For several years now, my son Nigel has been lobbying for long hair, preferably a razor-trimmed, shaggy skater-type look. Unfortunately for him, a herd of cows invaded my uterus and licked his head for nine months and genetics handed him thick hair that has a certain "Bendaroo" quality, so when his hair gets longer than a few inches, it begins to have a life of its own; the sort of life that Don Quixote would enjoy taking a poke at. Back in October of last year, both children were going on a fantabulous trip to Pittsburgh with their grandmother, so I insisted that Nigel get a short, military-style haircut. He was less than enthusiastic about it but acquiesced under his father's promise that he would be permitted to grow his hair until summer swimming season. Four months later, the kid's head looked like a dandelion gone to seed.
Having suffered under my own mother's rigidly-held hairstyling philosophies that included a lot of ultra-short, super-tight bad home perms, I have sympathy for my son's hair wishes, but the flat fact of the matter was, he looked like Oliver Twist when he was hanging with the street urchins. My mother offered to bribe him into getting a haircut, but even the prospect of cold hard cash wasn't budging him. I wanted him to look nice, but I also wanted him to do it on his own terms. Every time I saw a nice-looking kid on a television show or in a movie, I'd point out his haircut and ask Nigel if that looked like something he could live with. Nothing was ever quite right, except of course for Chef Gordon Ramsay, whose hair closely resembles Nigel's "dandelion do" due to Ramsay's near-constant frustrated fondling of it while searching for fresh, local produce.
Nigel's hair continued to grow while we argued gently about haircuts week after week. I began Googling "short boy's haircuts" and showing him pictures of both The Naked and The Jonas Brothers, Freddie Highmore, Haley Joel Osment and young Macauley Culkin. No dice. And even though he idolizes Michael Phelps, there was no way he was adopting his look.
One morning we were looking at YouTube videos of various sporting events such as that quadruple-amputee kid from Ohio who is a wrestling champion and the sweet autistic kid who nailed all those three-pointers recently, when we happened across a video of David Beckham. Nigel gasped audibly. "That's it" he said "that's the haircut I want!" David Beckham's "faux hawk" had made the cut, so to speak. So we printed out a picture of Beckham with his trademark "do" and off to the salon we went.
So now, every morning I see Nigel in the bathroom dampening his hair and putting in a little dab of "product" and carefully spiking and shaping it up and giving it that little twist that Beckham has, which the lady at the salon showed him how to do. Nigel likes his new haircut, which makes all the talking and waiting and searching worth it. He had to get a haircut, but at least he got to choose it and to a seven-year-old, that means everything.