Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Daddy's Coif Shop (Just Max Bonding with His Daughter)

Recently I noticed that my “Baby Girl” is not such a baby girl anymore. She's growing up fast. Perhaps too fast. She’s no longer that little girl I so doted on, but is quickly reaching womanhood. And further, pretty soon she will be off to college and gone from my house. I get choked up when I think about it. So, I relish every moment we get to spend together, every memory both new and old.

Yesterday evening, she and I were going through a family photo album, and we came across a school portrait which was taken when she was about in fourth grade. For a full ten minutes or so, we rolled on the floor in laughter. It is perhaps the most horrendous school portrait known to humankind.

The day the portrait was taken, business had taken her mother out of town, so I had the responsibility of making sure she looked presentable that morning. And I was quite serious about my job.

So that morning, I got up extra early so I could get her hair just right. First, I went with the four twists with those little colored ball ornament things at the base of the twist coordinated with the barrettes on the end. But when I was done, she looked like the pickaninniest pickaninny of all time.

So then I decided to go with the two twists on either side of the head. But I couldn’t get the part right exactly in the center, so she had this mega-twist on one side and this little anemic twist on the other.

Undaunted, I went back to the drawing board, and decided to go with two afro puffs on either side of the head. You can’t mess up an afro puff, right? But I did. Again, the whole straight part right down the center thing proved to be my undoing.

But I would not admit defeat. I gathered all my strength and courage, and decisively went with the single afro puff to the top of the head. And it seemed to work. I was so proud of myself that I had to call my sister and let her know what I had done. I expected my sister to share in my joy, but she just paused before she answered as if she were measuring her words. Finally she said, “We’ll see just how this turns out.”

When I picked up my daughter from school two weeks later, she was absolutely inconsolable. She wouldn’t even speak to me. I was immediately alarmed. She never treated Daddy this way. When we got home, she pulled a package of pictures from her purse and shoved them in my wife’s face. My wife took one look, and this look of abject horror came over her face. She said simply but emphatically, “Oh, my God!”.
I moved around so I could get a better look, and I almost choked. There was my baby girl, my beautiful baby girl, forever remembered in pictures with the most wretched hairdo possible. I don’t possess the language skills requisite to accurately describe it. Let’s just say she looked like Buckwheat’s mulatto sister.

Evidently, during the course of the morning, her hair had frizzed up and slowly freed itself from the bounds of the elastic band I had used to hold it in place. That resulted in a big frizzy afro bisected neatly by a stubborn elastic band that refused to let go of what little hair it still held.
I felt bad about it, but I did the best I could. Lord knows I tried. I really did.

But that’s been years ago, and I’m so glad we can finally laugh about it now. I’m so glad she finally got over it. She was upset about that for a while. Needless to say, no one received a school picture that year.

When we finished laughing and reminiscing, she hugged me and kissed me and told me she loved me. You cannot begin to know how good that felt. One more memory to console me after she is gone. I guess now I’m forgiven.

I know there are a multitude of readers out there, both male and female, with some childhood bad hair stories of their own. Will you share them with me? And with your permission, I will post them sometime next week. If you want to include a picture, just email it to me at . Peace!


md20737 said...

That was a great moment to share. I bet you really thought you did a good job too lol I can imagine her mother looking at the pics thinking what was her father thinking. But it was the thought that counted. That showed how much you cared to take upon yourself to make sure she was pretty. And she was pretty in your eyes.

Drawtist_P said...

The important thing is that you loved your daughter enough to try. You may have crashed and burned, but you tried and she grew to appreciate it.

Thanks for the laugh,by the way.

SquarerootZ said...

Another great post bro. I have two daughters myself and whn they woiuls need their hair done and their Mother was not in the vicinity I wouls always go with the one large Afro puff as well. And just as your attempt did, theirs would always work itself loose at some inconvient point of the day. Usually around company or for some important thing. I understand your pain and share in your funny memory as well. I think that barrettes and ponytail holders are evil things, crafted by the manufactures in such a fashion that the male human hand cannot ever make tight enough and that combs and brushes when applied to the female head fall in the same category. It is a cruel and evil trick they play on us men. LOLz!

Ann Brock said...

Beautiful post! That part down the middle will get you every time. It's not as easy as it look.

Max Reddick said...

Thanks all for the comments. And yeah, Squarerootz, there seems to be some hair industry conspiracy against men. I never could get those little hair ornaments and barettes to work just like I wanted them to. And I don't have the patient to spend a lot of time on hair. At some point, I lose interest. Plus, my fingers start cramping.

KST said...

Great post! Your daughter has a wonderful daddy and that's all that matters.

My daughter's hair is a trial too. You've seen it now - you know what I'm talking about. I love her hair, but when she sees the comb - she starts hollering!

I'm glad you can laugh at it now, and your wife's reaction was classic.

Max Reddick said...

Yeah, my girl used to be what the old folk called "tenderheaded" too. But mostly she was just tempermental. Sometimes he would sit still while you did her hair, and at other times, she would scream like a darn banshee.

Recently, she went and got herself a weave, much to my disapproval I might add. But she and my wife were bonding, and what better way to bond than over hair weave?

uglyblackjohn said...

Oh damn... this post is funny.

I remember that I had gotten into a fight with my older sister (She beat the stew outta' me.).
The next day, all scratched, bruised and battered - I took my school picture.
When I got home a few weeks later and my mom asked where my pictures were - "They didn't come out" is all I said.

joe said...

Fathers shouldn't attempt to be hairstylists for their daughters. It never works out..
On a side-note, I had a black friend who, as a kid, used to wear 2 long pigtails. She cut off one.
Then she cut off the opposite eyebrow...
I wish I had a picture...

Judy Adler said...

Dear Max, you write a lot about racism, but you yourself are perpetuating the denigrating belief that kinky, natural hair is 'bad' hair. Stop buying into that. I wish black people would teach their children that they are beautiful just as they are and don't need to hide their natural, God-given hair or change it.
P.S. we follow each other on Twitter, I am @giftofmoney (I'm white) Blessings, Judy

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