Hair was never an issue in our house until The Boy came along. Tad has none and I have lots. We didn't really have any reason to think about it further until we were in charge of a little person with a head full of unruly fluff.
"Let me shave it," Tad begged, six months in. "He looks sloppy."
"Of course he looks sloppy, he's a baby," I retorted. "Babies are the epitome of sloppy! He's probably got a mess in his pants, too, and he's going to spit up any minute. Just roll with it."
I pride myself on being an easygoing parent. So is Tad, except when it comes to hair. If there's anything he can't stand, it's long hair on boys. Even baby ones.
Tad finally won, and we took The Boy to the barber the day before his first birthday. A real, old-fashioned barber who feels the same way about boys' hair that Tad does. Tad was thrilled.
"PRIVATE SOFFEE," he barked, throwing the newly shorn Boy a salute. "WHY ARE YOU SO SMALL?"
After that, hair management was easy. Whenever The Boy started looking fuzzy, Tad would pull out the clippers and shave the sides and back of his head to the skin. Then he'd add the half-inch attachment and run it across the top of The Boy's head. Nothing fancy, but it did the trick. Sometimes it was a little crooked, like he had a rakish hat tilted down toward one eye, but it was cheap, and he looked cute. At least we thought so.
About a year ago, The Boy started balking. Did you think he wouldn't? According to The Boy, Tad's home haircuts were not "rocking out." And you know, being a rocking-out kind of guy, The Boy felt that he should have a rocking-out hairdo.
I wasn't even sure what he meant at first. I got online and showed him some bands. Fortunately he wasn't into Mötley Crüe, Fall Out Boy or Korn. That was a relief. But none of the styles that I thought he'd like impressed him, either. At one time I knew what rocking-out hair was. Mick Ronson. Sid Vicious. Hanoi Rocks! Apparently that's not what the kids are into these days.
His next haircut was received less than enthusiastically. Little wonder, since all Tad did was switch from the half-inch attachment to the three-quarter-inch one. (I'm not the only parent responsible for The Boy's hardheaded genes.) The Boy, no doubt expecting dramatic changes, trotted off to the mirror and frowned.
"How do you like it, buddy?" I asked hopefully.
"I don't!" He frowned and poked at his hair with his fingers. "It's not faggy enough!"
This wasn't the direction I thought we were trying to go with the haircut — not that there's anything wrong with that — but I was willing to listen.
The boy ruffled his hair with both hands and then grabbed a tuft and pulled it toward the sky. "Fag it up! Higher and spikier!"
Ohhhhhhh. "You mean shaggy. You want me to shag it up!"
"Yes! Shag it up!" A quick spritz of water took care of that request. By the time it dried, he had moved away from the mirror and forgotten all about his new haircut.
Then about a week ago, Tad announced that it was haircut day, and I'd be seeing a fresh new Boy when I returned from work. So I was surprised to find the same shaggy, overgrown Boy waiting for me after work.
"What happened to the haircut?" I asked, ruffling the Boy's hair (which shagged up nicely).
"I'll tell you what happened," Tad said, looking defeated. "I got out the clippers" — he motioned to the clippers, still sitting on the counter — "and he begged me not to cut his hair. He pleaded and cried like I was sentencing him to the salt mines for life. It was pitiful. I couldn't do it."
I looked at The Boy. He looked happy. Sloppy but happy. Maybe just a little proud.
"So what are we doing with it?"
Tad shrugged and shoved the clippers back in the drawer. "I guess we're gonna let it rock."
The Boy beamed. And somewhere, Mick Ronson beamed, too.
Let the children boogie.