How an Anonymous Story Made My Girl Smile Again

photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc
photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc

So, I took the girls to get their haircut the other day, and …

What? What’s so funny? Oh, that dad would be the one to take them? Psh. I’ve got this. I write of not being the “average” dad, and it’s true that sometimes I mean median income (I’m below) or median height (ditto).

I’m also 30 percent female, I’ve been told, and feel I do a good job as dad..

I make up for it, though, by letting my little kids use the restroom all the way in the back of Kohl’s, all alone, while I pour over the clearance racks in the men’s department in the front. But that’s another blog.

At best, I’m a slightly-better-than-average dad.

I’m the dad to drag the kids to SuperCuts. I’m the man who encouraged them to scour the hairstyle magazines mixed in with People and ESPN The Magazine in the waiting area. Introduced the wacky and wild, even.

Kids cuts

The kids had their own ideas, thank God.

Elise – a trimming of split ends, a bit of maintenance for the harshness she inflicts on her hair with the hair-curling/straightening/ironing contraption she’s in love with. Most of the length left in place.

It appeared to me as if the woman squirted down Elise’s hair, ran a comb through it, dusted off her eyebrows and shoulders, and charged me a cool $14.95.

Grace went second. Her request: A cute bob. Even I know what that is. Grace popped into the chair and onto the booster seat, requesting with authority a bob cut to *here* (demonstrated with a snappy salute about jaw-high), and, oh, yes, side bangs.

I still don’t comprehend the concept of side bangs. I do know they seem unruly to control, annoying to tame with a clip, and unmistakably likely to drop down in a girl’s face and obstruct her vision on the soccer grounds just as she’s about to make a shot or a save.

That’s just my opinion, though.

Grace bound from the chair as quick as she got in it, testing the new cut’s aerodynamics by sprinting around the store. Two down, Marie to go. Now, Marie came with a game plan. And diagrams.

A girl with a plan

She printed out pictures of actress/singer Chelsea Kane‘s do, from every possible angle.

Front. Back. Side. Side. From a tree across the street. Ant’s view. It took forever. I know this. I ran all the way through an article about Rangers manager Ron Washington, looked at pictures of Elizabeth Banks (twice), and sneaked out to the car to eat a bear claw.

Or an apple. I can’t remember which.

And we were still waiting, behind women with their hair wrapped in little bits of tin foil that did nothing but make me want to eat a gyro at a Greek festival. With those seasoned fries, and maybe even some baklava.


Oh, the kid’s hair. Well, it wasn’t cut right. How was I to know? I was the responsible dad. I watched as the clips went into the hair, just as they did for Grace’s. I watched those healthy hands full of chocolate eclair-brown locks wafted gracefully to the floor.

I saw Marie’s lips purse and jut to the side, and it occurred to me what a huge step this was for her.

A swing, and a miss

Eleven years on Earth and this is the first short haircut she’s had.

She’d seen this girl’s hair, Chelsea Kane’s, and wanted to make it her own. And, although I was oblivious at the time, it was being cut shorter than she wanted, in nothing of the style she’d picked. And diagrammed. And explained.

And wished for.

Two happy faces, one sad.She was fine the rest of the day. But the tears came the next day. Don’t get me wrong. The girl was still ultra cute. That pretty face framed with that gorgeous hair.

She’ll be so ticked when she finds out I’ve written about it.

One of her best friends said that when it grows out, her stylist mom will fix it, just like Chelsea Kane’s. So, I’d better tell an embarrassing story about myself. This’ll be easy. See, Marie, when I was in sixth grade, I had a hairdo wish too.

I wanted hair like Daryl Hall’s. You know, from Hall and Oates.

My own hair horror story

Yeah. The Hispanic kid with the round face and dark hair wanted the doo-wop look of a skinny white man. Don’t ask me why. I even brought the picture to the SuperCuts. Yolanda, the stylist, just sucked her teeth.

“We can’t do this,” she said, then proceeded to try.

It just wasn’t right. You can’t make a sixth-grade Latino boy’s hair look like that. Without shaving in a receding hairline. Or … Curling it. I don’t blame my mom, really. I kind of insisted on it.

So on a Sunday night, my mom tried it. She took her curling iron to a 12-year-old boy’s hair to test it.

It curled. Looked nothing like my favorite blue-eyed soul singer’s, but no matter. So we did it again Monday morning. There’s that moment in time you think something is a really, really good idea.

You can see it.

Like, in William Hung’s face, before Simon Cowell opened his mouth. When that fawn is in the meadow nibbling grass, just before the coyote … never mind. Anyway, I didn’t even make it to home room.

Nothing to see here

“Dude, what happened to your hair?” One kid said.

Psh. Nothing. What do you mean? (Just wait until the girls see.) “Ah man! Did you curl your hair??” No way. I don’t even HAVE a curling iron! I just – “Dude!! Eli curled his hair!” That’s all it took.

I managed to have a girlfriend or two that year.

I Made a few friends. But it’s a good thing student council elections came before the Great Curl. I’ve have never gotten the vote for president had I been linked to this: It wasn’t until I set foot in a new school, two years later, that the curls finally died down.

“Hey, aren’t you the kid who used to curl his hair?” I’d get asked occasionally.

