Tuesday, July 25, 2006

If He Don't Look Good, I Don't Look Good



Register columnist

I expect that some day my son will come home with hair dyed purple and papier-mâchéd into the shape of a vulture. I will not care. At that point, hormones and a sheltered suburban existence will conspire to make him an entirely unreasonable monkey-thing. Aside from demands for money and food, I doubt, at that point, he'll even be talking to me.

But until then, Zev's hair is my concern. Mine. Not my husband's. Not my mother's. Not "society's." Mine.

Somehow, in these last 13 months I had forgotten that fact. Somehow, I had allowed his tresses to get out of control. Somehow, I let Zev grow a mullet.

It was cute at first, those soft curls kissing the back of his neck. But when the rest of his hair failed to grow at the same rate, he started to look like Billy Ray Cyrus.

Strangers complimented me on my "beautiful daughter." Friends greeted Zev with a pinky-forefinger rocker salute and the exclamation "Business in front; party in back!" A portion of his birthday festivities was taken up with people discussing just, exactly, how hard Zev rocked his mullet.

I was appalled. I was embarrassed. But I was outnumbered.

While I demanded that Zev get a haircut, Mom, Hubby and a host of so-called "friends" told me to leave his hair alone, citing everything from religious superstitions to promises that, honestly, his hockey hair looked cute. I got so many admonitions, I started to develop a Samson complex about it.

Never mind that no one can so much as smile at this kid without first going through me, I had somehow relinquished my control-freak grip on this one aspect of Zev's well-being, and he was stranded in silly hairdo-land as a result of it.

Then came Gretta.

I immediately liked everything about Zev's lovely baby sitter from the moment I interviewed her. She is comfortable with kids. She speaks her mind. She thinks I'm pretty. But something she said stuck in my head – my well-groomed head.

"I love that you cut his hair into a mullet," she said.

In all the comments I'd received about Zev's hair, no one had ever suggested that I fashioned Zev's hair this way on purpose. Is that what people think? That we play trailer-park dress up at home? That I did this to my child?

Now the mullet was making me look bad. It was time to take Zev's hair into my hands.

Well, not my hands. I am a firm believer that I can do anything well – but I'd much rather pay someone else to do it better. So, against Hubby's protests, we whisked Zev over to First Cut at Fashion Island.

Hair salons for children, in general, are minimonuments to the kind of overindulgent parenting that creates spoiled, hateful kids. And this one, with its airplane seats, individual cartoon-spewing televisions and well-stocked toy section is guaranteed to turn your child into a brat.

I loved it.

The place is bright and airy and full of kids. I had one request: I wanted a hot hairdresser. Before you send your angry letters, think about it for a second: Anyone can cut a kid's hair. We were paying good money ($22) for a gimmick, and all I wanted was my money's worth. To me, a hot hairdresser is just part of the show.

That's how we ended up with Kim. With a winning smile and long black fingernails, Kim did an expert job lopping off Zev's locks. She even ignored my husband's demand for Depeche Mode bangs and, instead, followed my request for Ari Gold hair.

Zev came away looking fantastic. And I'll look even better for having a kid with such a great haircut – which is the important thing.

Kim sent us home with one of Zev's curls tucked in an envelope for safekeeping.

When the day comes that Zev sports a Mohawk or shaves his girlfriend's name into his head or dunks his head in Nair, I'll be able to wrap the long curl around my fingers and remember that once – for a short time – I was in charge.


  1. No one, ever, should take hairstyling advice from your husband. I refer you to the Red Sox Hat Era for reference.

  2. Isn't Gretta the best? I love her! I am glad she helped you see the light! :)