“What beautiful curly hair she has!”
The elderly woman in line behind us is fawning over my 17-month old son, Charlie. She’s right. He has beautiful curly hair. I don’t bother correcting her belief that he is a she. It happens at least once a day.
He could be dressed in a miniature suit and tie but anyone collecting social security will automatically assume he is a she. We’re living in a Mad Men era when it comes to attitudes about boys and long hair. A long list of celeb moms who choose to let their sons grow long locks routinely take heat. Most recently, designer Rachel Zoe was lambasted for being a “bad mom” because her son, Skyler, has hair “like a girl.” So many men have long hair these days it’s strange that long hair on little boys is still decried as girlish.
Especially when anyone who has parented a boy 4 or older knows they have very specific ideas about what they like and don’t like; if they’ve got long hair, rest assured mom isn’t the one forcing the long locks.
But this societal perception has no bearing on why I feel pressure to cut my Charlie’s corkscrew curls. I’m not concerned about what others think about my son’s hair or his gender, for that matter. Lately his bangs have been flopping in his blue eyes and although it doesn’t seem to bother him, I worry that he just doesn’t know any different. Maybe he thinks that everyone views the world through wild twists and twirls of hair and has no idea what living life without hair hanging in your eyes is like.
But he’s my last baby. My third child. Short hair will age him and my aging heart may not survive the killing of his curls.
It’s harder with boys, I think. With girls you know that even if you cut their hair, it isn’t really the end. They’ll likely grow it back, grow it long again. But boys … It just might be the end of their long hair forever. Once they’re old enough the length of their hair becomes their decision. At least that’s how it is in my family. Your hair is your own and you can wear it however you choose.
In the end I comprised. I trimmed his bangs but left the rest.
I need him to be my baby for just a little bit longer.