My son is eight years old. Most evenings, aer his shower (assuming his mother and I can get him to takeone) and before his bedme, 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 creave. When he was six, apropos of nothing, he announcedto his mother and I aer a bath that he wondered what he’d look like with “poofy” hair. So, I got theblow-drier and starng blasng his hair back, spiking it up all over. My son is blessed with hair as thick as abeaver pelt, which is a source of both relief and jealousy for his bald father. When I was done, he lookedlike he’d stuck his nger in a light socket. He loved it.He wore it to school, to his rst 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 startedrequesng it every day, to have his “poofy” hair done aer bath me. And since I’d done it the rst me,only I was qualied 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. Whenhe started playing soccer, and the other guys were wearing faux-hawks, my son sll stood out because of his spikey, owing, opping, and awesome hairstyle. We adjusted the name of the style, however, towardthe end of second grade…we’d just made the playos in indoor soccer and he’d become our permanentgoalkeeper, 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 be-cause he likes it, and this look is part of the person he’s growing into, iconoclasc, expressive, brave andfree. 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 bole baby—he was what we call around here a “boobie baby,” so I didn’t get to holdhim as much as I wanted when he was lile. I didn’t get to feed him. But I did get to hold him on my chestwhile 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 pang him to sleep. I miss those tendermoments of just me and him, being together, physically touching. But we have this now, and I get to runmy ngers through his hair, and spin him around, and blast him with hot air from a blow-drier, and helphim 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.
From “poofy hair” to “warrior hair,” Todd Mauldin explainswhy some of the simplest rituals are the most awesome.