Raising My Rainbow

When The Hair Stylist Kept Referring To C.J. As A Girl, I Knew It Wasn’t Going To End Well

Raising My Rainbow is written by the mother of a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son. She’s chronicling their journey on Queerty right here. Read up on RMR‘s cast of characters.

Oh yeah, before my recent haircut, I would have fit right in with the ladies in this family. Minus the dress

“You look like one of those Mormon Duggars,” Uncle Uncle said to me as we lunched recently and I contemplated cutting my overgrown hair. “They’re not Mormon,” I replied, taking a bite of chips and guac. “That’s not the point,” he said. (Oh no he didn’t!) “How come Kim Kardashian and Angelina Jolie can have long hair, but I can’t?” I asked defensively, thinking that my argument was solid. “Shack up with Brad Pitt and we’ll talk,” Uncle Uncle said to me, his favorite sister, with a smile.

A couple months later Uncle Uncle came for a visit and we were watching C.J. play with his Strawberry Shortcake dolls. I could tell that Uncle Uncle was deep in thought. I waited for it. I knew some incredible insight was coming.

Picture this hairstyle, with red hair, on a four-year-old effeminate boy. That’s C.J.!

“C.J. has the same haircut as Liza Minnelli,” he said thoughtfully. “You know that old lady short do.” He was right and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Haircuts are a tricky thing for C.J. He usually wants his hair long like Rapunzel. Which is just fine, except that the minute his bangs are long enough to get in his eyes he gets annoyed and goes crazy, often times wagging full-on war, swatting them out of the way and, then, crumbling to the ground in defeat. He decided that he wants shorter bangs and longer hair on the sides and the back. I have a hard time being okay with that because he would look too much like the mascot for Dutch Boy Paint.

C.J. often describes this haircut when asked how he wants his hair

It’s an age-old problem; wanting beautiful long locks but not being patient enough for the growing out and styling process.

Whoopsie! C.J.’s Mom cuts bangs like this

A few days ago, I decided to cut C.J.’s bangs myself because they were falling in his eyes and ruining his life. The good news? He no longer looked like Liza Minnelli. The bad news? He looked more like Jim Carrey’s character from Dumb and Dumber. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.

I was over the long waits and service at our usual Cool Cuts 4 Kids, so I decided to take C.J. and pop into Hair Masters, which is right next to our grocery store. We walked in. C.J. was wearing a green hoodie, jeans and white sneakers. He was carrying a plush Rapunzel doll, but otherwise looked all boy.

The stylist took us to her station. “What kind of cut does the pretty girl want,” she asked, running her long acrylics through C.J.’s super-thick red hair. I ignored her because I simply thought that she misspoke. She referred to C.J. as a girl again and I corrected her.

“He’s a boy,” I said with a look and tone that questioned her intelligence.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I saw the doll and….,” she trailed off. Sadly enough, I’m getting used to people apologizing and trailing off.

C.J.’s favorite part of getting is hair cut? The styling cape. Duh

Two more times she referred to my son as a girl. Was she crazy? Did she just not care? Was I overreacting? I corrected her each time she made the mistake. She proceeded to give him the worst haircut of his life. She sprayed water in his face, scared him with the blow dryer and told him that he needed to concentrate on what he was doing. Now, last time you got a haircut, did you have to concentrate on what you were doing? I sure didn’t.

“If you tell him what you are going to do before you do it, this might go a little smoother,” I said to her as she trimmed his bangs and dropped hair directly into his open eye. This lady was clueless and I was near tears or verbal assault. Finally, the great hair massacre of 2011 was over.

“What flavor lollipop does she want?” she asked. C.J. looked at me. Apparently we were both fighting back tears. He choose grape and we left.

“I’m sorry that lady wasn’t very nice,” I said to C.J.

“Yeah, she was so in-propriate,” he said as he enjoyed his candy and skipped along.

There are no words …

The next day I called to complain to the manager, who really couldn’t be bothered with the details of a customer’s bad experience. She offered to fix the botched job. We went back to the salon, but I’m not sure it was worth it. Apparently they are not, as their name would indicate, masters of hair.

