A Hair Cut Towards Maturity

Christian left this morning at 6:15 for basketball camp. He looked alert and somehow older. He wanted to drive to the school. He did a very good job. Last Thursday, he got his permit after a number of attempts. On Friday we went to Portland for a basketball tournament with his high school team, we rode with my friend Denette, and her five kids. Her oldest, Jaylin is on the team with Christian and they have become good friends. He and his sister Savanna are from a prior relationship and their dad is African-American. We have bonded being white parents of ethnic children, and in Bend, there are very few of us.

Bend though I love it, is not known for its diversity. I always make the joke that when we moved here in 2001 we doubled the black population. This is actually not far from the truth. It has improved dramatically over the years we have been here but they do stand out. One of the draw backs of this, is the lack of barbers who know how to cut black hair. I know this seems trivial but it is a big deal. Scott has been cutting the boy’s hair for years and if they want a close shave he is perfect. They are however, getting to the point where looks matter a bit more, and style has become a major issue.

This being said we have tried a couple of places in Bend to get their hair cut. It has not been very successful, and ended in us paying for what Scott could do at home. Denette used to live in Portland and knew where in Portland to take us to a black barber shop . I was excited, Christian was less than thrilled. “I do not need a hair cut, mom, I like it fine” he tells me. This of course is no surprise because anything that draws attention to himself makes him uncomfortable. I smile, and say too bad, you are getting a hair cut. This is an opportunity to have it done right and so you will get it done. This is not a battle I will lose. Big sigh, a roll of the eyes and a pouty face.

I of course am undeterred. I am excited to be down town in Portland, and I have wanted to get him to a african american barber for a long time. With Denette driving and knowing where to go I am just enjoying myself. The place she is taking us to is called “The Terrell Brandon Barber Shop” and he was a past NBA player. We arrive, and Christian does not want to get out, Jaylin is not getting his hair cut so CJ looks at me pleadingly to not make him do this.

Needless to say, I was right and Christian loves his haircut. He admitted that there were definite differences between this haircut, and others he has had before. He really liked his barber, and mentioned that black men do know how to cut black hair. Christian looks older, the cut is clean, and very “swag”. He joked about his hair cut making him a better basketball player and there was a bit more confidence in his walk. That was a battle worth fighting and money well spent.


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