Robby’s Hair

My husband keeps his hair clipped short. He has beautiful thick curly hair, but you would never know it. He cuts the curl right out. He thinks it makes him look professional and well kempt. I think it’s a shame.

We have three sons, and until they went off to college, they also wore their hair in short clips. It was mandatory in my household, but it wasn’t my rule. My husband favored military hair styles, and they all abided.

The first thing they did when they went off to college was grow their hair. They didn’t shape it or trim it up. They just grew it. My first son gave up after deciding that the trouble of maintaining shoulder-length hair wasn’t worth it.

But my second son, Robby, hasn’t cut a single hair in thirty nine months. He was virtually bald during high school. He kept his head shaved to the scalp for wrestling. As soon as a mere millimeter of fuzz appeared, he would buzz it smooth. He thought this bald head made him look intimidating and fearsome on the wrestling mat. But I thought his hairless head made him look vulnerable and defenseless, like a newly hatched baby bird. Something about seeing the pale blue veins under his scalp and the exposed shape of his skull made me want to protect him from his burly, mop-headed opponents.

I was glad when he came home for the first time sporting a full head of hair.

Now, Robby’s hair falls well below his shoulders and is absolutely gorgeous. It is thick and shiny and has more body than any one man deserves. In short,  he makes Fabio’s hair look thin and stringy.

I inherited my thin, limp and unruly hair from my mother. Like me, she is both proud and fascinated by my son’s hair.

            “What does he do to it to make it so thick and manageable? How does he make it curl just so, and hold it all day?”  We query each other as we push our sparse, drooping strands out of our eyes.

  When I am asked how Robby is doing or what he has been up to, I don’t relate how he is doing in college or what he did this past summer. I tell them about the hair.

            “How’s Robby doing?” someone might ask.

            “His hair is really long and thick and it has a natural wave,” I respond without hesitation.

            “Um-hum, how interesting,” they reply, usually in bewildered tones. “Is he still in school?”

            “Doesn’t matter. His hair is FABULOUS!”

My husband gives me the evil eye when I complement my son on his gorgeous mane. He doesn’t want me to encourage any more hair growth.

            “He’s going to have to cut that hair if he wants to get a job,” my husband says curtly to me.

 But he doesn’t say a word about it to my son. My husband is a smart man. He knows there are all kinds of ways to assert one’s independence. Long flowing hair is the least of them.

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