"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Haircuts for Boys, sans Rocket Ships

As you can see, we let the boy's hair grow for over 18 months. It got pretty long. But super cute, right?

He was only mistaken for a girl once, even though he was wearing overalls with a football on the bib, which is downright iconically boyish, if you ask me, so it must have been the hair.

The mullet is also worn by
spiders from Mars.
His grandmother took it upon herself to cut his bangs a few times while she was watching him. A small price to pay for babysitting, but one more time and his cute, shaggy 'do would have turned into a mullet to rival Ziggy Stardust.

On Monday, Memorial Day, we opted for an official haircut. I thought I might just get out the clippers and buzz it down, but I know my wife well enough not to mention it. Our brother-in-law said we should go see The Russian, an old barber who's been at this little strip mall shop for decades, I guess. This appealed to my wife because of the spinning red, white, and blue barber pole in the window.

I'm not sure where she got it, but May was clinging to this Norman Rockwellian notion of a boy's first hair cut, complete with--I'm not exaggerating here--a rocket ship chair. I suppose I can understand this. I remember fondly the barber shop where my dad used to take my brothers and me back in the early seventies. Men with mustaches reading the paper and shooting the breeze, letting us kids sit in the tall barber chairs while we waited. To this day, the smell of that place--the wet hair and gel and cream--is what I imagine real men should always smell like. Still, I thought we could just go to Sport Clips where I get my regular hair cut, and even though it's a rather manly salon with a thorough sports motif, since there was no rocket ship chair, the wife wanted to try The Russian.

Unfortunately, when we pulled up, the lights were off and the "Open" sign was dark. Worse, the barber pole was not spinning. Close inspection of the window indicated they were closed Sundays and Mondays. What luck. May agreed that we should go ahead and try Sport Clips. She didn't like that there would be no rocket ship, but it was that or no haircut. Naturally, Sport Clips was closed for Memorial Day.

We tried again the next day. By then, May had abandoned her dreams of yesteryear and rocket ship chairs and said she didn't care where we went. Sport Clips it was, then. When I went in to check wait times, the stylist (I don't think I can call her a barber, can I?) assured me she could take care of an 18-month-old and said it would be about a twenty minute wait. We began to get concerned about the boy, when after fifteen minutes he was running the length of the lobby, exploring behind the register counter, and climbing and falling off of several chairs and benches. Was he going to sit still long enough for a haircut?

Our stylist finally called us back and immediately took control by offering a Dum Dum sucker. Xander popped that in like it was the greatest thing he'd ever put into his mouth. He sat holding the stick, the candy firmly in place, staring at himself in the mirror while the stylist sprayed his hair wet and began cutting. The boy didn't move until she needed him to look down. Mom distracted him then with one of many iPhone apps, and he hardly moved and didn't make a sound. I had to hold his head in place in order for her to use the clippers around his ears, but again, he hardly seemed to notice. Even when the lollipop was down to a nub and getting fly-away hair stuck to it, he sat still and just watched the mirror. What an awesome kid.

The stylist kept as much hair clippings as she could for posterity. We now have an envelope of hair in his remembrances treasure chest. Not to mention all the pictures.

It's not as short as it could have been, but I still was concerned that like Sampson he would lose his mojo without his beautiful, flowy hair. I had nothing to worry about.


  1. "The Russian", that sounds traumatizing. I think you were probably better off at Sport Clips anyway ;)

    When we were kids, my mother would take us to the Lake Erie Barber College, where the students basically practiced on our hair. I have this little patch on the side of my head where hair has never grown for some reason (Of course now I have a big patch on my head where hair doesn't grow, but that's neither here nor there.) Anyway, I would never mention this patch to student when I sat down. Then, at some point, they would inevitably freak out and call the instructor over, because they had discovered the patch and they thought that they had done that to me. Usually my mom would have to come over and tell them that it had always been like that. Meanwhile, I just sat there the whole time completely oblivious to everything. I think that must have been my way of getting revenge.

    1. I don't think I could subject myself, let alone my son, to a "practice" hair cut. I'd probably just take him home and get the buzz clippers out after all.

  2. Ahhh...the first haircut. Both of my kids impressed me with their fabulous ability to sit still and let the hair-cutting people do their job. It makes things so very much more pleasant for everyone.

    Xander looks very handsome with his new haircut. It makes those huge eyes look even more enormous! (In a good way) :)

    1. I never got to do this with my older daughters. Their mom was divisively in charge of their hair. So this is all new to me.

      He does have big eyes, doesn't he?

  3. There have been a few times where I was going to get a haircut and there would be some toddler in there taking the place apart or screaming at the top of their lungs about getting their first haircut.

    I'd look in the door and think "Maybe some other time."

    You got a pretty good kid there, Brent. I'd keep him if I were you.

    1. It's been the plan all along to keep him. It's nice to have that decision confirmed as the right one. :)

    2. Just remember if things go bad later....

      There's always adoption.


  4. Super cute! I hope Shelly sees this post. She'd love it!

    1. Thanks. I think Shelly's a little busy, but she comes around every once in a while.

  5. Awwwww, your little boy is adorable! Does he have a sense of his hair being shorter (and/or does he miss the longer style at all)?

    My son had his first cut after he was two years old. He'd grown lovely golden curls which frequently led folks to take him for a girl, but I didn't care. I forget now why we got 'em sheared...now that I dwell on it, we should've let them go longer. And yes, I still have that envelope with the clippings, which (15 years later) I think's a bit creepy and somewhat useless, unless I were to work some voodoo on him to keep him in line...Aw, man. Dang it. Dang it! Missed opportunity!!!!! :-D
    Some Dark Romantic

  6. Next time, I'd like to see him rock the mullet!

  7. He looks great. I guess I've been reading your blog off and on for longer than I thought. I remember when he was a little newborn. And then the sleep study tests. He looks so grow up now.

    I did the same thing with my boys. I put off cutting their hair for as long a possible. There's something about that soft, fine baby hair that keeps them from growing up too fast. When it's cut, they go from baby to little kid.

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