February 16, 2006

Long-haired Teenage Boys

When I gave Shaggy Hair Boy his pseudonym last year, he was thirteen years old, and his shaggy hair was falling into his eyes. He hasn’t had a haircut since, and the shaggy hair has transformed into a gorgeous mane of long curls that reach his shoulders. Boy in Black, my seventeen-year-old, now has the shaggy look, with locks of wavy dark hair falling into his face. Today I noticed that I couldn’t see his eyes any more.

Me: Wow, your hair is getting long.
Him: Yeah, I haven't cut it.
Me: You’ve got those scholarship interviews next month. Maybe you ought to trim it for that.
Him: I don't know. I like it like this.
Me: Yeah, but in an interview, people like to see your eyes.
Him: I was thinking it would be cool to have long hair for graduation.
Me: I think you would have time to grow it out again.
Him: You think I should cut it just for the interviews?
Me: Well, the scholarship is worth a whole lot of money. Might be worth a haircut.
Him: You think they are going to be biased because I look like a stoner? Aren't they supposed to be all in favor of diversity?
Me: I don’t know. You do have gorgeous hair. You look totally like a hot snowboarding dude.
Him: (laughing and rolling his eyes) Yeah, that's what all the girls say.
Me: Really, you and Shaggy Hair Boy have the best hair in the school.
Him: Well, I think it's funny that when people look at me, they see a teenager dressed in black with long hair and they think I'm a trouble maker. Or into drugs.
Me: And instead you are mad smart, and all gentle and compassionate.
Him: And nice to little kids. See, I'm shattering the stereotype.
Me: Well, it's a great look for you.
Him: I think it'll be funny to get up and give a speech at graduation looking like this.
Me: And of course you'll still be wearing that wristband.
Him: (holding up wrist) Yep. Still got it ....

26 comments:

ArticulateDad said...

I love it. I'm so looking forward to the teenage years. My goal is to have tenure before #1 is in high school. Shouldn't be too tough, he's not yet four.

Hopefully, the fashion will be something like...wearing clothes that actually fit your body, and glasses that aren't as big as headlights.

wolfa said...

You're right: he needs to not have hair falling into his eyes at an interview. This is why we have things like elastics, which hold our hair back without cutting it short. They are very useful, and available at any pharmacy near you. In fact, I buy a new set every few weeks, when I've lost all my old ones.

liz said...

Your kids are so great!

kermitthefrog said...

I laughed at "mad smart!"

hope he comes here and I get him for freshman writing next fall. :)

MonkeyPants said...

I laughed out loud at this. It reminded me of my little brother, who won the Regional Science Fair in 10th Grade. He and his best friend tied back their long hair, wore dress shirts, ties and jackets until the judges announced their decision. My brother and his best friend went up to collect their prizes with their shoulder-length hair loose and curly, and wearing their favourite Led Zeppelin T-Shirts, and kilts! The judges sure looked confused!

Best of luck to Boy in Black on those interviews.

Leslee said...

You do realize that I'm taking parenting notes, right? I like how you backed off and just let him be. Sure you might address the subject again when the time comes but you played it smart.

Teach me oh wise one how to deal with my 5 year old who is just like me with a little bit more bossiness.

Leslee said...

P.S. I can't believe he's taken such good care of that wristband!!! That's dedication.

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

I doubt that a white kid with long hair will count as cultural diversity, but I also doubt that long hair on a teenager with excellent grades will be a surprise to college interviewers either.

Scrivener said...

I'm pretty much with MmmR. Dr. MmmMmmMMmm on this one. Maybe you could convince him to have someone who knows what they're doing cut his hair so it's still long. I know when I was in college and just didn't cut my hair for a year, it did not look so good really. And doesn't hair grow faster if it's been cut a little? Or is that just some old wive's tale?

listmaker said...

RebelliousTeenager hasn't had a haircut in a year or two. When he finally decides to cut it, he's planning on donating his glorious curls to Locks of Love. They may look like stoners, but underneath all that hair are smart,sensitive, caring young men.

jo(e) said...

Dr. Mmmm(mmm)mmm: Oh, I don't think so either. In our conservative small town, people notice my boys' hair, but on a college campus, they would fit right in. And anyone talking to Boy in Black for more than a minute will quickly see that he is smart and soft-spoken.

Scrivener: Actually, his hair looks terrific without a haircut. Shaggy Hair hasn't had his hair cut in almost two years, and his looks great too.

