When my son was an adorable, chubby-cheeked toddler his hair was thick, straight and blonde. In short, it was just perfect for an English-schoolboy bowl cut. It took him from "cute" to "ridiculously cute".
He is now 13 years old and just a tad short of six feet tall. So, maybe that would be no longer... appropriate, but something had to be done. The older boys here in France tend to wear their hair long, but Severin's was completely out of control. He 'd peer out from under the long fringe, looking like a particularly large, affable sheepdog.
JP and I had tried to convince him to go to the hairdresser, to no avail. Thinking that maybe he was afraid of our local salon making him look like a provincial loser, I even offered to take him to a hairdresser in Paris when we were there.
But yesterday, JP came back from his week in Ouaga. At dinner he carefully studied Severin, who was concentrating on his plate of stir-fry. Unfortunately, when he's deep into his food (as teenaged boys often are) he tends to hunch over his plate, as though he's afraid it's going to be snatched away at any second. The curtain of hair hung down, obscuring the vegetables and chicken. From behind the barrier, crunching sounds were audible.
"That hair's pretty long, Severin" JP remarked mildly. "Why don't you let your mom cut it?"
"OK." he mumbled from behind the curtain, and then resumed crunching.
We've been trying to take him for a haircut for six months and all of a sudden he says 'OK'?
To a haircut from his MOM?
"Are you sure you don't want me to make an appointment for you up in the village?" I asked, just to make sure I hadn't just had a massive auditory hallucination.
But no. He really trusted me to cut his hair.
After he washed the dinner dishes, he went up, wet his hair and came back to the kitchen, looking completely unconcerned.
Me? I was concerned.
Sure, I trim the girls' hair all the time. But cutting guy hair? Guy hair is hard!
How was I going to do this?
He sat down in the kitchen chair. I opened a drawer and took out my trusty secret hair-cutting weapon: scotch tape. When I trim the long hair of my daughters, it works a treat: you simply stick it on at the level you want and cut just above it. You get a straight line and all the snipped bits of hair stick to the tape.
The only problem was his older sister.
"Tape?!" Valentine barked. "You are so NOT using the tape on him!"
Apparently, she was there to protect her brother's interests, even if he himself had nothing to say on the subject.
"But it makes it so much easier." I whined.
"You are NOT cutting his hair straight across!" she informed me
"But..." I protested.
"You are layering and tapering and you'd better get to work," she commanded.
I sighed, put down the tape and picked up the scissors, mentally reviewing everything I knew about haircuts.
Besides "use tape" there wasn't much.
But then , what's the worst that could happen? I mean, if it looked really horrible, he'd HAVE to go get it professionally done, right?
So, I twisted up the top sections with a pink Hello Kitty clip borrowed from the twins and got to work.
I did my best, trying to seem capable and confident, even if I was neither.
And guess what?
I actually manged to give him a completely new, shorter, layered haircut. It has shape and style and does not (Valentine assures me) announce to the world : My mom cuts my hair.
As Severin looked in the mirror, seeming pretty pleased, JP passed by and pronounced it "Much better".
"Just don't tell anyone your mom did it" advised Valentine. "They'd make fun of you at school"
"That's right" I agreed. "It's our secret. Only we'll know the truth ...and everyone who reads my blog, of course"