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