Since becoming a father, my daughters have taught me many things, among them: a girl’s hair, though capricious, is to be treated with the seriousness of our national security, and as a male with a retreating hairline, I’m less likely than ever to have influence over their hair styles and variations.
Regarding the importance of hair, I’ve discovered through battles fought and lost, that girls have a complicated relationship with it, something between hate and tolerate, and so tread lightly when the subject arises, which is to say every day, at least once, sometimes more.
So obsessed are females with their hair that they spend millions of dollars each year on hair-care products, along with hundreds of hours in bathrooms performing some combination of washing, conditioning, brushing, drying, gelling, fixing, braiding, twisting, clamping, clipping and coloring to achieve a look that even they can’t articulate. Rather, they use pictures of other women as the basis for how they want their own hair to look.
What’s more, women with straight hair feel an imperative to make it curly, using scalding hot curling-irons, while others with curly hair feel an equally strong need to straighten theirs with flat-irons, which are also hot, scorching hot—yes, I’ve operated both, as evidenced by my still-healing burn scars.
And God help you if any of the women in your life have a calic, the mother of all female hair-care complications and the equivalent of being born with a third ear. Over the course of a woman’s lifetime this ghastly malady will most assuredly ruin thousands of mornings for its victim and anyone within ear-shot or brush-throwing radius.
Alas, in much the same way I take financial advice from my uncle Bobby, the plumber, my daughters take recommendations about hair styles from me, the bald guy. Never mind I know what looks good, they shut me down quicker than you can say hot-curling-iron or third-degree-burn. Any suggestions I make regarding hair styles are met with mocking glares of condescension that say “Whatever!” leaving little doubt as to what they're thinking “Shut up O bald one…..this is not your area of expertise, now go away.”
So, through experience my daughters have taught me, a) regardless of the many hours consumed and effort expended, women all across the globe mostly tolerate, but sometimes even hate their hair; b) My rapidly receding hairline, my Y chromosome (flippantly referred to as a “broken X” by some women I know), and my relative inexperience manipulating said hair, make all my suggestions and opinions regarding the subject inherently worthless.
Still, because I love them, because I’ll always feel the need to fix things, and because I’m good at making the same mistakes over and over, I’ll continue clodhopping my way into this delicate matter of hair styles, variations, and eventually make-up too when the time arises. So they’ll just have to get used to my unsolicited “Gotta fix it even though you don’t want my help” approach to fatherhood.