At night, after my son has had his bath, I sit, patiently combing the knots out of his hair.
But I won’t ask him if he wants a haircut, because he’s told me he’d rather cut off his leg than his hair. He’s been growing it out for more than two years now, and it hangs down well past his shoulders. Why does he want long hair? Apparently it’s “a rock-star thing”. OK.
It is still a big deal for a boy to have long hair.
“When are you getting a haircut?” people ask him. Even his grandparents can’t resist bringing up the question.
Anyone meeting him for the first time automatically assumes he’s a girl. There’s confusion and apologies when I say he’s not.
At least no one is forcing him to cut his hair – not at his public primary school, anyway. It’s a bit different in the US, where there’s been a string of high-profile cases involving long-haired lads.
Last month, four-year old Jabez Oates from Texas was told he wasn’t allowed to start school because his hair was too long. His mother Jessica started a petition on to protest the sexist dress code.
“My family is Cocopah Indian and hair has always been a sign of strength,” she wrote.
Elsewhere in Texas, nine-year-old Habib Abunijmeh was told he had to cut his hair, which he had been growing to donate to an organisation that makes wigs for kids with cancer. His mother Faye also started a petition, pointing out the lack of logic in the rule.
“So how is a girl’s long hair any less disruption or safer than a boy with long hair?” she demanded.