Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quin's Hair

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.


  1. I agree 100% on your last point. Makes me extremely proud that all of the external pressures can't make him change his mind about his hair. If you ask him, he'll tell you he just likes how it looks, and he doesn't really care about being mistaken for a girl (even when it happens continually, as it does here).

    It does not make me so proud that he is equally stubborn about not brushing it or putting it into a ponytail...

  2. i'm so proud of him too! These comments get directed at Emmett as well here in the States, but not with the intensity and frequency that you describe. Way to go, Quin!


  3. Shannon... I can relate. When I was young I asked where the restrooms were, and the waitress told me the little boys room was around the corner!!!! I still get teased by the family to this day for that. I think I might have had that same Dorothy Hamil haircut! :)

    Love reading you updates!
    Take Care

  4. Shannon (and Paula)
    I remember both of you with those haircuts as well as Aunt Cheryl, Jessica and Patty as well as the "bang" period u all went through.

    Quin will keep it long or will cut it when it suits him and not before. Yes it is difficult when traveling as you are, but at another point in time you will remember this with laughter and love and as you say with pride.

    Good luck with school and keep us posted about Berk and school

    Aunt Trish

  5. As Aunt Trish and Paula have commented, that haircut was common among all of us - except I was old enough not to be sent to the men's room!

    Quin will decide on his own when to cut but let him know that I have a lot of male patients with long hair who wear it in ponytails b/c it is cooler and easier to brush:)

    Good luck with school for all


    aunt cheryl

  6. Shannon--I too had the dreadful Hamill haircut and received the same boy taunts as you and others; only difference is my hairstylist father thought it looked "good with my face"! The take-away I have on this is from the child's perspective -- Quin should be thankful that his parents allow him to wear his hair as he wants. You are proud of him for holding firm; I'm proud of you for giving him the option to have his own opinion. Good parenting, my friend...Nettie

  7. Right on Quin! Samson was the man!