.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Oh, I love it!! Smart boys! Did he get his Bionicle? Was it cool and fierce?

My kids grow their hair long during the summer months. It drives my husband nuts too. He usually wins and they get butchered at Dangerous Dan's (named so due to the fact that someone always comes home with a cut ear) sometime around the first week of August. Except for Quinn. Noone is allowed to touch his curls!!

12:36 PM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

He's a genius! I suspect your husband got a bit suckered into this, though. My goodness, when I was little $100 would have been a fortune! This hair cutting thing is going to get pricey, I agree.

Was that the little blond cutie? His hair looked great long, I though!

2:36 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

My husband and I were just talking about this yesterday. We were at the hairdressers getting my son's hair cut and he stated that he would never let my son have long hair. I on the other hand don't care if he has long hair. You're right-if you tell them to cut it, they'll just be rebellious and keep it long.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are going through this here and NOW with my 9yo son! AND his long(er) hair is driving my dh nuts - though he would NEVER pay him one red cent to get it clipped ;-)

I was always forced to wear my hair short, so I would never force my kids one way or another.

I LOVE your story about your hair - flushing your braid - had me in tears!


3:41 PM  
Blogger lipstickface said...

My sister had braids down to her butt in second grade.

One day during a test, the teacher was keeping an eye on the students while walking about the classroom. As she passed the trashcan she looked down and found a singular long braid.

Picking it up she silently snuck around the aisles, as the students were focused on their tests, and held the braid up to each girls head until she came to my sister. One long braid. One stubby nub.

A certain troublesome boy in the class, who had a fierce lisp, had actually cut my sisters braid without her noticing - (seriously I still dont understand how you would miss someone doing that to you)- stated to the principal, who stood him in front of the class, an infamous line that has been quoted amongst our family ever since:

"Thumtimeth, I do dumb things."

7:06 PM  
Blogger a.v. said...

what a story!

our son is 7 months, and dh is already concerned about long hair. for me -- that's not a battle worth fighting. i have at least a couple of years to work on dh, but it seems my chances are small LOL

i was forced to have ny hair very short (boyish) and hated it.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in grade school, my parents MADE me wear my hair long... I hated it. Looking back at my childhood, some of the worst memories are having to have my mom comb and detangle my hair. Finally, my parents "allowed" me to get it cut when I was in the 4th grade.
I say let kids have whatever hairstyle they want to have, as long as it's clean. Sounds like your son is quite the businessman.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Sleeping Mommy said...

Oh my god. Brilliant. Your going to have a whole tribe of long haired boys you know that right?

Priceless? yes, I think so.

Has dad learned his lesson?

And your story about your braid? Hilarious. I can just see this little girl racking her brain trying to find a good lie to cover up her responsibility in cutting her own hair. And your mother handled it just the way my mom would I think.

7:08 PM  
Blogger harvestmoon said...

You must be sick of "hearing" this, but you have such a way with words.

I read this post outloud to the boys (Jesse and Pike) and Jesse thinks the son in question is his penpal (didn't want to give out names). He misses hearing from him, but now that he knows he has $100 to spend, he's quite understanding.

Both boys were laughing hysterically. As was I. Jesse continues with long hair, Pike with an earring, and both are constantly taken for twins (not) and girls in rural Mexico.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Chant with me now.....

"Mullet! Mullet! Mullet!"

9:13 PM  
Blogger Moe said...

THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME LAUGH UNTIL I WAS IN TEARS!! (my 3 yo asked me whay I was crying, and it was difficult to explain to him)

3:20 PM  
Blogger Hoodia said...

Help me Dude, I think I'm lost..... I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw him in a car lot yesterday, which is really strange because the last time I saw him was in the supermarket. No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender". He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a San Diego cosmetic surgery doctor ,to fit into those blue suede shoes of yours. But Elvis said in the Ghetto nobody can afford a San Diego plastic surgery doctor. Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger. Then I'm gonna go round and see Michael Jackson and we're gonna watch a waaaay cool make-over show featuring some Tijuana dentists on the TV in the back of my Hummer. And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . . "You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on " Strange day or what? :-)

12:12 PM  
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5:05 PM  
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1:59 AM  
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10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Thanks for getting my brain out of a funk. I have been searching for decent info about behavior problems in children and came across your site. Not exactly what I was looking for, but a welcome digression! Enjoyed reading it. Thanks.

1:54 PM  

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