Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beauty Is My Business

My wife had to be at work early on Monday, so I stuck around to get Lilah off to school. When it was time to do something with her hair, Lilah handed me a brush and two elastics.

“Two elastics? Why two?”
“I want pigtails today!”
“Oh, hmmm…I’ve never done pigtails. They'd probably be all lopsided.”
“How about braids?”
“Yeah…I would have no idea how to do braids.”
“Why not?”
“I just never learned. I’ve never had enough hair to do anything like that.”
“Well, maybe you should get one of those big Barbie-head things so you can practice?”

I knew exactly what she was thinking. Two weeks before, I’d taken Lilah to Toys R Us to spend her Tooth Fairy profits, and we’d stumbled into an entire pallet of Barbie-head things. But these weren’t ordinary Barbie heads, they were Barbie Island Princess Rosella Karaoke Styling Heads, a hundred of them stacked in the aisle, all marked down to $19.99, and all pleading, “Try me! I sing!”

Lilah pressed the test button on one of the heads, and its jaw twitched up and down in an unnerving way, chirping, "Let’s get ready for the royal ball!” According to the box, Rosella could sing three songs from the Barbie Island Princess movie, and you could sing along using the included flower microphone.
Now, perhaps Mattel had been convinced that this groundbreaking karaoke feature would reignite the whole Styling Head market, but my guess is that most parents would rather set their own hair on fire than bring home a creepy robotic singing Barbie head with no volume control. (Which is to say that Rosella was clearly aimed at the grandparent market.)

I also had to wonder what the unlucky employees of Rosella's Chinese factory felt about her. What would an entire assembly line of these singing blond heads look like? And how much more disturbing would they seem if they all sang in some unintelligible foreign tongue?

Regardless, Lilah wanted one. Rosella was slightly out of her price range though, and for some reason, I could not be convinced to chip in. Instead, we took home the house-brand “Dream Dazzlers Stylin' School Stylin' Head,” which was smaller, cheaper, and far less likely to start chanting prophecies of doom.

After school on Monday, Lilah sat me down for a hair-doin' lesson on the Stylin' Head. I thought I did pretty well for a first-timer, but Lilah's main comment was that she would give me additional lessons this weekend, "when we have more time." I'll let you judge the results for yourself.


  1. Is it nature or nurture? Are we dad's genetically flawed as hairstylists or did we just miss the boat when we chose years of [insert boy activity here] when the girls were braiding each others' hair?

    Remember: the hairband is your friend.

    Two barrettes and big ponytail in the back works too.

  2. I totally flaked on the headband option. I bet she would've gone for it too, because it's like accessorizing and hairstyling in one fell swoop.

    She's determined to teach me now though. My next lesson is scheduled for Wednesday.

  3. You are a good man, Derek!
    Joe does the kids nails, he's nicer than I am. I am sure he'd do Beatrice's hair if she let him. He did a little when she was younger, but I had more time and less patience!
    Maybe I should teach Wylie to braid now, while he's still young?

  4. That sounds like a worthwhile experiment, Charlotte--would early hairstyling experience give Wylie some kind of competitive advantage later in life? I'm betting it would!