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T’was The Night Before High School…

T’was The Night Before High School
And All Through The House,
A Woman  Was Screaming
As If She’d Been Dowsed,

With Gasoline.

Let me explain…

Over the past 14 years, I’ve had several thousand ‘Parental Talks’ with my one and only child. We’ve discussed everything under the sun. When he was younger we covered the danger in playing with matches, not to stick his fingers into electrical sockets, and why he shouldn’t talk to strangers [especially online]. As he’s grown older we’ve talked about the reasons he should wait to have sex, how he will never have to quit smoking cigarettes as long as he never starts, how doing drugs and drinking too much alcohol will ruin his life. And why he shouldn’t get tattoos. Yada. Yada. Yada.

[Side bar: Yes, I know that makes me a hypocrite. And when my son grows up if he ever becomes a parent he can be a hypocrite too.]

On the flip side, I also realize every teenager needs a creative outlet in which to express themselves. Therefore, a very long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea.

I promised my son he would always be ‘allowed’ to do whatever he wanted with his hair. He could grow it long, he could shave it all off. Hell, he could shave shapes and letters into the side of his head if he wanted. He could even dye his hair the color blue. After all, nothing can be done to hair permanently. You can either grow it back, or cut it off, or dye it another color.

Sheer Genius.


Sadly, this little arrangement came back to bite me on the ass.

And right before his FIRST DAY of High School as a Freshman.

My son decided he wanted his ash-dirty-blond-locks to be a brighter, bolder, blonder color. I was rather hesitant. In fact, I begged him to reconsider. Alas, my son is quite the negotiator and quickly reminded me of our previous ‘Agreement.’ [#damnedpromises]

As we perused the isles of the local CVS, my biggest fear was that I would accidentally turn my son’s hair orange during processing. [Because most of us women have been down that road and we all know what a traumatic that experience can be.]

Thankfully I found a box of semi-permanent hair-dye with a shade that really wouldn’t change the color of his hair too much.

See for yourself.

Before Photo:

During Photo:

After Photo:

I thought I had dodged the bullet.

I colored my son’s hair. I loved the results. And as far as I was concerned, I kept my word. [#tragedyaverted.]

However, my son was hell-bent on making some kind of ‘Dramatic Statement.’ And to be perfectly honest, he doesn’t ask for very much. A mere two days later, [also known as the day before high school] my son pouted, with rolling eyes, and desperately pleaded with me to color his hair one more time?

I reluctantly agreed.


But this time, I called in a favor from a girlfriend who just happens to be a professional stylist and master colorist.

I believe the rest of this story will be best told via ‘Photographic Evidence’ complete with ‘Captions’.

I stared at my son with my mouth ajar as tears welled up in my eyeballs. Black spots flashed before me. My heart was racing, my palms were sweating and I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. My son was no longer recognizable to me. His hair looked like he was wearing a clown wig.  [#ihatebozo]

My girlfriend repeatedly reassured me she was NOT finished coloring his hair. And for a brief moment I was relieved. Unfortunately, my girlfriend and I had a funeral to attend. And due to time constraints we wouldn’t be able to correct the hair-situation until much later that evening.

As I drove home I couldn’t even make eye contact with my son. I just hid my tear stained face behind my enormous sunglasses.  My son on the other hand, was psyched about the orange results. Go.Figure. [#whatiswrongwithteenagers]

The minute we walked into the front door of our house, my son announced to everyone, “Okay people, I dyed my hair, and it’s all too shocking. Be prepared.”

And ‘All-Too-Shocking’ it was.

My mother reacted coolly and calmly with a simple, “Oh, my.” While my grandfather clearly stated, “What the hell? If he’s going to start high school tomorrow with hair like that? He’s going to have to learn how to fight!” [#clownsarecreepy]

At that precise moment, I began handing out heart-felt apologies to my mother for all of the things I ever did to my own hair and body during my teenage years. I sobbed uncontrollably asking her to please explain how in the world she ‘handled’ raising a kid ‘like me’. Because if I was this upset over something as simple and fixable as my son’s hair, how the heck did she deal with me running away, getting tattoos,  and smoking cigarettes?

My mother laughed and tried to talk me off the proverbial ledge.

