As my hair stylist draped the smock over me she asked, “So what are we doing today?”
“Cut it short,” I said. “Super short.”
“Really?” She replied. “Is WonderWife™ going to be okay with that?”
I stared at her incredulously. “She doesn’t run her hair choices by me before she gets a hair cut.”
I was truly shocked at the question. This is a woman who’s been cutting my hear for nearly 12 years. I see her more often than some of my friends. She also cuts WW™’s hair. She’s known me before I met my wife. She knows us as a couple. She knows about our relationship. Yet for some reason, she has the misguided perception that I need to get permission on my choice of hair style.
The next morning the kids were getting dressed. Sprout decided on a flower print top with a paisley pattern skirt. Now I’m no fashionista, but even I knew that this was a horrible, garish combo. Yet WonderWife™ and I encourage our kids to dress how they like, even if the outfits are disastrous.
I had plans to take the kids to the aquarium that day. “You know this is going to reflect on me,” I said to WW™.
“What? No it won’t.”
“I’ll be out in the world with two kids by myself. Everyone who sees Sprout’s outfit is going to think that I dressed her.”
“Oh,” said WonderWife™. “Yeah I guess you’re right.”
It’s amazing in this time of dad’s being more involved than ever that the notion of the hen-pecked husband or clueless father still runs rampant today. It’s a stereotype that I work hard to shatter.
So where does this come from? As much as I hate to bag on my beloved television, a lot of this primitive thinking is spoon fed from the magic box. Modern Family is a great show, but Phil Dumphy is an idiot—the prototypical clueless dad who leans on his wife for everything. Commercials are even worse. How about the Yoplait ad where the woman is on the phone talking to her friend about eating Boston Cream Pies while the husband stares into the fridge, directly past the many yogurt containers clearly marked Boston Cream Pie that are stacked up on the shelf at his eye level while attempting to look for the sweets his wife is describing?
This kind of dad discrimination has to stop. Women, look around you. Us guys are not as clueless and inadequate as we’re made out to be. I do not need to ask my wife’s permission to hang out with friends, see a movie, buy clothes or get my hair cut. When I make plans I will often confer with my wife to make sure I haven’t forgotten some errant birthday party. But that is consideration, not permission.
It’s true that WonderWife™ runs the household. It’s true that I may, at times, ask here where the toilet paper is when I know exactly where we keep it. But that’s laziness, not ineptitude. When it comes to the things that matter in our lives, I’m an equal partner. I’m really good at being a husband and father. I am not clueless and I am not a stereotype.
And besides, my wife really likes my hair super short.