Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mohawk Logic

Original Cool

Being a dad these days is all about improv and negotiation.

Janet asked me to come talk to my 13 year old son Andrew last week.
When your wife asks you in a concerned voice to talk to one of your children you know something’s up.

They were sitting in the living room when I got there and looked like they were hoping for the wisdom of Solomon or at least a tie breaking vote. Oh well :^)

I was relieved to hear that a haircut was the “life and death” issue at hand.

Andrew wanted a Mohawk. Full blown spiked and punk.

No real surprise there. He started pushing boundaries at 2. It’s one of the things I love most about him.

Janet is usually the voice of reason and tradition in the mix. When our kids color outside the lines they normally look to me first for support.

But not this time. Janet intro’d things and said she was willing to consider the rooster cut for Andrew.

I guess sometimes the irresistible sea finally wears down the immovable coast :^)

Had to recover quickly and figure out how to handle things. What to do?

I started asking questions as any good post modern dad would.

Turns out Andrew wanted more of the cool. He said he really liked a socially conscious band that does the old skool punk. He was articulate and reasonable for a 13 year old.

All I could think of was De Niro in Taxi Driver.

Time to go to the dad bag.

Started positive. Affirmed the importance of being unique and said I understood why that was important to him.

Went next with a short speech on the irrelevance of externals and the danger of focusing on them. And the critical importance of being unique on the inside.

He was only half buying at that point. Pretty clear from the body language.

He then wondered why he couldn’t have a Mohawk "if externals aren't important."


Finally went with how other people would respond. Told him a few friends would think his new cut was cool but that most people wouldn't. Admitted the weakness of that take and asked him to consider his willingness to take the opinion polls into account. Basic hard nosed pragmatism, you know.

Turned out to be less persuasive than I had hoped. He wanted to know how high and how narrow his Mohawk could be.

We were now down to horse trading.

Ok, time to go with raw parental authority in the guise of negotiation and introduce a 'poison clause' that's the deal breaker :^)

I told him I was ok with a Mohawk if it was at least 5 inches wide. And no gel spiking. Anything narrower or spiked up was absolutely out of the question.

He reluctantly agreed.

He and Jan then headed off for Super Cuts.

They never got there. Andrew vetoed the geek ‘hawk on the way and came back with a full head of hair. Thank God.

Of course, he’s been asking for a dog for a couple of months now. I don’t like dogs and don’t want one around the house.

I’m beginning to think this whole Mohawk thing might have been a bargaining chip put on the table by a superior negotiator. Give up something you don’t really want to get something you really do :^) I’ll let you know how the dog discussions pan out….


Anonymous John Teter said...

Wordcat, good parenting tips. I will remember the bargaining chip ploy in a couple of years. I busted out laughing at the Deniro photo. Way to go to the extreme of unique independence, mixed in with a Reagan-shooting legacy. You lookin' at me?

2:49 AM  
Blogger 3wishes said...

Well you have 4 years of fun in front of you. Cant wait to read the Piercing/Tatoo blog :) You could get a Lhaso Apso and gel the forehead hair into a Mohawk and kill 2 birds........

3:34 AM  
Blogger jon said...

Awwww...I don't like mohawks at all. But for some reason I was rooting for your kid in this one. Even though I would have done everything to talk him out of it too.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

Yeah, I felt sort of ambivalent about the whole thing. Would have enjoyed seeing the reactions of some of the conservative Christian types we know to the Johnny Rotten look. They would have definitely been “looking at me.”

We’ve been through the piercing and tats discussions with Rebecca already. She’s well pierced by now—the latest is an eyebrow stud. I really like it though it really looks painful (ouch!). When she came home with it last year Jan got outvoted 3-1 :^) . I like tats quite a bit but she’s never shown much interest. Of course, if we’re getting Mohawk talks at 13 with Andrew we may be facing Rasta tats on the forehead discussions before too long….

12:41 PM  
Blogger 3wishes said...

Oh no, well thanks for the warning. It only took 2 weeks for my newly turned 18 daughter to get her first tatoo. She likes Rasta and listens to Spoonfed Tribe here locally. Now I wont faint if I see something on her forehead :) No piercings yet but Im sure it wont be long. She tried to fool me once with those huge diameter ear stud things, then one day she showed me they were just magnets. Sailed through that one I thought. Now that shes legal....well lets just say I hope she dosnt look like a candidate for the National Geo :^ Oh yes and GO STARS :)

8:41 PM  
Blogger jon said...

I've still yet to get tatooed or pierced - although I did die my hair in college and shaved almost all of it off a month ago. I really want a tatoo though - a small one on my wrist for sure, and maybe a large one on the back someday. Do you know how those play on the mission field?

9:31 PM  
Blogger jon said...

"dye" my hair, that is

9:31 PM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

Depends on where you go.

Africans are split. Folks on the economic upswing don't like tats. Too much tribal scarification in their past. But lots of others there love their body art.

Same with Latin Americans.

Don't think tats are big in most of Asia or the Islamic world. Check that. Tribal Asians, especially the Maoris in Kiwiland love full body tat cover.

Europeans love em like lots of Americans do. A way to honor defeated cultures and act like a rebel externally too. You can pretend you're a radical against the evil boomers.

I think a lot of people just like art. No reason I can see why people shouldn't get creative on their skin.

Well, I guess that's not completely true.

Got to wonder whether you want your ex-girlfriends's name on your expanding and aging ass.

10:00 PM  
Blogger jon said...

What do you feel about religious imagry on the body? Anything that I got would be a strong reminder/declarer of the relationship I have and desire to have with Christ. But I'm worried a little - should I worry about issues of showiness? Inappropriateness? Offensiveness?

8:30 AM  
Blogger 3wishes said...

Jon, if you are on a mission to help others it should not matter whats on your skin eh? And as for showiness? Well just look at those Hare Krishnas at the airport. Oh Ive dated myself again, ARE the Hare Krishnas allowed to dance at the airport anymore? Very vivid memory here of those guys in their garb dancing around me at LAX lol No I dont think you should worry about what anyone thinks , at all.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

Good question, Jon. Boy, I don't know. If you're going to be anywhere in the Islamic world I'd go way subtle. Beyond that I'm not sure.

10:53 AM  

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