Why I Blow-dry My Son’s Hair

Resident bluesman Todd Mauldin explains why this ritual with his son is one he enjoys. And it all started with an experiment with poofy hair.

My son is eight years old. Most evenings, after his shower (assuming his mother and I can get him to take one) and before his bedtime, I blow-dry his hair. Me—not his mom, not his sister, not himself—me.

Here’s the deal. My son is a goof, and very creative. When he was six, apropos of nothing, he announced to his mother and I after a bath that he wondered what he’d look like with “poofy” hair. So, I got the blow-drier and starting blasting his hair back, spiking it up all over. My son is blessed with hair as thick as a beaver pelt, which is a source of  both relief and jealousy for his bald father. When I was done, he looked like he’d stuck his finger in a light socket. He loved it.

He wore it to school, to his first grade class, the next day. He goes to a liberal, hippy-style charter school, so there was no rule against having hair that looked like he’d been electrocuted. It was a big hit. He started requesting it every day, to have his “poofy” hair done after bath time. And since I’d done it the first time, only I was qualified to do it, in his view.

Over the next two years, his blow-dry spiked-up mane became a part of his character, his persona. When he started playing soccer, and the other guys were wearing faux-hawks, my son still stood out because of his spikey, flowing, flopping, and awesome hairstyle. We adjusted the name of the style, however, toward the end of second grade…we’d just made the playoffs in indoor soccer and he’d become our permanent goalkeeper, and “poofy hair” just didn’t sound right anymore. We dubbed it “warrior hair”

So Warrior Hair it was, and Warrior Hair it is. And here’s why I do it. I do it because it looks cool, and because he likes it, and this look is part of the person he’s growing into, iconoclastic, expressive, brave and free. However, the real reason for me is, it’s an excuse for me to touch my son tenderly, almost every day. See, he was not a bottle baby—he was what we call around here a “boobie baby,” so I didn’t get to hold him as much as I wanted when he was little. I didn’t get to feed him. But I did get to hold him on my chest while we listened to music, and pat his back gently and put him to sleep.

I can’t even begin to describe how much I miss holding him and patting him to sleep. I miss those tender moments of just me and him, being together, physically touching. But we have this now, and I get to run my fingers through his hair, and spin him around, and blast him with hot air from a blow-drier, and help him look like he wants to look, and it’s a real thing for me.

So, that’s why I blow dry my son’s hair. Because it’s awesome.

Todd Mauldin is a regular contributor to The Good Men Project Magazine. Want to know when his next piece comes out? Sign up for our email mailing list.

Why I Blow Dry My Sons Hair

 

Sponsored Content

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Todd Mauldin

Todd Mauldin (@mrtavo) is a musician, writer and artist living in Reno, NV. He blogs at www.toddmauldin.com.

Comments

  1. Liked and Tweeted. GREAT article. In the tribal days of past and present, fathers give their sons marks and insignia of being men. Blow Drying sure is easier than tattooing. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Good stuff, Todd! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great stuff, Todd. Now that my only son (oldest of four kids) is way grown up and growing a beard in Afghanistan so the locals will accept him, I have to go way back to remember the days when I’d put Alex to bed, read him a story, stroke his then-blond hair. I remember carrying him on my shoulders through snowstorms and up to the Great Reno Balloon Races. And now he’s a true warrior, with black hair I assume he’s growing out per local custom, though last time I saw him it was shaved bald.

    Here’s to warriors, in the goal or in the Army.

  4. Sandra Parrotto says:

    I get teary-eyed when I think of how nice it was to take care of my son’s body as a baby. Clipping his fingernails, making sure he had lotion all over, playing soft music in the background… the most special times I remember. I have been cutting his hair since he was born and it is still special for the very same reasons that Todd does it – I get to be close to him. But for a dad to recognize this is truly sweet and special and my reassurance that people really are moved by the little things. Thank you for writing this – I loved it!

  5. You are the most awesome Dad ever. You blow all other Dads out of the water when it comes to Dad-ing.

  6. You are awesome, Todd. I’m 22 and still in college, so kids are still a ways off for me, but I admit I relish the thought of someday having a family. I hope I get to share moments like that with my children like you do with your son. Warrior Hair FTW!

