Last week, Carol went to visit her mother, and you took little Farrah for a haircut, a day after her mother had spent a fortune braiding her hair. The braids were so tightly done, it looked like her scalp would crack open if someone did not intervene. You have complained that the experimental hairstyles on the girl’s head do more harm than good no matter how well intentioned. She is too young to be oppressed with punitive hairstyles all in the name of beauty.
So, you did what a loving and caring step-father would do if you wake up to a daughter complaining of migraine. Indeed, the braids were too tight and could burst a vein. So, you took her to the nearest salon and asked that her hair be trimmed short enough to be just combed. Since you took custody of her, she has never been so relieved as the day you leave the salon with her.
When her mother came home, the look she gave you was that of someone who was seeing the most ghoulish ghost. She screamed so hard, you would have thought a child just fell from the third-floor balcony. “What the (insert expletive here) just happened? You are a horrible human being,” she screams at you, as Farrah is bewildered. You keep your calm. You expected this.
Carol moves closer to you and aims for a slap, but you arrest her hands so firmly and tell her to calm down, Farrah was hurting from the braids and you had to do the right thing.
“You are full of **it,” she screams at you. “You have said worse things,” you tell her as she gets feverish and hysterical. “What do you know about women’s hair?” she says as she touches Farrah’s hair. “You know how long she has kept her hair, you know how good her hair was?”
“But it will grow, and why not let her be until she will need the hairstyles on her own?” You ask calmly and innocently. “Shut up, you are soooo annoying!” she starts crying. You press play on the movie. You have saved the family so much money.
She goes to the bedroom and calls like a thousand of her friends telling them what a cretin you are. You learn a lot. Farrah has never been shaved since she was born. Her hair is one of the best. Her hair will never be the same again. She hates you. She can leave you for such misdemeanour. And on and on.
You leave to go have a drink at the local. The house has become a hostile territory. You spend three hours in the bar. When you come back, you find that you have been locked out of the bedroom. You have to contend with sleeping on the couch. But you can’t put up with such petulance. You knock on the door violently. She opens it and goes to sleep in the other room with Farrah and the house help. In the morning she asks why you had to shave her?
“She was hurting badly.” You say matter-of-factly... “And you spend too much money on her yet she is only six,” you want to add.
She sighs in exasperation. And acceptance.