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.