I don’t usually get in mini spats with 70-plus something old barbers.
But there’s always a first for everything.
Since the day my son was born, aside from him being happy and healthy, there was only one thing I wanted for him. I wanted him to have long hair.
I know it may be a crazy and superficial thing to want for your child, but I was adamant that I wanted my son to look like a cool surfer dude. (Because who doesn’t love cool surfer dudes?)
Most of my son’s four-year-old friends have long hair too, so it seems im not alone in this desire. I decided to take my son to a local barber shop, the old-fashioned kind with a red and white barbershop pole outside, and an old-world feel to the inside. I loved the place. (Until I didn’t.)
I was the only woman in the place, sitting and waiting for our turn. Some of the barbers who work at the place have been there for more than 50 years. The others who were waiting to get their hair done were either men or men who brought in their sons.
In four years, this would be my son’s second haircut. Other moms I know have never once, even in six years, cut their son’s hair. And they are adorable!
Still, sigh, how many times I’ve heard from relatives, mainly, ahem, grandparents, ‘Oh, he needs a haircut!’ or ‘Are you taking him for a haircut soon?’ The answer has always been, ‘Nope.’
Sometimes I’ll even add, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’, because I don’t feel like explaining how important this one thing is to me. I know it’s ridiculous, but for me, it’s important. If there is one thing I demand to control in my son’s life, it’s his hair. Seriously, that’s it!
Since he’s only four, thus far there haven’t been any fights with him about his hair, although once he did say, ‘I want my hair like Daddy’s.’ To which I had to respond honestly, ‘You want to be bald?’
I have been so adamant over the years that Mommy Controls Sons Hair that relatives have learned not to venture into any child-related haircut or hair styling conversations or suggestions, as they know it’s a losing battle.
Yes, his hair does sometimes fall in his eyes, and I SHOULD maybe care about this, but he doesn’t complain about it, so for now, I’m still on the path of keeping those long, sufer-dude locks intact.
The barber shop was convenient and open on a Sunday, which is why I took him there.
But, it turns out, most of the men or boys who go there go to get serious buzz cuts. From toddlers to seniors, most men were getting buzz cuts, which I think the barbers enjoy doing because, I mean, how hard is to do a buzz cut? Men and boys were in and out of those chairs within ten minutes. I’ve spent longer in waiting lines at Rexall Drugstore.
Don’t get me wrong. Kids with short or buzz cut hair are cute too, but I do know that I suffer from some sort of post-traumatic-buzz-cut-syndrome, probably due to the fact that I have three brothers, and I grew up in an age where if you had a buzz cut, it was because you had lice. Unfair or not, that was the assumption. I’m not proud of it and I know head lice are nothing to be ashamed of, but when I see kids with buzz cuts my mind still goes to that old stereotype.
‘I just want a trim.’ I told the barber, as my son sat on my lap, ready to get his hair cut… ‘And I mean trimmed. Just a tiny trim,’ I told the barber. I’ve learned, as a woman, you really have to make sure that whomever is cutting your hair knows what you really want. Two inches is a trim. Four inches is a cut!
As the elderly barber slowly trimmed away on my son’s hair, I kept repeating, ‘That’s enough. Okay, that’s enough.’ (My heart was even pounding, if you can believe it!)
And that’s when I found myself in a little tiff with an old-school barber.
‘But it will get in his eyes.’ he said.
‘That’s okay.’ I responded. This barber would not let up.
‘Better to not be in his eyes.’ he said.
‘It doesn’t go in his eyes. He sweeps it to the side.’ I said.
‘No, let me cut it shorter.’ he continued, reaching for the shaver as I gasped.
So I pulled out The Mom Card.
‘I’m his mother.’ I said. And that pretty much shut him up.
The three other barbers working in the small barber shop all started laughing. Why?
Because they are all married and are fathers and know that when a mother says, ‘I’m the mother.’ it means, ‘Don’t f**k with me.’
I played along with the barbers, who definitely thought I was nutso.
‘Don’t you agree that it’s a mother’s decision?’ I asked the other barbers.
‘Yes, we all have wives. Happy wives equals happy lives,’ said one barber, repeating a phrase that has always annoyed me, and also didn’t really have anything to do with me being a helicopter-haircut mother.
I paid modern-day prices ($25) at an old-fashioned barber shop, for a 7-minute trim, and my son’s hair came out looking, well, a tiny bit different, but no one would be able to tell he even had a haircut. It was PERFECT!
I won’t always be like this with his hair. I know I only have a short window when he’s small and I can get my way before he makes a stink about what kind of hairstyle he wants. So I’m going to enjoy my time of control.
Are you a Helicopter-Haircut Mom?