If you’ve been following our adventures, you know how important hair is to C.J. Right now, the poor little guy doesn’t like what he sees in the mirror. That makes me sad, because I always want my boys to like what they see in the mirror. I’m trying to help him by getting creative with the styling of his hair. We do the old Justin Bieber swoosh to one side and the Robert Pattinson bed-head disheveled look. We’ve even, at the suggestion and direction of C.J.’s Brother, tried the Nate Berkus. Those make him feel better. We’ll ride out this phase together until he once again likes what he sees in the mirror… and, in the meantime, we’ll look for a new stylist.

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  • Paul F

    My mom cut our hair when we were kids (40+ years ago) using dog clippers of all things. The clippers were better quality than the ones for people, go figure. The standard hair cut was a brush cut during the school year and a Mohawk for summer vacation. Around Beatle mania time I wanted longer hair than a buzz cut and didn’t get my wish until my senior year in high school. Once out from under her clippers, I grew it as long as I wanted it. Now it’s as long as I can grow it (sing the song from Hair, here) along with my beard, too. You son isn’t alone in his desire for long locks and there are cool parents out there who agree with their desire. check out this web site for men (and boys) with long hair and their discussions on hair care, dealing with the awkward stage and other related subject matter. http://www.mlhh.org

  • Cam

    Wow, she couldn’t even get his bangs straight. Tabitha Coffey would have recomended she be demoted to counter help.

  • michael

    Why be offended she refered to him as a girl the first times? I think if you didn’t use that tone she wouldn’t have been a bitch.

  • Hillers

    Any place that advertises itself as a salon specifically for kids should have conducted itself far better than this. They are dealing with a child, and do need to be a bit more sensitive. Especially with mama bear right near by.

    I would write up a review on Yelp so fast their heads would spin, and spread the word that this is not a place to bring your kids. Really unfortunate experience.

  • Mike in London UK

    I’d suggest naming and shaming the hairdresser you went to, but I don’t think we want to give them any publicity?

    Have you considered taking CJ to a Men’s Barber instead?
    I’d suggest a brief visit and catch the owner / lead-barber in advance of the visit, ask him IF they cater to children (some don’t ) and if they do then explain that your child just needs a quiet haircut after being mangled by “x”.

    Try an arrange a quiet time when the owner / lead-barber are there so you don’t get a junior and then be patient.

    Having had; what we in the UK call a “pudding bowl” haircut; until my mid-teens, I’d suggest you describe exactly what you want in terms of cut and give it a try.

    Even if CJ doesn’t quite like what he gets, spicing things up as “an adventure” might help a bit.

  • MomSoundsAnnoying

    The place she got the haircut at was not kid-centric…re-read the article. It sounds to me like the kid just wasn’t being a very easy customer (as most kids aren’t when getting a haircut). And really, if a kid goes into a salon with long hair and a girly doll plus the mom doesn’t correct her IMMEDIATELY and more importantly POLITELY why would the stylist give two craps about being nice to her kid. I have had several friends who work at salons and they absolutely hate cutting any kids hair. Specifically because they will not sit still, often cry, and the mom is hovering complaining that its not right…its not what I wanted, what the kid wanted during the entire process. Plus he’s a kid, not a model or movie star his damn hair will grow out very very fast. Stop being a bitch and maybe next time your son won’t have to deal with a less than happy stylist.

  • Kevin

    Why do people need to call this mom a bitch? What is wrong with all of you? This is a person.

  • justiceontherocks

    @MomSoundsAnnoying: of course you are right. And you are going to get savaged by posters who don’t see this nonsense for what it is, a parent caring less about her children than a book deal.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Kevin: But she is a bitch.

  • Jurlesia

    @MomSoundsAnnoying You sound more like the disgruntled/incompetant/b*tch employee than the mother. It doesn’t matter how or when the mother corrected the stylist, once she was corrected she should have been professional and not overtly antagonizing. There’s really no excuse unless the stylist has the IQ of a gnat. Further, there’s no justification for being rude to a child because you don’t like his/her parent. And your anecdotal “evidence” that stylists don’t like cutting kids hair is pure bull. Humans come in all shapes, sizes, ages, etc. If they don’t like cutting their hair they shouldn’t advertise to or accept those types of customers. It’s called common sense.

