Monday, June 6

The Hair Situation

Olive has been asking for a short haircut for several months now. Last year, in March I think, she wanted a big haircut (like Milo's). We cut her hair into a short but very feminine style. She was only three years old, and I wasn't sure she knew what she wanted. Sure enough, a few months later she wanted to be able to put it into pony tails, so we started growing it out. A couple months ago, she complained of her hair being in her face, so I tried giving her bangs to see if that made her wishes of a very short haircut to vanish. And it seemed to, for awhile. But in the last couple weeks she has mentioned repeatedly that she again wants very very short hair.

I've struggled with this. Will she really like it? Will she regret it? Will she be bothered when/if she is mistaken for a boy? But beyond all that, I struggled with whether I was okay with having a girl that looked like a boy. I consider myself really liberal about all this, and want her to be able to make her own decisions. And yet... I like the way she looks with longer hair. I like playing with it and brushing it (though she hates having it brushed). I wish it was long enough to put in a real ponytail or braids because it would be fun for me to style it.

But ultimately, I think hairstyles are something every kid needs to choose for him/herself. The best advice I got on this situation came from Emily. I fretted that she would be mistaken for a boy, and wondered if that would bother her. Emily said that maybe it would be a good thing, since I was always complaining about how differently people treated my boy and my girl, and that I wished people would quit calling Olive pretty and comment on her clothes or her dimples or whatever appearance-related thing.

Maybe people who don't know her will think she is a boy. Maybe they'll ask her about something meaningful instead of comment on her outfit. And maybe all that will add something positive to her life.

I'll miss her hair, but I think her excitement about her new style will get me excited too. She has a haircut scheduled with my stylist, Carly, tomorrow afternoon, and she couldn't be more thrilled. I found some pictures of various cuts for her to look at (a few adult actresses with pixie cuts, and a few 6-ish-year-old boys). She chose one of the boys' cuts. It's a bit of a social experiment, to see if her short haircut changes the way people treat her. We'll see.