Friday, December 19, 2003

A good hair day

My son's school had its big Christmas program on Wednesday, and I was a little worried when my son said he had to wear "his holiday best" for the show. He was to bring something less than the best to change into afterward, and I didn't know how to tell him that his "holiday best" was pretty much the same thing he wore to school every day. So I put him in a heavy red sweater and tossed a thinner sweatshirt in his backpack to give him something to change into if everybody else was changing, and worried whether he would stand out as a slob amongst much schoolchild finery.

I needn't have worried. His schoolmates' attire ranged from shirts-and-ties to baggy sports-team t-shirts for the boys, velvet dresses to sweatsuits for the girls. He was somewhere in between, and that's good enough for me. The highest concentration of true "holiday best" was found amongst the kindergartners, who are still at an age when parents place a high priority on buying special Christmas clothes to show them off in. But what struck me more than the sartorial splendor was the degree of thought that had gone into the hairdos — of the boys. The kindergarten moms were hitting the gel pretty hard, I'll tell you.

I volunteered in the library that afternoon, after the show, and got to see the kindergarteners close up. Many had changed into casual clothes, but the hair was still splendid. One young fellow had his thick wavy hair coaxed up so high he looked like a little Lyle Lovett. On the other end of the spectrum was a tiny kid with wispy black hair gelled up into spikes. Man, he was proud of those spikes. He came up to me with a gleam in his eye and patted his springy head, just to make sure I noticed those sharp little points. It was like "Queer Eye for the Kindergarten Guy" had come through and gotten everybody styling. The only thing more impressive was the way the class's two identical twin girls in their identical dresses and identical hairstyles managed to get their hair mussed in identical ways. I marvel at this week after week, but if anything's going to distract me from it, it's going to be a five-year-old boy with mousse in his hair and a Mickey Mouse tie.

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