Why I Won't Cut My Son's Hair

When did it become the rule that boys should have short hair? There are lots of grown, masculine men who have long hair. Yet, while Maximo is far from having an Axl Rose 'do (he has a little bang in front of his eyes), he is immediately labeled a girl by many who see him.
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Since he was born, my son has had a lot of hair, and I've never wanted to cut it. In fact, it's tradition on his father's side of the family to buzz a child's hair at an early age because they believe it will grow back thick and beautiful. I cried when we did this to Max at three months, but apparently it worked -- he had long, beautiful hair again before the age of 1.

When did it become the rule that boys should have short hair? There are lots of grown, masculine men who have long hair -- David Beckham, WWE wrestlers, Jon Bon Jovi and other ultra-manly members of rock bands of the '80s, to name a few. Yet, while Maximo is far from having Axl Rose hair (he has a little bang in front of his eyes), he is immediately labeled a girl by many who see him.

This especially makes me angry when it's clear that he's a boy -- like when he's playing on the playground in an all-blue Nike sweatsuit and Jordan sneakers. Do people typically dress girls in head-to-toe basketball wear as toddlers? No. Sure, I can handle the LOLAs (Little Old Ladies of Astoria) calling him a pretty, pretty princess (sometimes), but other moms? Come on.

We live in New York City and I see a lot of boys here with long hair, so I know I am not the only mother who has allowed her son's locks to grow out. In fact, I see a lot of really odd things that aren't "normal" to the everyday American look, but that's the beauty of living in such a melting pot of a city.

So why won't I cut it, you ask? There are lots of reasons and some are probably the same as why you don't want to cut your daughter's hair:

1. Because I don't want him to look like Jim Carrey

The first time I decided to cave and cut his hair was after he was called a girl for three days straight while we were out and about in the city. I figured maybe it wasn't fair to him, and I should try to see how he looked with a shorter cut. I won't mention the salon, but let's just say they didn't really care anything about the fact that I only wanted a "trim." They butchered him, giving him a bowl cut that closely resembled Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber. And I had to pay for it.

2. Because it's cute (and we're New Yorkers)

It may not be for everyone, but I love Maximo's long hair. He's always had beautiful hair, and it just seems to suit him. A little guy with the name Maximo needs futbol-style locks, not some average American-looking boy cut. Plus, he's a New Yorker. The world looks to us as trendy parents. We're meant to be trendy. It only makes sense that Maximo would rock some longer layers.

3. Because I'm lazy (and busy)

Ever since that traumatic first cut, I've been highly skeptical to let anyone touch Maximo's hair again. I finally trusted a stylist at Cozy Cut's for Kids located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but we live in Astoria, Queens, so it's quite the trek to just get him a trim. And as a boy, keeping it short means you have to go often. While I will plan for a quick drop-in if we are in the area, life doesn't often send us that way -- and I'm just not going to take a screaming toddler two hours out of the way for a trim. (Those subway riders who laugh at his hair should appreciate it too.)

4. Because I am cheap

Haircuts aren't cheap -- typically, each cut costs me about $50 (after cut, tip, and the purchase of whatever toy made him happy enough to sit still for 15 minutes). Since boys require a lot more upkeep to keep hair short, it could cost upwards of $50 or $100 a month -- that's $600 to $1,200 a year! In hair cuts for a toddler! So, honestly, that's why I often look at him and think: "Well, I guess we can wait till next week..."

5. Because he needs to learn how to handle these kinds of situations

There are going to be moments throughout his life when people will misunderstand him and even tease him. Maybe it won't be his hair in a few years, but there will always be something. That's just life. If he learns from the very beginning that everyone is different and can choose to be the person they want to be -- from long hair and tattoos to religious hats and markings to whatever -- is that really a bad thing?

What are your thoughts on haircuts for boys? Leave your comments below!

Stephanie Barnhart is the NYC Editor at Mommy Nearest and founder of Football, Food and Motherhood.

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