As most of you know, Quin has long hair – past his shoulders now. This utterly confounds people out here. We’ve been through immigration several times now (this was the whole point of the trip to Macau), and each time, the immigration officer holds up Quin’s passport as if to ask – where is this boy? When Doug took the boys to the pool (without me due to my cold), the worker there frantically tried to prevent Doug from going in the men’s changing room, insisting that our “girl” was too big to be allowed in there. At school registration, Quin was offered culottes (the option for girls), not shorts (the option for boys). And when Quin and Berkley met two kids who spoke English in Tuen Mun, the little girl could NOT believe that Quin was a boy; she must have stared at him for 5 minutes trying to puzzle it out (I could just see her thinking – am I making a mistake with my English?). I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
The phrase “boy, long hair” has been used to try to explain on each occasion; we’ve now realized that as long as Quin keeps his hair like this, we should probably learn that phrase in whatever language is spoken in the country we happen to be in. There’s something fitting about this; back in the days of my brutal Dorothy Hamill bowl cut, I was frequently mistaken for a boy. Now, I’m the mother of a boy who is frequently mistaken for a girl. Given how often he complains about brushing his hair and the facts that it constantly looks like he stuck his finger in a light socket and it’s insanely hot here (a good indicator of how hot it is – whether Quin wears a ponytail or not; since pontytails are “for girls,” he’ll only pull his hair up when it’s completely unbearable), there’s a part of me that just wants to cut it (although I fear I wouldn’t recognize him if he did cut it as this point). But there’s a bigger part of me that’s really proud of him. Despite the constant misunderstandings, complications and strange looks, he refuses to cave to pressure of all sorts. He likes his hair long, and that’s the way he’s going to keep it.