“Touch my boy’s hair and I will break your arm.”
This is not a reasonable thing for a person to say, which I realised as soon as it flew out of my mouth.
It’s also clearly not true. #pacifist, #lovernotafighter, #wuss.
But parents are funny about their kids’ hair, and I am no exception.
The threat was made during a conversation about a story you’re probably familiar with by now – that of the Deputy Head Master of Melbourne’s prestigious Trinity Grammar school, Rohan Brown, who was fired from the school after he set about cutting a schoolboy’s hair just before the school photos were taken.
The boy in question’s hair was breaking school rules, by all accounts his family were not particularly perturbed, and the matter of Mr Brown’s dismissal is now before the courts, so that’s all we’ll say about that.
Listen to Andrew Daddo and I discussing the story on This Glorious Mess, here:
But it got everyone talking about who has the right to cut your child’s hair, comment on your child’s hair, touch your child’s hair. And that’s where things got a little defensive.
My son is nowhere near a teenager, he’s five. And he doesn’t go to a fancy Grammar school, he’s at the local kindy, but Billy has a lot of hair. Curly, fluffy, gorgeous blonde hair. And I am weirdly passionate about it.
When his kindy teacher kindly suggested that he might get it cut before school started, I took umbridge.
When friends gently suggest that he’d look more like the “big boy” he is now with a neat little haircut, I dismiss them with a snort.
When the hairdresser looks at his mop and turns their pleading eyes on me – “can I give him, like, a style?” – I stand and watch as the scissors snip. “No more!” I say, like a controlling idiot. “Leave his curls!”
What the hell is this about? It’s not about Billy. He doesn’t care about his hair at all – he cares about Lego and dinosaurs and whether his sister got more treats than he did on any given day – and I doubt he’s given more than two minutes’ thought to whether or not he should “grow up” and get a buzzcut.
No, it’s not about Billy. It’s about my idea of Billy.