  7. I love this. Makes me miss my dad :)
    When I have kids I will be sure to bring on the Warrior Hair!!

  8. Thanks for sharing. Brought a tear to my eye… and can’t wait to be a dad someday.

  9. I love this. Really, it’s great.

    I’m no expert but I think it’s unbelievably important for dads to have at least 1-2 things that are “ours.” Moms get to give birth (not that I’m yearning to do that) and breastfeed and form this amazing connection. Dads have to work a little harder and be a little more creative to come up with our special bond. For instance, my son can’t go to sleep until Dada sings him an old Irish drinking song that I’ve been serenading him with since he was born. And you have Warrior Hair.

    Truly awesome stuff.

  10. You are an awesome dad, and you have an awesome son. I hope your son keeps rocking Warrior Hair for many years to come.

  11. RAAAHHH WARRIOR HAIR!! That is THE fabulous!!!

  12. As a son who had his hair blown dry by his dad, I completely relate. I also agree that the tenderness and intimacy of the ritual are a great way for father-son bonding. Makes me miss those days… My classmates actually made fun of me when I raised my hand when the teacher asked “Who blow dries their hair?” (I was the only boy.)

    That said, it’s beautiful (that’s right—I said it!) that you give him the room to be the good (and goofy) man he’s clearly destined to be—like his dad. Cheers!

  13. I just discovered this magazine and I’m in love. This article was so touching and reading the comments made me smile and solidly reaffirmed my belief that there are lots and lots of “good men” out there still. Good Men Project magazine has gained another female fan! :-)

  14. Michael Rowe says:

    Very moving.

  15. Great post! Your son will look back on this time you spent and treasure it as much as you do. It’s so important to have special time with each of our kids and it will lead to better communication as he gets older. My 10yo son has his own (very strong) opinions about hairstyle, but he likes to do it himself. Blow drying and forcing it into every crazy direction is fun for him, but mostly he’d prefer to never comb it and call that “style.” Whatever. It’s only hair, and as long as he’s happy I let him fix it how he wants.

  16. I’m coming to this very late, but… yeah. I come from a not very touchy-feely family, and it was a real revelation to me when I had kids that I could have a physical relationship which wasn’t a sexual relationship. Mine are still little, and I take every opportunity to grab and pinch and hold their little bodies. It’s an amazing part of being a dad.

  17. #re-release! Eeeeehhhhhh. A little creepy. Think this site is blurring the line sometimes.

  18. Wonderful piece, Todd.
    The part I like most is where you say “I miss those tender moments of just me and him, being together, physically touching”.
    For me being a “Good Man” is not only about ‘typical’ male features like toughness and mental and physical strength, but also about acknowledging our sensitive and intuitive side. Tenderness in physical contact gets us in touch with that softer side.
    You have given your son the opportunity of being that complete man by showing that tenderness is not a sissy-boy thing nor a sex-thing but is in fact an strong part of a true father/son bond.
    Great job,
    Michael

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I Blow-dry My Son’s Hair — The Good Men Project Magazine Awwww! [...]

  2. [...] limits of what Madison Avenue marketers deem guy-appropriate. Our most-read stories (like the ones here, here, here, and here) have done just that, proving that the common conceptions of what guys will [...]

  3. [...] Todd’s earlier pieces, “I Blow-dry My Son’s Hair” and “Man-to-Man with Todd Mauldin.” AKPC_IDS += "14598,"; Filed Under: Uncategorized [...]

  4. [...] APELCers, we did little the first half of fourth period Thursday, as only five students had completed the reading. Third and fifth periods had fantastic discussions of the Manning piece, and we touched upon a variety of issues including the roles of touch and playful violence among loved ones. I appreciated students’ willingness to share, and I mentioned a brief article about father-son touch which I said I’d link to here: “I Blow-dry My Son’s Hair”. [...]

  5. [...] I Blow Dry My Son’s Hair [...]

  6. [...] I Blow-Dry My Son’s Hair – Resident Bluesman Todd Mauldin talks poofy hair and warrior hair. [...]

  7. [...] Some dads blow dry their son’s hair [...]

Speak Your Mind

*