First haircut by Beth

31 Jan

I assumed that we would give Leo a haircut when he was about 1, but then around then he developed these gorgeous curls out the back and there was no way I was going to interfere with those. At around the 20 month mark I noticed that the ladies in the local bakery, strangers on the street, were assuming he was a girl. This didn’t really bother me “stupid fools!” He could be holding a car, wearing a blue t-shirt and brown shorts, but because he had long hair they thought he was a girl. Besides, I’ve done gender studies stuff at uni – I know a thing or two about all that heteronormative bullshit was put ourselves through – having to conform to people’s ideas of who we are! Screw you guys!

Also, it was going to be emblematic of my little boy growing up. 😦

But then, Leo started to say “I not a boy, I a girl”. “No, honey you’re a boy. Louis and Ben and you are little boys, and Annie’s a little girl”. “No mummy! I a girl!” For all my cultural studies high-horsing, this got to me. I pictured him being teased, and I wanted him to get that haircut. Jeff was keen too.

It wasn’t just up to us though. We went to the hairdresser several times with Jeff over the months and offered for him to sit in the chair too, but he always strung us along “another time Mummy”. Just after Christmas he had one of his friends over, and they were in the sandpit. I saw my chance and went over and casually started cutting off those loose golden curls. I didn’t tell him what I was doing, but he announced to his friend “I getting a haircut” and he really liked it, especially the fuss everyone made of how good he looked with shorter hair.

We went out that afternoon and a sweet little old lady said “what a lovely boy” or something similar and I felt relieved. Things were as they seemed. His gender intact and unthreatened. Yet another eat my hat moment in a two year eating of hats spree I’ve been going on.

Curl Man with moustache


9 Responses to “First haircut by Beth”

  1. Karen January 31, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    Heehee. Always gratifying to see another mother experience the discomfort of conforming to heteronormative bullshit like I did 🙂

    Finn is actually still quite attached to the female gender. Today he asked if there were boy mermaids. I was delighted to be able to say there were mermen (See! It’s just as exciting to be a man even though you don’t get to wear sparkly hairclips). He replied that he would like to be one, but actually, it’s better if you call them mermaids too. Not mermans.

    • Beth January 31, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      Good on you Finn!

      It’s actually not something that I’ve talked to other mums about – I think because most people I know just followed all the heteronormative bullshit without a second thought.

      Leo wears my lipstick, and he really wants to wear my earrings and has trouble understanding that he doesn’t have the extra holes you need. He wore a necklace to playgroup today but wanted to take it off when we went to his friend’s house this arvo. It’s so natural to want to dress up and want to play as another gender. What I didn’t envisage was how strongly I want to protect him from people being cruel to him if he doesn’t conform.

      It is a complex thing to negotiate, isn’t it! Nice to know I’m not alone.

  2. Tabitha Carvan February 5, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    At the airport, I noted a gossip magazine cover saying Angelina Jolie has GONE TOO FAR and cut her daughter Shiloh’s HAIR TOO SHORT. It featured a photo of Shiloh with A DINOSAUR TOY. Basically Shiloh is a boy now.

    • Beth February 6, 2012 at 3:30 am #


      • Justyna February 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

        There’s a little boy at our local park who likes to push a pink pram around with his bear in it. When I got chatting with the mum she told me she gets regular abuse from strangers (mostly grandmothers) for turning her son ‘gay’. Yup. Poland for you.

        p.s. I love the hair plate.

      • Suzysiu April 29, 2012 at 11:41 am #

        Because heterosexual men never push prams and care for children! Absolutely ridiculous.

        I feel a little sad about those curls but I am no stronger. I have tried to make my daughter wear a headband when she’s looking a little unisex. But people are morons, they often barely look at the child, they make very quick assumptions.

    • Karen February 7, 2012 at 5:59 am #

      Shiloh was born around the same time as Finn and I’ve always fancied there was a semblance. Now that Shiloh’s had her hair cut boy length, she’s a dead ringer. They should totally swap gender roles.

      PS read how awesome Angelina is about it, and she obviously gets way more shit than we do –

      • Tabitha February 7, 2012 at 6:06 am #

        Hey, that is actually quite a resemblance! Must be because you and Richard are dead ringers for Brad and Ange.

      • Beth February 7, 2012 at 10:11 am #

        Nawh, bless little Shiloh. And good on Ange. I have totally thought that Shiloh looked like Finn before (note, her looking like Finn rather than Finn looking like her, because he’s way more famous).

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