Psh. No way, I’d say. Who does that? A dude, with a curling iron? So you see, Marie, getting a bit more chopped than Chelsea Kane really isn’t that big a deal. And if you mention this to your sisters … I swear I’ll take you right back to that lady.

Love you honey. Mean it.





  1. queenofchaosmom says:

    So many things made me giggle. The 30% female but making up for it with the bathroom and clearance rack (my husband does the EXACT same thing…what is with that?), the paying $14 for the dusting off of the shoulders, the side bangs (such a pain in the butt on every level), the bear claw, and then…the Darryl Hall haircut with the curls…I.cannot.stop.laughing. I’m sure it looked better than you are describing and who could blame you? I wanted Pat Benatar’s hair but had ears like Dumbo so that wouldn’t work either. It was a sign of the times but the curling iron…hehe. You are a good dad to share that story with her and I bet as much as she dislikes her hair, it’s not as bad as she thinks.

    On another note, I heard you got a new follower or two. 🙂 When you’re famous, I want to be in the “thank you” speech. 🙂

    1. There has to be a balance in the universe, after all – hence, my cavemanish behavior in light of my super-man powers as a dude. I swear, could I really make any of this up, between the pastries and the hairstyles and the hair wishes? I so hope your stylist wasn’t the one who made the Dumbo reference …

      She’s super cute in her hair ‘mishap’ – me, I was scarred.

      Yes, I did notice a newby follower, and someone I don’t.even.know. That’s a milestone. You’re the one closer to fame than me. I am totally riding your coat tails. Or whatever.

  2. queenofchaosmom says:

    It wasn’t my stylist that said it…it was a very, very honest relative that told me, “Man, if you could wiggle those, you’d be able to fly.”

    Just wait until the rest of the world gets wind of this blog…I’ll be riding yours (but totally flattered that you think I am the one closer) 🙂

    1. Wow – well, where’s Pat Benetar these days, anyway?

      I think I had a page hit once from Singapore, but they didn’t leave a comment. I’m not sure I’m ready for the world tour. Maybe I should address more global issues, although, what’s more global than lousy haircuts?

      I’m OK being way behind you, by the way. You’re about to become my first blogroll link.

  3. rsrote says:

    your post always crack me up!!!

    1. Thanks Pam – ever since I was a boy, I figured if couldn’t outhandsome, outrun or outsmart someone, I could always probably outfunny them.

  4. I’ve had my share of lousy haircuts. For awhile there in the 80’s I looked like a poodle.
    Glad I discovered your blog from the comment you left on my site. Funny post!

    1. Thanks! I like your stuff, too.

      I think we all were supposed to resemble canines of some breed during the 80s. The good old days.

  5. I can relate to Marie… I brought a Meg Ryan pic to my hairdresser once; – didn’t look anything like her… 😦
    We’ve all had our experiments with curls at some point, right? Especially our generation. Teenagers in the 80s – there was a lot of hair going on, hahaha!
    More importantly : is there any bear claw left?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I modeled a new shirt for Marie she said she liked. I said, “does it make me look handsome?” Her answer: “It’s a nice shirt, dad. It’s not a miracle worker.”

      (These kids!)

      The bear claw is nothing but crumbs at this point. It didn’t take long.

      Maybe we should bring 80s hair back.

      1. Asking if something makes you look handsome does sound kind of desperate 😉
        I think you are looking for an excuse to grow a mullet, am I right?

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Sometimes a man just wants to know he’s pretty, you know?

        I don’t need an excuse for a mullet – just a coupon.

  6. Brandi Raae says:

    I’m the mom who would steer my daughter away from getting a short cut.Terrible, I know. BUT, her hair is long now and she loves it. 🙂 (She’s 11, too.) Thanks for sharing your story at Literacy Musing Mondays.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      There’s a reluctance to even get our boys to cut their hair when they’re little, isn’t there? Not so terrible – we tend to consider lots about our darlings as precious! Haha. Eleven seems that age when they’re trying to become more grown up, too.

      I love the Literacy Musing Mondays linkup. I just realized I didn’t add the badge! Correcting that now.

  7. Oh….oh…that first bad haircut will scar you for life and you’ll never ever go back to that hairdresser again. After I had back surgery, I had to stand (well so to speak) in a wedding. I mean what bridezilla makes a woman wearing a full on back brace stand in a wedding? This bridezilla does. Her name was Sabrina. Anyways, I had to get my haircut and coloured since the surgery turned my hair grey. YES, the shock of it all made my hair sprout greys. Anyways, no one could fit me in so i went into some mom and pop shoppe. This woman gave me a Rachel from Friend’s hairdo only it wasn’t. My hair looked like a staircase to nowhere. Then she curled it and lumped it on my head. It looked like I had a nest of rats on the the top of my head. There was nothing I could do. She claimed that she didn’t want the hair to land in the velcros of my back brace. I was hideous. Hideous.
    At least bridezilla looked lovely 😛

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I don’t think she’s ever gone back to get her haircut by someone she doesn’t know, Kim! Sabrina … feels to me like she might have a karmic bad haircut in her future someday.

      I really kind of want to see pics of you on that day, too. I promise I won’t commit it to memory. I’ll switch back to that lovely shot of you on your blog right after I see it. Promise.

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