It all started last night when Miss S, who likes to simultaneously suck her thumb and twist her hair, twisted her hair in such a knot that when my husband went to untangle it, a clump broke off.
It was about the third or fourth giant knot she’d given herself this week, so despite her Rapunzel dreams it was time for a chop-ity-chop.
Tonight at the salon, Miss Q went first, telling her stylist she wanted her hair cut above her shoulders.
The hairdresser looked at me for the okay. I shrugged and said, “If that’s what you want, Miss Q, go for it.”
I then discussed with her hairdresser how we (I) would like her to give Miss Q a straight across bob. ”With bangs?” the hairdresser asked.
“No,” I said.
“Yes,” Miss Q said.
“Okay, a fringe like this?” her hairdresser swooped Miss Q’s long straight hair across her forehead. ”Or on the side?”
“Straight across,” Miss Q stated.
The conversation leapt the tracks. I wasn’t prepared for bangs. As one who has had a love/hate relationship with them for 35 years I know they can be cute for a while, but then they can turn on you: become high-maintenance; grow out; kink; and all-round misbehave.
But Miss Q thought they were, well, I don’t know what she was thinking because like a stubborn mum in a loud salon, I didn’t ask her why she wanted bangs, I after all was the lord and master over her hair, I didn’t need to ask for reasons. ”Maybe you could cut the rest of her hair and then we’ll decide,” I briskly told the hairdresser.
Thankfully all parties agreed and I sank onto the teal blue couch to recover from the shock of Miss Q’s emerging identity.
“I don’t want a bob,” Miss S declared.
“I know, just a haircut,” I assured her.
Her hairdresser looked at me and fanned Miss S’s hair with her fingertips. ”What are we doing?”
“How short do you want your hair?” I asked Miss S.
She placed her hand at the back of her neck. ”This short,” she said. Clearly her dreams of Rapunzel remained locked in the tower.
“Like Miss Q’s?” I asked.
“Yes.” Miss S’s eyes didn’t leave the screen in front of her where Barbie twirled with her friends.
Secret bob it was.
Her hairdresser set to work snipping and slicing Miss S’s hair like she was Vidal Sassoon.
With both girls immersed in their movies and their hair dressers sculpting away, I began to re-think my stance on bangs.
What was I teaching Miss Q about her sense of self? If she wasn’t allowed to express herself through hair and clothes, what would she eventually rebel with? But, on the other hand, if I allowed her to express herself through hair and clothes at 5, would she tire of that and move to something else by 9?
Suri, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s daughter had a bob with bangs once and that looked cute.
Oh lord, I was turning to celebrities. Clearly I needed to relax and trust my almost six-year-old to know what she wanted.
As I was morphing back to Zen Mum, I glanced at Miss Q. Her haircut was entering the 45 minute mark, while Miss S’s was almost over.
Upon closer inspection, I noticed Miss Q’s hair dresser’s hands were shaking slightly as she squatted and snipped away at the underside of Miss Q’s bob. For some unknown reason, every fiber in my body wanted to end Miss Q’s haircut then and there, but politeness took over, as well as a little hope for salvation.
After about 5 more minutes of fighting with Miss Q’s formerly long, pin-straight, thick hair, her hairdresser called me over. “Your daughter has bad posture. It’s affecting her spine. Do you see how she sits crookedly, leaning this way, but with her head cocked to the side? It’s not going to affect her now, because she’s five, but if she keeps it up, by the time she’s a teenager, her spine’s going to be curved. You should get it checked every six months or so.”
Only in my world do I get spine management tips from a hairdresser.
“Thanks, we’ll keep an eye on that.” Miss Q was indeed off to one side, but she was engrossed in Kung Fu Panda. ”Miss Q, you’ve got to make sure you’re sitting up tall so she can cut your hair, okay?”
“Are we doing a fringe?” her hairdresser asked.
“Yes,” Miss Q said, without looking away from the movie.
No. Not because I didn’t want Miss Q to have bangs, but because this hairdresser was not the one to cut them.
Again the conversation was getting away from me, and the stylist’s scissors were already scoping out the first snip. I looked over to Miss S and hastily said, ”Could you do them like Miss S’s?”
Oh, did I neglect to mention she was getting bangs cut into her formerly long, straight, fine hair? Yes, sigh, in all my angst over Miss Q’s assertion, I had breezily given Miss S’s hairdresser permission to give Miss S a fringe. Hair grows, hair grows. Double standard, double standard?
Miss S’s hairdresser helpfully called out directions to Miss Q’s hairdresser on how she’d made the cut, but in the end Miss Q’s bangs were atrocious there was a clear hole in the fringe – in all of my 35.5 years I have never had or seen such a bad job.
Miss Q was beaming. She was so, so proud of her new hair. Even though it looked like she had cut her bangs herself, her haircut completely suited her. Thankfully Miss S’s hairdresser saw the mess and secretly repaired Miss Q’s bangs in the aisle once the girls picked out their treats.
Bragging mum moment: both Miss Q and Miss S were completely and deliciously edible in their matching haircuts. The bangs take the cake.
I drove away from the salon with two giggly girls, excited over the prospect of having a dad who wouldn’t recognize them. Full of joy over what they just accomplished. Miss Q even went so far to say she would need to wear a name tag on Monday so her teacher would recognize her.
I swear, these are the moments my friends, these are the moments.