In which my son learns the term “mullet”

boy blond curls

Golden Curls, Long Lashes, Big Eyes, Rosy Cheeks

boy blond curls
Sweet Golden Boy

My son is so pretty.

He is often mistaken for a girl, despite wearing the same Nike “soccer” clothes nearly every day for a month.

(He is obsessed with the Nike swoosh, which he’s grown up seeing on his brothers’ soccer uniforms. Brand loyalty starts young, people.)

I’ve considered exploiting his looks, ruining his life, and contradicting my anti-consumerist tendencies by signing him up to be a child model.

I mean, hey! He’s the youngest of four. He needs a college fund!

His being mistaken for a girl doesn’t actually bother me

I want my children to have access to the full-range of gendered activities, clothes, and ways of expressing themselves. The balls, blocks, and trains he plays with are hand-me-downs from my daughter. His favorite color is pink (just check his toenails); he loves to play soccer and basketball; and he takes care of baby dolls and “cooks” at his pastel kitchen. There’s no reason for these things to be incompatible. He’s preparing to be a modern, new-age guy.

It’s true that he is more physical and less verbal than my daughter was, but he’s likely to want to wear a skirt and spin after trying to fight me with a “weapon” he’s made from a spatula.

But back to his hair! His beautiful, golden, curly hair!

I just love it.

First Haircut
First Haircut

He was bald for a loooooonnnng time, and his hair grew in random wisps and tufts. I removed a long wisp that made him look like an oompa loompa, and another when it got stuck in the wheels of a motorized toy train.

He finally had his first official haircut a few months ago, at age two and a half.

It was truly just to even things out. I couldn’t bear to let go of the curls. I told the stylist, “Not too short, I want him to still look like a baby.”

His haircut grew out into beautiful, perfect Goldilocks curls–the kind mothers can’t bear to cut off.

Despite countless hints from my husband and others, I’ve resisted trimming them.

However, the past couple weeks, even I’ve had to admit he needs a hair cut.

Because I keep, um, “forgetting” to take him to a salon, I decided to take matters into my own (unskilled) hands today. I was just going to lop off a couple curls in the front that made his hair look like a typical little girl’s bob.

But cutting those resulted in a mullet. A mullet!

I told him I’d have to cut more, all the while thinking, “What the hell am I doing? This is a classic mistake!” 

“But I WANT a mullet!” he ignorantly countered.

I told him, “No. You really, really don’t want a mullet.”

I took him into the bathroom, stood him in the sink so he could watch in the mirror, and began cutting.

And cutting.

And cutting.

In a few fateful minutes, we went from a sweet, golden baby to a big, tough boy. What have I done?

How do you feel about long hair on boys?

Do you cut your children’s hair?

Do you think there are innate gender differences?

How much is hard-wired (genetics/nature) and how much is cultural (created, enhanced, and reinforced by friends, family, and advertising)?

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28 thoughts on “In which my son learns the term “mullet”

  1. I suspect my nephew may end up with long hair, because his dad has long (ish) hair. My eldest niece (his biggest sister) has waist-length hair, and no. 2 niece (the middle sister) has shoulder-length, which she cut to that length herself! Whatever the kid is most comfortable with, is what I say.

  2. I had long hair as a kid and was mistaken for a girl all the time (I had great legs too but that’s a different story). I sported a pretty sweet mullet all through college and recently had grown another one, but I had to cut it for work.

    I prefer my boys to have long hair. They both had great heads of hair like your son, but Cool wanted his cut short so we did that and it’s never grown back as curly. My wife isn’t as enamored with the long hair as I am and I’m constantly on her to NOT TOUCH THEIR HAIR! G$ has some cute curls now too, but I’m sure momma will whack them off as well. I say long hair, but it is easier to tend to the short variety!!!

    1. My husband’s side of the family has an obsession with haircuts. It’s like a greeting. Instead of “hello, how are you?” it’s “you need a haircut!” Why is it such a big deal???

    1. Ugh! The bowl cuts! I know them well.

      I tried to make a high-brow comment about how “bulgur” you are on your hilarious quinoa post last night, but WP wouldn’t let me.

  3. Kylie, a very similar thing happened to my youngest. He had a beautiful head of curls I loved. I never wanted to get his hair cut either. I think I waited as long as you did, and once he got a cut, they never grew back. He was a big boy then. Precious little curls. I know how you feel! Maybe your son’s will grow back.

  4. Oh my gosh, he looks like such a cherub! Adorable! I HATED when my husband would get fed up with the boyo’s hair, and persuade me to trim it, it was always a disaster. For a while he had really lovely yet masculine long hair. I don’t know quite what happened but the texture of his hair the last year or so changed and now it HAS to be short or its unruly and frizzy.

    Kidlet is definitely boy all the way. We never threw blue and trucks at him or anything, he just naturally kind of came up with his own interests, which we then encouraged for the most part.
    I was always such a tomboy though – my parents never dissuaded me from climbing trees or fishing or anything someone might associate with boyish behaviour. I guess I think we are what we are?

    1. I think it’s lovely when parents notice what children enjoy and are good at, and encourage them to grow in those directions.

      I know ALL about frizzy, unruly hair. Mine is out of control. It changes texture every seven years or so, just when I’ve learned how to deal with it. My hair was the inspiration for so many mean nicknames in grade school that haunt me to this day.

  5. Long hair on little boys is so adorable but your little one looks great with both styles. So fricking cute!
    Our six-year-old has shoulder-length curly hair. I’m only allowed to trim it every six months… or else I get the stink eye.


    1. Than you!

      Is your six year old a girl?
      My daughter really does not like to get her hair cut, which I had to do regularly bc she used to chew on it. I say used to, but the truth is she has started to chew it again. I would never dare cut HER hair myself. I will definitely leave that to the professionals!

    1. Thanks, Rara.

      After talking all day about how he’s a “big boy” he came up to me and said he wanted to be baby and called me “mama googoo gaga.”

      This is turning into a mommy blog!!!

      1. Haha! 🙂 A few posts about movies wouldn’t make you worry about being a movie blog, a few posts about cats wouldn’t make you worry about being a cat blogger– and a few posts about your kids shouldn’t make you worry about being a mom blogger. A niche can’t catch you unless you want to be caught! 🙂 xo!

        Also, mama googoo gaga is the sweetest thing ever. 🙂 I love how much his energy is captured by the photos!

        1. aw thanks! You are the best.
          I recently decided to stay at home and not seek any more contract work for awhile, so I’m having a little identity redefinition. I’ll have to write about that.

  6. I don’t mind my son having longer hair, but he’s a fan of getting it cut when his daddy gets his done (which answers the second question!) When Logan was little he was mistaken for a girl by an older guy, but that was the first and last time anyone made the mistake despite him also loving his little play kitchen 🙂

    1. That’s funny!
      My husband gets his hair SHORN periodically and then lets it grow out about an inch and then he’s back at the barber. I think he was hoping for a crew cut on our little guy, but that’s just too much!! Or rather, too little.

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