The Great Hair Massacre of 2011

Oh yeah, before my recent haircut, I would have fit right in with the ladies in this family. Minus the dress.

“You look like one of those Mormon Duggars,” Uncle Uncle said to me as we lunched recently and I contemplated cutting my overgrown hair.

“They’re not Mormon,” I replied, taking a bite of chips and guac.

“That’s not the point,” he said.  (Oh no he didn’t!)

“How come Kim Kardashian and Angelina Jolie can have long hair, but I can’t?” I asked defensively, thinking that my argument was solid.

“Shack up with Brad Pitt and we’ll talk,” Uncle Uncle said to me, his favorite sister, with a smile.

A couple months later Uncle Uncle came for a visit and we were watching C.J. play with his Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  I could tell that Uncle Uncle was deep in thought.  I waited for it.  I knew some incredible insight was coming.

Picture this hairstyle, with red hair, on a four-year-old effeminate boy. That's C.J.!

“C.J. has the same haircut as Liza Minnelli,” he said thoughtfully.  “You know that old lady short do.”

He was right and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Haircuts are a tricky thing for C.J.  He usually wants his hair long like Rapunzel.  Which is just fine, except that the minute his bangs are long enough to get in his eyes he gets annoyed and goes crazy, often times wagging full-on war, swatting them out of the way and, then, crumbling to the ground in defeat.  He decided that he wants shorter bangs and longer hair on the sides and the back.  I have a hard time being okay with that because he would look too much like the mascot for Dutch Boy Paint. 

C.J. often describes this haircut when asked how he wants his hair.

It’s an age-old problem; wanting beautiful long locks but not being patient enough for the growing out and styling process.

Whoopsie! C.J.'s Mom cuts bangs like this.

A few days ago, I decided to cut C.J.’s bangs myself because they were falling in his eyes and ruining his life.  The good news?  He no longer looked like Liza Minnelli.  The bad news?  He looked more like Jim Carrey’s character from Dumb and Dumber

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. 

I was over the long waits and service at our usual Cool Cuts 4 Kids, so I decided to take C.J. and pop into Hair Masters, which is right next to our grocery store.

We walked in.  C.J. was wearing a green hoodie, jeans and white sneakers.  He was carrying a plush Rapunzel doll, but otherwise looked all boy. 

The stylist took us to her station. 

“What kind of cut does the pretty girl want,” she asked, running her long acrylics through C.J.’s super-thick red hair. 

I ignored her because I simply thought that she misspoke.  She referred to C.J. as a girl again and I corrected her. 

“He’s a boy,” I said with a look and tone that questioned her intelligence.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I saw the doll and….,” she trailed off.  Sadly enough, I’m getting used to people apologizing and trailing off.

C.J.'s favorite part of getting is hair cut? The styling cape. Duh.

Two more times she referred to my son as a girl.  Was she crazy?  Did she just not care?  Was I overreacting?  I corrected her each time she made the mistake.

She proceeded to give him the worst haircut of his life.  She sprayed water in his face, scared him with the blow dryer and told him that he needed to concentrate on what he was doing.  Now, last time you got a haircut, did you have to concentrate on what you were doing?  I sure didn’t.

“If you tell HIM what you are going to do before you do it, this might go a little smoother,” I said to her as she trimmed his bangs and dropped hair directly into his open eye. This lady was clueless and I was near tears or verbal assault. Finally, the great hair massacre of 2011 was over. 

“What flavor lollipop does she want?” she asked. 

C.J. looked at me.  Apparently we were both fighting back tears. He choose grape and we left.

“I’m sorry that lady wasn’t very nice,” I said to C.J.

“Yeah, she was so in-propriate,” he said as he enjoyed his candy and skipped along.

There are no words....

The next day I called to complain to the manager, who really couldn’t be bothered with the details of a customer’s bad experience.  She offered to fix the botched job.  We went back to the salon, but I’m not sure it was worth it.  Apparently they are not, as their name would indicate, masters of hair.

If you’ve been following our adventures, you know how important hair is to C.J.  Right now, the poor little guy doesn’t like what he sees in the mirror.  That makes me sad, because I always want my boys to like what they see in the mirror.  I’m trying to help him by getting creative with the styling of his hair.  We do the old Justin Beiber swoosh to one side and the Robert Pattinson bed-head disheveled look.  We’ve even, at the suggestion and direction of C.J.’s Brother, tried the Nate Berkus.  Those make him feel better.  We’ll ride out this phase together until he once again likes what he sees in the mirror… and, in the meantime, we’ll look for a new stylist.