The thing with Boy in Black is that his hair is in the awkward stage where it is in his eyes and I do think he should be aware that people like to see his eyes when he is talking -- especially because he can be kind of shy.

I'm just sort of kidding him about the hair though. I think he will ace the interviews with or without a haircut.

Lilian said...

I love this conversation, and, long hair in boys. My brother had long hair in high school and my mom HATED it. I didn't, of course, and now, after years of sorrowfully cutting my oldest son's curls, I have finally let them grow (he has insisted on it too, telling everyone he's letting his hair grow). I'm hoping that now that he's 4, people won't think he's a girl anymore (as a baby, people would always comment on the pretty girl I had, even though he was wearing blue boy clothes) - well, I have recently heard someone refer to him as "her" in a store (good he doesn't understand much English just yet)...

See, it's much easier with teenagers, at least no one thinks your sons are girls!!

ccw said...

I cannot believe the wristband is still in tact.

His hair sounds gorgeous. I love long hair on young guys.

Yankee T said...

We talk all the time about shattering stereotypes in our family. I love you and your kids!

Mona Buonanotte said...

I say leave the hair long but make sure he sits up straight and doesn't say "Um" too much.

Those kids of yours, jo(e)...they rock!

halloweenlover said...

pictures pictures pictures! I am very demanding. I want to see the hair of your gorgeous boys!

Anonymous said...

I am relatively certain that I have an inappropriate crush on Boy In Black.

SuperB

Mykal said...

Lilian I am afraid to say no matter the age some long haired guys will be refered to as girls and short haired girls will be refered to as boys.

My boyfriend has long hair pulled back in a ponytail and at 25 he still gets a lot of "can I help you miss" type comments out of people. When I was 20 I had the opposite happen to me, I had super short hair and got mistaken for a boy all the time.

Friday Mom said...

Is it possible that he's learned from someone that long hair is a good hiding place? :-)

jo(e) said...

When Boy in Black was little, his hair was long, and his cousins used to sometimes dress him as a girl just for the fun of it. He made such a cute girl -- long black eyelashes, gorgeous wavy dark hair, rosy cheeks.

But now he is so tall that no one ever mistakes him for a woman.

Shaggy Hair will sometimes get teased about his hair being feminine (it's so long and curly and gorgeous) but he handles the teasing just fine. My boys are pretty comfortable with being called feminine -- they don't see it as an insult.

jo(e) said...

Halloweenlover: Yeah, I am tempted to break my rule about not showing people's faces in photos on my blog and post a photo of Boy in Black because he is just so good-looking. All my kids are really gorgeous.

Friday Mom: I am laughing because of course you are right.

Mieke said...

Jo(e) you make the teenage years sound so good. I can't wait. Yes I can. Except I'd really like to be out of the preschool illness after illness after illness phase.

Did your boys ever do that disapperar into their rooms, quiet withdrawn thing?

jo(e) said...

Mieke: Our house is not that big, so it's tough for the boys to disappear. The downstairs is one big room, and upstairs, the three of them share one bedroom.

Shaggy Hair, when he is frustrated about something, will sometimes roll himself in a quilt and sort of hide in the corner of a room. Usually he falls asleep, and his mood is better when he wakes up.

Anonymous said...

wen i was a kid, i used to get mistaken for a girl. i didnt mind it

Anonymous said...

picture or it didn't happen

Nikka said...

i am 14 (just) and have long hair. None of my friends are bothered about it, styles are free and of all sorts. Sometimes adults look at me wondering if I am a girl or boy. I don't tell them i'm a boy. My English teacher is of the opinion that I am deliberately looking androgynous. That is not true. Now there are emo boys and girls the boys have long spiky hair usually not symetrical and dyed black. I think they are goths in disguise. Also why is it that there is the fashion for saggers and loose jeans for boys and very tight ones for girls. My girlfriend looks great in tight jeans and she says boys with a nice shape would look good too. I think emo boys have tight jeans but my hair is fair and I don't want to have it dyed black. There is one important thing about boys with long hair. If you are above eight years old, you have to be reasonably good looking to carry it off. I have seen some ugly boys with long hair it looks as though they are trying to distract you from their looks. Maybe you have to be cute. My girl says 'pretty boy' but she is weird anyway. NIce weird. She has short hair! Weird world but cool.