She pointed out that I probably wasn’t really that upset over his hair, but more so at the idea of him growing up and going to high school.  And she was right. It wasn’t about his hair. It was about what his hair represented.  And clearly, I am not prepared for this.

I went off on a seemingly never-ending tangent imagining all of the Worst Case Scenarios.

I thought, is this the beginning of the end? If he’s already acting out now, it’s only going to get worse from here. Right? Are we totally going downhill? And….holy shit, he doesn’t even want to go to this high school. He’s been unwillingly separated from his core group of friends. They are all going to a different school. So what if the new kids make fun of my son about this crazy hair color, that will severely damage his self esteem, and that will only lead to him doing badly in classes, and that will make him depressed, and then he will want to cry, except that he doesn’t like to cry, so instead he will end up stuffing his feelings by doing drugs, drinking alcohol, and having unprotected sex, and then he will be so scared from the tormenting taunts he’s going to lash out and become a serial killer, and ohmygod, it will be all my fault for raising an axe murderer all because I let him dye his hair. I’m the worst parent ever. And what am I going to do when he starts to drive, and holy hell, where did all the time go? [#iamcrazy]

Then my mother reminded me of the time I dyed my hair the same exact color, at nearly the same exact age, and how I still turned out pretty terrific. She also mentioned that if this was the worst thing he was doing, I should shut the hell up and count my blessings.

I took a few deep breaths, collected myself, left the house, and went to the funeral. While I was there I really tried my very best to give my deepest sympathies. But honestly? All I could think was, my son looks like a fucking clown. MY SON LOOKS LIKE A FUCKING CLOWN. And he’s starting high school tomorrow. [#killmenow]

After my girlfriend and I left the funeral we made a beeline back to my house so we could begin ‘Round Three’ Of ‘Operation Hair Color’.

And here’s how THAT worked out….

Now just insert an hour and a half of waiting time,

Hundreds of photo,

And add some ‘toner’ to decrease the intensity of yellow-ness….


[*drum roll*]


Three attempts, several panic attacks, and one complete meltdown later, my son is utterly thrilled with his new hair color.

It’s not GREAT.

But, I suppose I can live with this.

For now.

If only I could convince him to get a hair CUT?

Then we’d be in great shape.

So tell me people.

What’s The Worst Thing You’ve EVER Done : To Your Hair? Or To Your Parents While You Were A Teenager.

Or Both?!

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  • I actually really like it and almost fell off my chair laughing at the Dragonball Z look. Your son is absolutely gorgeous no matter what his hair colour and I hope he enjoys his new school. At around the same age I died my hair jet black (from a natural almost platinum blonde colour.) My parents had all kinds of heart attacks. I looked like a witch as my hair reached to my waist at that time. I think I may have actually scared people when I went out in public as I lived in a beachside town where everyone was blonde and tanned. My father thought I had been possessed. Looking back it was quite hilarious. Crazy kids, eh?

  • Jules

    I got my belly button pierced my freshman year of college. My mom is super don't-alter-anything as far as hair, body, etc. My mom saw my belly button ring and didn't talk to me for the rest of the day. I've since then gotten a tattoo (when I was 23) which she does not know about and hopefully won't, at least for a very long time. I'm far beyond being under my parents rules, but I still don't want to listen to the disapproval and lectures. 🙂 That's about the worst I've done!

  • I was a good kid, I tried the whole bleaching my hair thing when I was a young teenager as well. It was more out of boredom than anything else. It looked pretty bad, but I was too young to care. My parents didn't really care either. They were both young and crazy once… much more so than I ever was. My dad always used to say to me, “Son, you're never going to do anything that I haven't already done at least once. And if somehow you do, come get me, because I want to try it before I die.” I have yet to go get him.

    Your son actually looks good with blonde hair. If I saw him out on the street, I wouldn't think it was unusual at all. It certainly beats blue!

    Great post. I was cracking up.

  • Thank you Stephanie!


  • Oh Selma! I bet your parents flipped!


    PS: I hate teenagers!

  • 🙂

  • Your dad sounds AWESOME!

  • peedee

    Your going to hate me, but he looks adorable. lol You did the right thing momma. I let the small stuff go and saved my battles for the ones that really mattered. Alas, she turned out pretty ok!

