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The stay-at-home dad: Haircut complications

by TYLER WILSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| August 29, 2020 12:00 AM

While I don’t quite understand why haircuts became a hot button subject on social media at the height of the pandemic, I’m here to tell you that haircuts can ALWAYS be stressful situations for parents of young children.

Case-in-point: My 3-year-old son refuses to get a haircut. He won’t let me cut his hair, he won’t let Mom, and he certainly won’t allow a stranger to do it. We ask him every single day, and every time he emphatically tells us, “NO,” or “NO CUT,” or “NO HAIRCUT AHHHH!” which loosely translates to “HELL NO.”

It’s been a YEAR. His hair now covers his eyes completely, and he only occasionally allows us to clip it up or pull it back in some way. He runs into doors because he can’t see.

Now you might be asking: “Why not just cut his hair even if he says no?” Yes, sure, we could just cut it… if we wanted to feel like torturers and listen to him shriek like a banshee and flail around like a beached shark. That very thing happened at his last haircut a year ago. The shark-flailing and banshee-shrieking went on for a full hour after the final snip.

Now as far as I know there isn’t some traumatic past event that explains his aversion to haircuts. I guess he just really likes his hair. He enjoys watching his older brother and I get a quick buzz cut from Mom at home, but then as soon as you ask him if he wants a turn, he begins nervously rambling, “Oh no, oh no. Not for me. No haircut. No, no no.”

So his hair grows on. Probably forever.

His older brother had a similar fear of haircuts around at age 3, though it never prevented us from getting it done. His fear stemmed from an odd experience at a barbershop that was recommended to me as being “great for kids.”

When we showed up at the place, the little waiting area was populated by three or four surly old men reading issues of “Guns & Ammo” magazine while a cable news program blasted something about Marxism on a little box TV over our heads. Listen, no judgement. I totally understand where I live, and the articles in “Guns & Ammo” can be captivating, but I would usually expect a barbershop described as “great for kids” to have a puzzle or an issue of “Highlights” or something. Everything smelled of rich, burning cedar, and the barber chair he sat in, while absolutely functional, looked like a rusted contraption from a “Saw” movie.

I might be exaggerating. The barber was very nice and did his best to calm the anxious little guy. Still, it wasn’t the sunshine and rainbows atmosphere I was hoping for given his apprehension. In any case, the kid usually likes his hair short, so we’ve been buzzing at home without issue for a couple years now.

On the other hand, my two daughters have always loved the haircut experience. My younger daughter, now 5, probably enjoys haircuts a little too much, because she doesn’t like to wait for when the adults want to cut it. On multiple occasions we’ve found scissors and clumps of hair buried in her bed covers. She has pretty thick hair, so she can get away with clipping some without us noticing… at least until we find the hair. It’s actually quite alarming to find clumps of hair in bedsheets, ranking right up there with spiders and dried, snotty tissues, in my opinion.

On another occasion, she convinced her older brother to clip some hair from her bangs, and, well, let’s just say it wasn’t her favorite haircut. We now keep regular inventory of all the scissors in the house.

Maybe it’s just destiny, as I’ve had a few bad haircut experiences myself over the years, from getting the back of my neck sliced open by an inexperienced stylist at a chain barbershop back in college, to a remarkably lopsided haircut mere hours before my wedding.

Or it’s possible that I cursed my family with the haircut sins of my own childhood, when I insisted on keeping a bowl cut too many years beyond its early 90s popularity. Perhaps we must all now pay for that hair faux pas. I think my 3-year-old would actually look good in a bowl cut. Anything at this point would be an improvement.

Tyler Wilson is a freelance writer and stay-at-home parent to four kids, ages 3-9. He is tired. He can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com.