“but she looks like a boy”

Our second hair cut experience happened the very next day. I took M to my own stylist and things went SO much better. I won’t be taking her back to a “children’s salon” again, because their lack of experience in general shows, and you have to be the best of the best to do grown up type hair cuts on toddlers. Anyway, M had a great time watching the other patrons get their hair washed, and re-arranging the shampoos and hair care products on the shelf. When it was her turn to hop up in the chair, she did, and she sat there and got her hair evened out, the choppy parts blended in. It was a relaxing and even fun experience for us! I learned the hard way not to go to just any old salon, although to be fair my four-year-old niece really likes it there.

First thing M did when she got to school was run up to everyone and exclaim, “I got a haircut!” while pointing to her hair. After the trauma of the experience, I was very pleased that she was now enthusiastic about it! I keep wanting to style it and play with it, and she keeps batting me away. Ok, ok, I get it. Leave the hair alone!

I did have that one person today who told me that, “Moms these days, you just let your kids do whatever they want. You let her have short hair and look like a boy.” Blah blah blah. Thank you for the comment, now I feel even better about the hair! She can look like a boy! I loved her pretty long hair and of course I think she is a beautiful girl, but is also a tough, handsome, playful, rambunctious little “boy”. She doesn’t need long hair to feel good about herself, or to feel feminine. She also doesn’t need to feel feminine! She needs to feel comfortable, confident, and happy and that is how she feels right now with short hair. It’s also the message that I want to send to my little girl!

So here is a great song by Dar Williams called When I Was A Boy which I think covers the issue perfectly:

I won’t forget when Peter Pan
Came to my house, took my hand
I said, “I was a boy”
I’m glad he didnt check

I learned to fly, I learned to fight
I lived a whole life in one night
We saved each other’s lives
Out on the pirate deck

And I remember that night
When I’m leaving a late night with some friends
And I hear somebody tell me
It’s not safe, someone should help me

I need to find a nice man to walk me home
When I was a boy
I scared the pants off of my mom
Climbed what I could climb upon

And I don’t know how I survived
I guess I knew the tricks that all boys knew
And you can walk me home
But I was a boy, too

I was a kid that you would like
Just a small boy on her bike
Riding topless, yeah
I never cared who saw

My neighbor come outside
To say, “Get your shirt, ”
I said “No way, it’s the last time
I’m not breaking any law”

And now I’m in this clothing store
And the signs say less is more
More that’s tight means more to see
More for them, not more for me
That can’t help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat

When I was a boy, see that picture? That was me
Grass-stained shirt and dusty knees
And I know things have gotta change
They got pills to sell, they’ve got implants to put in
They’ve got implants to remove
But I am not forgetting
That I was a boy too

And like the woods where I would creep
It’s a secret I can keep
Except when I’m tired
Except when I’m being caught off guard
And I’ve had a lonesome awful day
The conversation finds its way
To catching fire-flies
Out in the backyard

And I so tell the man I’m with
About the other life I lived
And I say now you’re top gun
I have lost and you have won
And he says, “Oh no, no, can’t you see

When I was a girl, my mom
And I we always talked
And I picked flowers
Everywhere that I walked

And I could always cry
Now even when I’m alone I seldom do
And I have lost some kindness
But I was a girl too
And you were just like me
And I was just like you

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

5 thoughts on ““but she looks like a boy””

  1. I love Dar Williams and that song. And I’m sure the same moron who made that comment to you probably has an issue with boys who have long hair. I like to say to students who express narrow minded ideas, “Hmmm. You seem to be really uncomfortable with people who push against the conventions of gender our society has constructed. Why don’t you reflect on your own experience and what may have shaped that response?” Not easy to do in conversation, but super fun to smack people down in class discussion.

  2. So happy to hear that went better! I bet she felt a bad vibe at the first place and was more in control of the experience the second time. She is gorgeous any which way and that song is a favorite of mine. I had to verbally smack my friend’s much older brother for starting to scoff at Wallace in a play dress. My son loves his wild long hair and your daughter now loves her short hair. So what?!

  3. ugh people. my 2 1/2 year old boy has long hair. he gets called a girl all the time no matter how he’s dressed. but every so often there are THOSE people who feel the NEED to comment on it as a judgement of my parenting. i’m usually at a loss as to what to say in the moment. he’s got long hair, get over it and mind your own business. at least that is what goes through my head afterward. 😉

  4. I’m so glad you both had a better experience, and that she loves it!! She looks beautiful, and I know it’s so much easier for both of you! My daughter was told a few times she looked like a boy too, when she went even shorter (and now, as a 15 y/o, has buzzed short hair on the sides, and random colors on top) as a ten year old. She’s grown it out and cut it back off so many times… And yes – as Brooke said, that person was a moron. So glad M has your love and support, no matter her hairstyle.

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