It’s been awhile since I first posted that the kids were going for so called make-overs. As could have been anticipated, the girls new hair styles were a great success all around. Em and Milla enthusiastically embraced the new looks, and everything that went with a grown up hair salon.
Jake, on the other hand, was a pain in the ass. In retrospect, I don’t know why I’m surprised. What, 17 year old boy wants to go to a ladies salon to get their hair cut? I know it’s his “job” to resist, but jesus, I put a lot of planning and money into getting everyone to clean up their acts. The girls jumped at the chance, but not Jake.
The stylist didn’t help matters when she responded to my carefully curated photos of hairstyles: Oh, that’s too feminine. Let’s not have another Justin Bieber on our hands.
I thought Jake was going to bust out of there then and there. His face turned beet red, and he was so uncomfortable he wouldn’t even look at me. When she was done cutting ONLY AN INCH AND A HALF OFF, Jake put his hat on and sullenly sat in the lobby until his newly styled sisters asked, did you do anything at all? Now granted, it might have had something to do with being a teenage boy in a mostly women’s hair salon, but regardless, it seemed slightly over the top. He even refused to take a group photo with us.
Mom side note: His pediatrician didn’t help matters when just days ago he told me (again helpfully shared in front of him): Mom, hands off. If he wants to stink, let him stink. Let him wear what he wants, let him have his hair how he wants. His friends will tell him if it’s not cool enough.
REALLY? This is the wisdom of the experts? Is this the modern version of Let Them Fail? I think we’ve lost our minds. Would his friends really tell him? More importantly, if this is the look, is he hanging with the right crowd?
For this mom, the frustrating thing is he’s a good looking kid. But Jake’s years of self neglect has turned his hair into a long, stringy mop that he covers up with a trucker hat. It’s no wonder that some kid from school has called him a school shooter the other day.
So taking matters into my own hands, I forced him to return to the women’s salon, fully aware that one of two things could happen: I take charge, insist on the cut and have him hate me and complain to his pediatrician next time—Or, all of the above, AND he hates me now, but thanks me later.
I’m not like this usually, but I’m glad I called the salon and scheduled the redo right on the heels of yesterdays mess-up. If any more time had passed, I’m sure I would’ve let it slide. The bonus? We got to spend a few extra hours hanging out and having a sort of inadvertent mom/son time together. And we realized on the spot that neither of us could remember the last time we just hung out, just the two of us.
Now that I’ve taken a stand, I wonder if it would be overkill to call the pediatrician and let her know how uncool it was to undermine me in front of the kid. I think the connection between the oldest kid and mom is an essential one. If that gets unraveled, the rest of the kids would follow suit, and I can’t have that happening. Jake is a year away from being an adult and on his own. I need us to cross the finish line together.
I’m a believer that when you look good, you feel good. And looking good involves a good hair style and make-up. It may not be the most ardently feminist position I could take, but it’s always worked for me. (frankly, this is not just for girls, but the teenage boy seems to be more generally resistant). And looking good doesn’t have to mean looking like everyone else or that you have to be classically beautiful. In fact, it shouldn’t. Sure, that girl is pretty. But how about you? There is no need to look like anyone else, as that look is already taken. I believe you can be yourself and still be fabulous.
Hence, the make-over lesson. Which in my definition means more than just a hair and clothes overhaul, but also self-care which starts with skin and make-up. One thing you can be sure of, if you don’t teach this stuff, the internet will. And that usually doesn’t end well, with some pretty caked on versions of so-called contouring.
So far it looks like only one of my four girls is ready to start this conversation, even though technically Milla and Em are the same age. Milla has already decided, I look good enough without makeup, thanks anyway. And she may forever be that person, content with who she is. The other two girls are still too young.
But Em and I are going to play. (added value is a great bonding opportunity!)