About raisingmyrainbow is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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17 Responses to The Great Hair Massacre of 2011

  1. Pingback: My Son’s Hair Stylist Is His Hero | Raising My Rainbow

  2. Cole says:

    I am a DFAB transgender individual who is pre-testosterone, and my goodness I have the worst time with hairdressers. I have a men’s haircut and ask for a men’s haircut and even bring in pictures of men’s haircuts but as soon as I open my mouth and they hear a “girl’s” voice, they automatically go on about how to make it “feminine” and try to make everything I want more “feminine”, and it’s just so frustrating and I don’t even know what to do. I have wound up in tears (curled up at home with my hackjob hair) on many occasions. I’m sorry you and C.J. had to go through this; it can definitely be tough 😦

    • Mel says:

      You could try a barber maybe? As they only deal with men’s cuts you shouldn’t have the problem of them attempting to make the style more “feminine”. There should be some that are accepting, regardless of your “girl” voice. My friend found a barber that would give her the “masculine” haircut she wanted, regardless of the fact that she’s female, so even if they do misgender you (here’s hoping they don’t), you should still be able to find one that’s willing to do your hair.

      Anyway, here’s to better haircuts for all!

  3. Karen Burch says:

    My son has always wanted Anakin hair (yes, Anakin from Star Wars). He started growing a braid behind his right ear (like the Jedi Padawan) when he was five and when he was about eight he started growing out the back. In his mind’s eye his hair is long, wavy, red and well styled (just like Anakin in Revenge of the Sith). In reality it is dish water blond but dyed red (quite a feat in a pre-adolescent boy) flighty, thin, fine mop.

    At one point he needed a trim. We went into a Cost Cutters and told the woman he wanted the sides and front trimmed, but the length left in the back. The first thing the woman did was cut the back of his hair to the hair line. I was in tears. If she had cut his braid (which is now half way down his back) I would have been arrested for assault. I called the manager. I called the regional manager. I called the corporate headquarters. The biggest issue was the stylist had a preconceived notion of what she thought his hair should look like and started to cut it that way. I was furious, but it didn’t fix his hair.

    I think you probably deal with preconceived notions a lot more than I do. I applaud your courage, your wonder, your ability to build a world in which your son can be whoever he wants to be.

  4. Mibo says:

    My little guy has the whispiest set of blond hair u have ever seen with a calic that would put Alphalpha to shame! I know your pain Mom! My Nana grab bags has learned how to do a trim better than any salon & it has saved me from the awkward hair salon experience 🙂

  5. Sarah Kathryn says:

    Have you tried looking around online for tips? The first 1:30 of this looks relevant: (I don’t know why it’s boy-identified specifically, since I bet my mom would have appreciated this kind of tip when she was trimming my bangs with masking tape. Either way, if I still had bangs, I’d be trying this on myself.)

  6. tlh-in-tlh says:

    My mom used the “pageboy” or “Prince Valiant” on all 3 of us (2 girls and a boy, or 1 tomboy, 1 girly-girl and 1 “regular” boy). It didn’t really work on any of us, but that was what she knew, and stylists and barbers were not an option. (Yes, she used the tape on the bangs, too.) So, sympathies, and keep on hunting.

  7. Melissa T says:

    Awww poor child! Hair master huh? Didnt know cutting simple bangs was that complex. Finding a decent stylist is VERY hard!

    My lil one is 5 and he has the blunt cut bangs and his hair is down to his shoulder blades so the girl comments are automatic it seems. Every time I explain to a stylist that ” she ” is a he they just want to cut his hair short. Last time I sat through the entire trim and shaping of the bottom and then only after she was done did I let her know the lil girl she just finished was a boy. Should have seen her face…OMG!