  • Giselle

    @MomSoundsAnnoying: Oh come on! You’re being horrible. Did you read the post? I mean properly?
    That stylist kept referring to CJ as a girl even though Mom corrected her every single time (ok, from 2nd time onwards, to be utterly precise) and could either not be bothered to remember (tiny mind syndrome) or she didn’t care that she was disrespecting them.

    Being ‘nice to the kid’? yes: that’s -exactly- what that silly woman should have done. Last time I checked CJ (and Mom) was the customer – when you provide a service you’re meant to be nice to them: they pay your salary. Some stylists come across as if they feel that the customer ought to be grateful to get their hair cut by them – well I think those ‘stylists’ should find themselves a different job that they’re actually suited for.

    Any stylist worth their salt (and the slightest bit skilled in their trade which this woman doesn’t sound like she was at all) should be able to interact with a child: you distract them a bit, you make the whole thing playful and fun, you split it into segments by maybe getting them to stand up for a bit to cut the back (it makes them less twitchy it they can move a bit), you praise them for every single thing you can think of, and above all you make it as quick as you possibly can. What you’re absolutely not supposed to do is chuck hair in their eyes (since when has that ever improved a child’s disposition?), spray them in the face, be careless with the dryer or get impatient. And last but not least: you do not diss them!
    So do not make Mom out to be the villain here, she only tried to ease things a bit. Why did you say that CJ’s Mom was complaing nothing was right? Since when is throwing hair and water spray around the thing to do? I would complain bitterly about being treated like that as an adult! You sound as if you think a child can be treated less well than minimum service standard!

    If a stylist feels that she/he can’t deal with a child then they should say so, – and recommend someone who is able to cope.

    CJ’s Mom: please don’t listen to comments like this. Vote with your feet and go somewhere else. If you’re not sure of a new stylist, maybe get them to start with just a partial trim (a bit at the front?) and if things go sour you can cut it short and take CJ somewhere else. I love the different styling ideas, they sound like a lot of fun! I’m sure you’re making those fun sessions.
    Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing great!

  • David

    The essay reads a little like a less-cynical version of Fran Lebowitz’ writing.

  • Lucky Luke

    This always read like the mom is much more proud of herself than the kid…

  • ewe

    Why don’t any of these family members ever show their full face in a photo? I can still support them even though i think they have issues of shame that i do not support.

  • Zack

    A boy should just go to a barber for heaven’s sake. most kids are not justin bieber

  • Zonk

    Agreed, Zack. Send him to a barber!

  • TheRealAdam

    @Lucky Luke: Because she is a bitch.

  • Lucky Luke


    But mommy wants to have her little princess, and a princess doesn’t go to the barber. How much of this rainbow shit is actually being forced onto the kid by this mother?

  • Disgusted Gay American

    I don’t know how to take your comment..? From what I take of the story..maybe his mom is hovering,maybe she is a tad over-bearing and protective..but when she had to Correct the Girl/Women Numerous times..that He is a Boy…it’s the Stylist Problem..Not the Mothers….sounds like she had a bias towards the kid…and the mother was being Protective..of her sensitive child….and believe me,Im not one for coddling children..I was raised in a family with 8 kids,and Im no#6..we got our asses beat if we ever got out of line…but I gotta agree with the mother on this one…oh yea Im Gay,and my sister no#5 is gay – just sayin

  • JT

    I agree Luke.

    This mom does not even know if her child is gay and even if he does happen to be gay who says he’s totally queeny/camp/femmey like she wants him to be?

    HELLO THERAPY!!!!! This kid is gonna need A LOT of it when he grows up no matter what his sexual orientation is.

    I’ve met men who are femmey/queens but they’re totally heterosexual but they are just that way or sometimes they’re from the UK or have spent lots of time in the UK.

    I agree with MomSoundsAnnoying it’s not like this failure of a mom told the stylist that he’s a boy since he was playing with dolls and has long hair like lots of girls do. She could have taken him to other places to get his hair cut besides some Salon or just told the stylist, “My SON wants a bowl cut.”

