I’ve chauffeured around student athletes, made dinner, helped with homework and tucked Matt in for the night. Riley, Jake and I are sitting together in the living room before bed.
“So,” I say, “did you guys notice that I got all my hair cut off today?” I feel half-naked, and every time I catch sight of myself in a reflective surface I need to chant, “hair grows back, hair grows back.” In my view, I’m practically bald.
Blank, puzzled stares from Ri and Jake. I hadn’t expected that they would notice, and it tickles me. I’m endlessly baffled when men fail to see things as obvious to a woman as a major haircut, and yet this absence of noticing seems so inherently male that I find it adorable and endearing: the earth will continue to turn on its axis, and men will always be men. But it’s still funny.
“This morning,” I explain, “I had really long hair, and tonight I have short hair. Did y’all notice that?” I swing my hair from side to side, and the ends now graze my shoulders.
Continued blank look, and then a quick glance at each other and their faces become animated.
“Yeaaah,” says Ri, “I thought something looked different.” He’s nodding and smiling.
“It looks really nice, Mom, ” Jake adds, “and it’s a different color, too. Right?”
My hair is the same color it’s always been. You know, since birth. I can’t help but smile; this is another thing I love about men, and my boys have shown me that it starts very young: they don’t want to hurt you, and they are very often clueless about how to avoid doing that.
Riley and Jake are both nodding and agreeing with each other that the haircut which was so obvious to them is really, really nice, and I look really, really pretty.
I fix the two of them with a grin and a raised eyebrow.
A brief silence.
“Nooo,” Ri happily admits, “I didn’t notice at all.”
“You got it cut?” Jake sizes up my hair, “I guess it does look a little shorter. I guess.”
“It looks really nice, though!”
“It looks great, Mom!” Adds Jake. “It’s a nice color.”
This morning as I help Matt pack his lunch I ask him, “You didn’t notice I got all my hair cut off, either, did you?”
He moves back to look at me. “You got it cut?”
“Yes, like all of it. How can you guys not notice these things? Oh my gosh, it’s just too funny!”
“Mom.” The ten-year old explains. “I’m a guy. Guys don’t notice hair unless it’s green or something really cool like that.”
Ah, clearly I’ve been going in the wrong direction with my personal styling.
He kisses me and runs for the door, calling back over his shoulder, “Love you Mom, you look really pretty!”
A slam of the door and he’s gone.