  8. Sabbdu says:

    I love bangs…lol even though my face is not for bangs I wish I could get my haircut lik willy Wonkas (Johnny Deep) hahahah
    Believe I know what youfelt when that lady acted like thatwith little Cj, I have been on similar situations, if I choose gay guys to do my hair some of them are envious ( my hair is my first priority ) so…
    And girls or Heterosexual people because they don’t understand what and how I want my harcut…they are either racists or IGNORANT …they don’t know how to treat others….
    I live in Los Angeles CA 5 years ago I met this Girl she became one of my best friends, everytime I need a haircut she knows what I need or she just knows how and what to suggest … young Girls are GAY friendly so I think you wouldn’t have any issues with little Cj’s harcuts…

  9. Alistair says:

    Can’t say I understand why hair is quite so important to people but I recall how miserable I was as a kid whenever hair choices had to be made. Pointedly I think my Mum put me through sixteen years of punishment for insisting on the “wrong” styling selection the only time she asked me… Eventually I just buzzed it off – ’cause it made her angry. Nowadays I just cut my own, not perfect but it saves cash and I no longer have to deal with people. I may not be much a judge of looks but why don’t you try give CJ a “hippie” look? Use bobby pins to hold the bangs back until they grow out. Or taper-cut them. The page boy look is not too bad. I think…

  10. maddox says:

    At CJ’s age I probably would’ve made a much bigger fuss about a bad haircut. Wait, I still do. The lesson I learned is that the more you pay, the better it comes out. Sad but true. When gender is important, hair is as well.
    As for CJ, try to give this a positive spin – tell him that he can take advantage of trying out a new style, just go crazy and experiment, it can’t turn out worse. Or turn it into a nice opportunity to go shopping for headwear – that can be very fun too.

  11. Jean says:

    I am so sorry for the horrible experience your little boy experienced. I will say I am glad that you stood up to the nasty hair stylist. Keep up the good work – you are your child’s best advocate.

  12. Carl says:

    Ugh. Hair issues.

    One of my sons is African-American and the other son is bi-racial. Finding someone who can cut “ethnic” hair in a predominantly white part of the country has proven to be a challenge. On one occassion, my sons wanted lightning bolts shaved into their hair. Mistake! My poor kids looked like they’d gotten mange and I was furious. We’ve gotten lucky and found someone with skill but I dread the thought of losing her.

    Keep up the good work with CJ. Making the effort does matter.

  13. Colleen says:

    You made me laugh out loud at your tale of woe. As someone saddled with naturally curly hair, I know all too well the heartbreak of a bad haircut. Add to that the fact that when I was a child, the only haircut my mother knew (other than the standard trim & bangs for my straight-haired siblings) was the shag… yeeeeah. I was a handsome child.
    I quit going to the chain salons in college, because I was tired of taking in a picture of Meg Ryan’s cute curly bob and walking out with my hair resembling a brown football helmet! Finding the right stylist takes time and effort. My go-to guy retired 2 years ago and I’m still bouncing from salon to salon, so I feel CJ’s pain.

  14. Cameron says:

    One possibility…hunt down a GLBT stylist. (ignore stereotyping *sigh*) One, they will adore your son. Two, they will not even blink, they will applaud how you are raising the Lil’ Rainbow, and three, they will do a good job.
    The guy who does my hair is a gay barber, and he is excellent…he listens, I can be myself, he pays attention to what I want, and he is absolutely unflappable. LOL! I took my very, very feminine wife out on a “girls day out” when she first moved here to get hair done, and so, we were heading towards the shop, which had the typical “barber pole”. She ground to a halt, eyes widened and said “A barber shop???!!??” A few hours later, she was convinced and will go no where else. Obviously, you will want to look for skill as well as the GLBT factor…but I guarantee that CJ being the delight he is as himself, will NOT be part of any issues!

  15. Paul says:

    Don’t worry, CJ. Bad hair is something we all have to put up with. The truly fabulous like yourself can handle it with gusto.

  16. Blackshire says:

    A bad haircut is pretty traumatic at any age, I completely feel for CJ! Never even mind the crazy lady with the lisp (that’s got to be why her H’s come out SH right?).

    Probably counter-intuitive, but is there a local college with a hairstyling school? Often those students are so intent on doing a good job that they’re better than the old gnarled hands you find in the malls and such. The younger the stylist the less likely they’d be to stammer over CJ’s doll I’d wager too.

    My mother used to do my bangs with a line of tape. Now that I think about it, I probably was styling the Dumb & Dumber look an awful lot as a kid too.

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