    Just an fyi, when Lauren was in Aircrew training, I got a text message with a picture of her saying….look at my new hair-do. If I hadnt been sitting, I'd have fallen off my chair. She chopped ALL OF HER BEAUTIFUL CURLS OFF and now has a boy cut. And I mean boy cut. It took me weeks to get used to it. Its been over a year and she just said the other day, I think I'm gonna grow my hair out a little. I was ever so cool and said, “oh, thats nice.” Inside I was jumping for joy!

    No worries momma, they survive themselves and us, despite us. 😉

  • I used to dye my hair auburn…well really more of an eggplant color… I'm sure my parents were thrilled 😉 Your son looks very beachy with his surfer hair. My nephew wore dread locks all through school… he's an accountant now….hair grows and so do they.

  • Thank you so much for saying that!

    And, yes, I learned a long time ago to chose my battles!

  • 🙂

  • Oh how I loved this post. My kids can't dye their hair… Catholic school and high school… that has saved me. Of course for me… I've had a purple streak in my hair, a blue steak, all kinds of neat things…. I worked in hair place in H.S. and the gay guys always wanted to play with my hair. They were my best friends and we had FUN. So I think your son's hair is cool! The first 'hair painting' pic he looks like Edward on Twilight! I think he looks great in ALL the pictures. And I do have to say this. My boys would never EVER let me post a pic of them on my blog getting hair done… so you are LUCKY you have such a cool kid. He looks fantastic!

  • Thanks Katherine.

    I did tell him that I would ONLY allow him to do this

    IF I could blog about it!

  • Jeez I feel kind of lame. I never did much with my hair.

    But recently I was using the number 2 clipper to cut it, and the attachment slipped off
    and well, you know, can we say stripe!! I had to get the number 1 out and shave my head.

    It turned out okay. Both my boys have mohawks. It's only hair, right!

  • Its only hair. That's why I keep telling myself anyway!

  • Kellypea

    He's so cute, yellow hair, white hair, whatever, Mom. He's cute. I pretty much felt the same way that you did — my kids' hair is theirs, and the last one decided he just wouldn't cut it more than once a year. Now that isn't the biggie. The real issue was getting him to brush it. At one point or another, he was on his way to some not so cool looking dreds. But it's cut now. His decision.

  • I cant wait for my son to make the decision to CUT his hair.

    And he's NOT big on brushing it either!

    Thank you for saying my son is cute.

    Love you Kellypea


  • I made that same promise to my son, so far he has had electric blue hair, orange hair, neon pink hair and currently it is jet black (he's a blond). He wants to pierce his eyebrow but thankfully I have dissuaded him from that until after he has gone for his college interviews. When he turns 18 in a few months he plans on getting a back tattoo (his whole back) of the Hyrulian crest (Nintendo/Zelda thingy). He's not a big fan of pain so I figure the back tattoo might not happen but at 18 there isn't much I can do to stop him. I can't complain because he has remained on the deans list for the last three years and currently is the only student in the history of his school taking 8 classes in a 7 period day and acing all of them. If he keeps his grades up the way he has he can color his hair any color he wants.

  • Exactly Jennifer, as long as my son keeps his grades up too, I don't care

    what he does to his hair!

    Im glad you were able to prevent YOUR son from the piercing until AFTER he

    interviews for colleges!

  • Dstahlnecker

    The week of my high school graduation (way back in 64) I got a pixie haircut it was awful and even shorter then my chemo hair now….

    My mom almost killed me…this was an adorable post..thanks for the memories..

    Dorothy from grammology

  • Oh Dorothy! Welcome back!

    Hope you are feeling well these days?

  • What a great post, and it's just hair after all!

    The worst thing I did to my parents as a teenager was BEING a teenager. They were always kind of conservative so everything appeared to them as if I was ruining my life, when things were never THAT bad!

  • I was an AWFUL teenager! I should really thank my lucky stars its only hair!

  • Juney

    I died my hair 1 week before my BFF wedding in which I was the maid of honor. Brilliant move on my part… turned my mousy brown into carrot orange. It was freaking pumpkin!!
    Yep…that was fun.
    I won't even go down the road and tell the store where I put highlights in and ended up looking like a skunk.

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  • HA!

    Great Photo Sequence!!

    AND…. He probably gave you a couple grey hairs because of it too, huh?!

    I like!

  • I am 100% grey haired now!


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