My dignity is having a bad hair day
This never happened with my sons.
They never sneaked up from behind during a football game on TV and asked if they could “fix” my hair.
It has been 11/2 years since I became the father of two girls and I still don’t know what to expect or exactly how to react.
I do know that trying to preserve any sense of dignity is a lost cause, especially when it comes to hair.
Considering how little dignity and hair remain, I reluctantly agreed to have the latter fixed. What harm could it do?
Addi the teenager derives great pleasure from insulting me and likes to make fun of my mostly barren head. She wants to know why I bother using a blow dryer.
I’m not sure how to explain it to her. Maybe it’s like a person who has lost an arm, but can still feel a ghost limb in his nerves. Maybe I’m blow-drying ghost hair.
Of course, I don’t tell Addi this. It would only give her more ammunition.
“Blow-drying,” I inform her, “gives my hair that full-bodied look.”
When I agree to have my hair fixed during the ballgame, Evie the 8-year-old comes armed with brushes, barrettes and other unidentified beauty aids.
While the defensive linemen flush the quarterback from the pocket, Evie carefully brushes and tugs, and tells me how wonderfully things are going atop my head.
“You’re going to love it!” she promises.
Evie is my old canoeing buddy. She’s always ready to go paddling with the canoe club or hiking in the national forest.
On a cold night last week, we built a bonfire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows. Evie sat on a log, telling ghost stories and composing campfire songs on her guitar. The ghost stories all included a scary white wolf and the campfire songs all included lyrics that poked fun of Dad.
One minute she’s a tomboy in a karate stance and the next she’s
a princess in a pink Hello Kitty dress.
My job, as I understand it, is to recognize whether she’s in tomboy mode or princess mode and play along accordingly. That could require subjecting myself to punches in the gut or serving her royal majesty.
Or it could require sitting still during the football game while my young stylist pulls hair into tight little clumps and clasps them together with barrettes.
Evie tells me how pretty it looks and hands me a mirror to judge for myself.
I nod approvingly at the garish reflection in the glass and tell her she has done quite well, considering what she had to work with.
Thankfully I still have enough hair to be fixed.
As for dignity, it’s too late.