A New Look

I just noticed a man across the aisle from me, sporting a Mohawk haircut … I can’t remember the last time I saw someone making that definitive personal statement. It is frequently interesting to see the different ways that people express their individuality. Most people nail down who they are by the time they are in their 30s, though … this guy looks to be in his late 40s. He is wearing a T-shirt from the Seattle Children’s Theater … perhaps the cut is a part of a role he is playing.

When I was in college, a friend decided to shave his head for his 20th birthday. I walked down to the barber shop with him for a good laugh. The barber, an older man well-versed in the ways of college students, gave my friend lots of chances to back out, removing his hair in uniform layers until only an eighth of an inch stubble remained. Somehow I found myself in the chair, with a grinning barber asking, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Sure!” squeaked a voice that I still can’t believe was mine. No baby-step approach for me … in a single swoop, he cut a reverse Mohawk from the front of my head to the base of my neck. I walked out of the shop looking like a skinhead, and (I hope) a little wiser.

Would you buy a used car from this man? (This picture was actually taken much later, when I had quite the ‘head of hair’ in comparison to the original near-billiard shave.)

We had been enjoying a prolonged Indian Summer, with temperatures in the low 70′s. The next day (November 2, 1984) we skipped right past Fall and into Winter, with temperatures below freezing at night. My friend and I bought matching pea-green coats and walked around town like a couple of idiots, shivering miserably. I never realized just how much heat can be lost from the top of the head, when denuded of hair.

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The other day, one of our neighbors came by to show off her new hair color … she is starting high school in a few weeks and wants to change her look as much as she can. Hard to imagine anyone choosing to go brown when they are naturally blond, but she seems to have selected an attractive shade … it looks good. I think that I am going to need to be very flexible as my children move into the teen years … most parents really seem to struggle with their reaction to matters of aesthetics and in differentiating those from moral principles. It is also hard to see your child as a potential grown-up, when you remember (seems like yesterday!) changing their diapers and snuggling them in your arms.

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One of my favorite scenes from “Father of the Bride” is when Steve Martin’s character’s daughter announces her intention to get married. In the film, they swap out the daughter in mid-conversation and replace her with a six-year-old girl in pigtails, who announces in a little-girl voice, “Daddy, I met a boy and I’m going to get married!” Then Martin shakes his head, his vision clears, and he sees his 20-year-old daughter again, looking at him strangely. I suspect parents go through that kind of thing frequently.

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