Luc, 8, has never cut his hair. As in never. The fringe ends of his hair are the baby fuzz he was born with.
His hair has grown down to his cute little butt now and is this gorgeous golden yellow. It’s amazing. I covet it, I do. It’s my shameful secret.
Here’s a totally bizarre fact: he never washes it. Seriously! Maybe once a year or if he spills food into it. Before you call social services, please look at these pictures—he does not have dirty, greasy looking hair. I have no idea why. (And he does bathe the rest of himself daily, in case you were wondering. I’m just saying.)
He hated, hated, to have me wash his hair as a baby, so I would only do it when it looked dirty. But then it almost never looked dirty so I’d just remember suddenly that it had been a long time, and I would guiltily subject him to a washing….but the interval between washings stretched and stretched until I realized it had been months and still his hair didn’t look dirty, so….why were we washing it again? I swear, it’s like the Bermuda Triangle or how the Egyptians built the pyramids. His hair always looks like a million bucks with no effort on his part at all.
He does swim almost every day in the summer, so it gets rinsed in pond water four months out of the year….
See? Mermaid hair! IT’S SO UNFAIR.
He usually wears it in a braid. That is, I usually braid it for him. I’m the hair wench. Don’t tell anybody, but I kind of love doing this, playing with the pretty hair. I fear the day when he’s all, “Mom, I can braid my own hair, sheesh.” It’s coming all too soon.
If you watch Adventure Time (you should! It’s cool!) you might remember the very first time young hero Finn removed his white bear hat. It was season 2, ep 10, so had been a long time that we’d only seen Finn in the hat…long enough to forget that it was indeed a hat, and therefore removable. And then suddenly he whips it off and:
When we saw that we all, literally, jumped up shouting, “It’s Luc! It’s Luc’s hair!!”
Finn is a bad-ass adventurer, a boy of great bravery, mad sword skills, and long, flowing, yellow hair. There is also Thor, with his abs, his hammer, and his long, flowing yellow hair. You don’t get more manly than Thor. (See here for our first realization that LUC IS THOR.)
Not as long and magical as Luc’s, but still pretty. I’d braid it for him.
It might be due partly to Finn and Thor, but Luc has zero worries about having “girly” hair. It never crosses his mind. Has has BAD-ASS HEROIC HAIR and he knows it.
Despite this, the probability that someone will assume Luc is a girl when we are out is nearly 100%. I’ve even had people question me when I correct them, as if I might not know for sure, or possibly they think I think they are referring to some other kid. Nope, he really is a guy! A guy’s guy! He has a weapons locker the size of a house, about a hundred toy dinosaurs, he wears boxers, and he will happily discuss who will win in a fight with any pairing you can imagine for hours.
And hey, I’m not saying that boys have to do these things or that girls can’t or won’t…I’m just saying that in all other culturally common gender markers, my little dude is, well, a dude.
A polite, “Actually, he’s a boy,” from me, or, “Actually, I’m a boy,” from him, and most people catch on quick and feel embarrassed they’ve gotten it wrong (no need, it’s a common mistake). But some people really can’t grok it. “This kid right here, this is a boy?” Incredulous looks. “Yes. This is Luc, my son. He is a boy.”
Other times we just shrug and let him be a girl in their mind long enough to check out at the register or whatever….
Luc is un-phased by this. He really seems confident in his own masculinity. He’s like, whatever. I know I’m a boy. Why should I care what they think? He’s so cool.
The second thing people say is, “How long are you going to let him go like that?” or maybe “I could never let my son do that” or even, “I cried when I cut my son’s hair.” To which I always reply, “It’s his hair. His choice.” Seriously! It’s his body! He can do what he wants to with his own hair. I’m shocked at how many people feel the need to control their kid’s bodies to this degree. Hair is not a big deal. It’s his hair. He gets to pick.
I mean, if, say, my husband, made me cut my hair into the shape he felt was appropriate, I can tell you right now, I would NOT be thinking, “wow, we have such a great relationship.” So why would I do that my kid, who I want to have a great relationship with?
The third most common thing people ask is, “doesn’t it get in his way?”
Unless you live in a place where conformity is a life or death sort of issue, hair is just this protein that grows out of your scalp. Sometimes it is amazing and gorgeous like Luc’s—he won the hair lottery, for sure—and sometimes it’s little frizzy wisps like mine (SOB). Maybe he’ll shave his head, or dread it, or mohawk it, or color it, or get a super conservative Normal-Guy cut. Or all of these at different times. It’s his hair. He’ll have his reasons. That’s fine with me. I have had my reasons for doing all of these things with my thin, curly, scalp protein, at various times in my life, too.
Luc’s dad, SuperCoolHusband, had butt-length black hair when I met him. It was hot. Like, Native American day-um kind of hot. He cut it when he got a real job after college. I cried. I still have it, the hair, in a box in my filing cabinet.
One day Luc will cut his. I’ll probably cry then, too. I wonder if he’ll let me keep it? (Or he might have a partner-to-be by then who gets dibs?)
Moral of the story: The rules lie! Boys can have long pretty hair and be bad-asses. Parents can support kids in having the appearance they want. Heck you don’t even have to wash your hair, and I thought that last one was a truism. But nope.