Bear has been mistaken for a girl a few times recently, on account of his long hair. He starts school in September, and although so far he hasn’t noticed the girl thing, I can’t stand the idea of him being picked on for it once he starts school. So on Saturday, off to the hairdressers we went. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to get an impromptu appointment at a hairdresser’s on a Saturday morning, but apparently it’s about as audacious as rocking up to the Oscars uninvited and asking to be let in.
Eventually someone agreed to take our money. A nice old man cut his hair, although he couldn’t quite get his head around the name ‘Bear’ so called him ‘Ben’ instead. Just take off a couple of inches I said, then sat to the side and watched inch after inch of baby blonde hair fall to the ground. I have always found female hairdressers to have as generous an interpretation of an inch as most men. Male hairdressers, I discovered, are doubly generous. There was a lot of hair on that floor.
When I was 14 I asked a hairdresser to cut my waist length hair to my jawline. My mum walked in at the end, then walked straight out again, her eyes not entirely dry.* I expected the same of myself. But it didn’t happen. When it was done his hair was much shorter, all the glorious white blonde streaks lay dead on the floor. And not even one tear came, more of a ‘shit, what’s Andrew going to say?’ (‘now he just looks like a butch girl’ as it turns out).
I much prefer his long, old, messy hair, but it’s more important to me that I make his life as easy as possible. I wasn’t even disappointed with myself for caving into societal pressure and conforming to what a boy ‘should’ look like. I have far more pressing things about which to be disappointed in myself. This isn’t to say that the drama queen in me, who usually needs absolutely no encouragement whatsoever, didn’t have a go. ‘He’s not your little boy anymore’ she cried, as I walked back to our car. ‘All that beautiful hair, gone forever, just because you want your boy to fit in,’ she continued, to very little effect.
Then she brought out the big guns. ‘He’s going to start school!’ she shrilled, ‘HE’S NOT YOUR LITTLE BOY ANYMORE!!!’ Drama Queen should have known better. Ever since I told my dad that the idea of Bear starting school made me want to cry, and he pointed out, somewhat gleefully, that the only other option was home schooling, I have been positively THRILLED about B starting school.
But do you know what really shut her up? Bear. Because when he said ‘my new hair looks lovely’ I realised that sometimes, occasionally, it really is more about my boys than me.
*I’m trying to make her sound cooler than she actually was. Really, she was absolutely DEVASTATED.