Towards the end of this past school year, XBoy announced he wanted to grow his hair long(er). What the hell, we both thought. How long could it really get before he had to go back to school and conform to their appearance requirements of short hair for boys (not covering the ears or past the collar of their uniform)? We agreed with the understanding that once school started, he’d have to get it cut.
Open any catalog or magazine featuring boys XBoy’s age – 6, 7, 8 – and you will most likely see my son’s hairstyle. It’s longish, kind of a skater-dude appearance, and really what I would consider unremarkable in the sense that it doesn’t turn heads. However, he’s had several compliments from his peers on how “cool” his hair is. My kid won’t brush his teeth unless under extreme duress, so to see him take great pride in keeping his hair (relatively) clean and combed is impressive.
I’ll just say it: I like his hair long(er). He stands out amongst the children of Nebraskan conservatives on the playground.
Unfortunately, I find myself thoroughly annoyed with my in-laws, XBoy’s grandparents, who tease and mock him because of his hair. “Sorry to hear your barber died,” he says; “Do you need a little bow ribbon to hold your bangs out of your eyes?” she says.
I’ve told my son to not let their teasing bother him. As his parents, if the hair was a problem, we would let him know. I even told him that he should challenge his grandfather. Tell him that for $100, you’ll go get your hair cut. I tell XBoy that because his grandfather WOULD give him $100 for a stupid haircut, just so he wouldn’t have to be seated across from some hippie child when out in public.
How it must have annoyed my father in-law when in his youth, Mr. DD grew his hair to the middle of his back…
So what’s wrong with a little mild teasing? you might think. Then consider this: how would you feel if you had a little girl XBoy’s age who decided to cut her hair really short and then adults teased her, saying “You need to grow your hair out. You look like a boy!”? That doesn’t happen. Or if it does, it’s because those adults are bigger assholes than I could imagine.
And I can imagine pretty big assholes since the ones I actually know rank right up there.
My hair is short. Currently it’s much shorter than XBoy’s. If someone in my family – including in-laws – implied I should have longer hair so I look like a girl, I would schedule a G.I. Jane cut within 24 hours. I kid you not. I have no emotional attachment to my hair. I’ve never liked it and frankly, whenever I watch What Not to Wear and some chick is sobbing into her locks of freshly cut hair, I want to reach through and smack her. It’s HAIR. If you truly hate the cut, it’ll grow back. Jeezus. Deal with it.
XBoy is developing his own style, and as long as it’s harmless in his experimentation, why shouldn’t we encourage that?
Preemptive Side-note: While someone could construe this post compared to the previous one as hypocritical (getting him to fit in when it comes to his smile, but encouraging his nonconformity when it comes to his hair), it only takes a couple moments of thought to realize that if he really felt uncomfortable with his hair, he could simply change it and the next day he’d be like everyone else. His teeth? Not so much.