Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bang Bang

My daughter had almost no hair when she was born. Of course, the ducky softness of her baby hair was wonderful, but I couldn’t help but worry when she reached one year of age and still had almost none.

Naturally, my worries were for nothing--soon enough she had a delightful head of blondish hair. Still, once it was finally long enough for a cut at a salon, I hovered nervously nearby while the options were discussed, interjecting comments, translations of what I thought my daughter was saying to the stylist, of what the stylist was saying to my daughter. I have no idea if this is normal; it’s just what I did.

Now that she’s fifteen, though, I know better than to meddle. I don’t remember that my daughter specifically instructed me to butt out, but clearly, my interference is unwelcome. To appear as detached as possible, I smile bracingly as she goes off with the stylist and then sit down in the waiting area to leaf through a book or magazine.

I don’t think my daughter realizes I can still see everything that’s going on. I purposely position myself so I can peek through the shampoo and conditioner display, to participate, however voyeuristically, in what’s happening to her. Call it an obsession, or overprotective, or rubbernecking, but I can’t seem to help myself.

There are things I want to call out from behind the hair care products, things like: “Are you sure you want it that short, honey?” and “Isn’t that cut going to be a little high maintenance?” Not only would that give me away, though, it would also serve to truncate her growing independence. We all have our own life experiences, and our own hairpisodes, to endure.

Case in point: Walking to the car after a recent cut, my daughter and I had the following conversation:

Me: "You went for the bangs!"

She: (tossing bangs, rolling eyes) "I should have called them side bangs."

Me: "What?!"

She: "This isn't what I wanted. They're too short! I wanted them on the sides of my face."

Me: "Oh!"

I think to myself that it’s probably because she's not used to them yet. But I'm not used to them either. They're reminiscent of Hilary Duff--long and tickling the tops of her eyelids, annoying to look at and probably to put up with, but I keep these thoughts to myself. It's too late now, anyhow.

Much later that same evening, I pause to visit my daughter at her laptop, to have another look at the new bangs, hoping I'll be used to them now. But something's wrong. She’s wearing sunglasses--the large, tortoise-shell kind, her new bangs draped over them in an exaggerated fashion--and it's ten o'clock at night.

Me: "You're wearing sunglasses!"

She (standing up abruptly and yelling): "I hate bangs!"

All at once, I get it: The sunglasses are keeping the bangs out of her eyes. She glares at me through the brown, tinted glasses, marches to her bedroom, turns, shouts: "I hate bangs!" once more, and slams the door. Bang!

Fondly, I gaze at her firmly shut door, so proud I could almost pop. Welcome to womanhood, honey. You've had your first, hairpisode!