  • Rick

    I find it odd that this woman treats her own son as if he were a girl, yet get indignant when others follow her lead and assume her son is female.

    This is one batty bitch.

  • Rick

    Also, I find it ironic that the Duggars are met with disdain by these whackos. I feel confident that all of the Duggar children will grow up to be more well-adjusted adults than this poor little boy will.

  • badhaircut

    When I was in college and money was tight, I was told to go to a beauty school. Well that was the last and only time. The person left my hair clumpy to say the least she didn’t know how to cut wavy hair. The instructor had to step in a repair the job. But I did learn one thing-a bad haircut will grow out in 6 wks.

  • Hamp

    @ewe: I once wrote for a society publication and we had a strict policy never to publish pictures of children. The people profiled in our paper were generally famous and/or wealthy and could be targeted by criminals or religious/political extremists. Putting photos of their children on line would make it easy for the wrong people to recognize the kids and snatch them.

    Today, you see the children of celebrities pictured everywhere so obviously our policy would be considered outdated. However, I think it’s a valid concern and as a parent in I would never risk my child’s safety for a bit of extra publicity. Whatever you might think of Michael Jackson, his refusal to put his children on display was a wise decision.

    In this situation where the writer is addressing a controversial issue I would be especially careful and I respect her a lot for not putting her child’s photo up on the internet to be seen by some religious wacko who might take it upon themselves to “rescue” CJ.

  • Rodrigo

    @Rick: you took the words right out of my mouth! I think the mom is absolutely overbearing and maybe too analytical. Did it ever occur to her that maybe when he acts more girly he might get more attention from mom?

    I definitely think that either she should take him to a gay salon or be more specific as to what they want.. Either what the mom says goes or what the kid says…

  • ewe

    @Hamp: thank you but that does not explain why i have not seen her face or her husbands face. I don’t think they need fear abduction. Do you?

  • ewe

    @Hamp: and if we accept your analogy with michael Jackson we can say he routinely showed what was left of his face.

  • ewe

    I also do not notice any negative comments allowed on their raising rainbow blog. Am i wrong about that? They seem to be censoring people. I also think they may be attempting to hijack the rainbow symbol because they have absolutely no fucking idea what the sexual orientation of their son is.

  • ewe

    This is really no different than Arnold Schwartzenegger using the term “girly men”. I find it more and more offensive as they continue.

  • Shannon1981

    @ewe: Every single comment is moderated there. Now, I do it on one of my blogs because I will not allow trolling from homophobes on a blog aimed at stopping bullying. But these people seem to censor anyone who questions the motives of this whole thing. At first I though it was awesome, but now my bullshit detector goes off with each new entry. I hate it, but I can’t help but wonder what this is all about. I am not saying she doesn’t have a son that is more effeminate than most boys or whatever. That is perfectly possible. But some of this stuff just seems exaggerated, and the motives are definitely questionable, and the censoring of any negativity on the rainbow site whatsoever is weird, to say the least.

  • Dollie

    I think this mother’s heart is in the right place. I really do. But her ego really gets in the way when trying to actually like her.
    Is it necessary to constantly point out that she is her “gay brother’s favorite sister”? And if I had a nickel for every time she wrote that someone “is fabulous like me.”
    She’s more of an egomaniac than I am… and I’m a childless, early-20-something. ;)

  • Sam

    @Kevin you’re right this lady isn’t a bitch.

    She’s a psycho cunt who wants to fuck up her son by forcing him to act feminine like a girl, and refers to him as a girl but then gets angry when people think that he’s a girl.

  • Mike

    I’m glad other people feel the same way I do about this blog. It’s like she’s trying to project stuff onto this kid that may or may not even be there.

    It’s like she wants her three-year-old to be this gay best friend she never had or something. It just really bugs me.

  • JT

    @Mike-I agree!

    He’s 3 or 4 years old! Whatever happened to letting children be themselves?

    It does seem as though this woman is wanting to project onto her son that he’s gay or Trans when it’s way too early to tell.

    Most bisexual and gay men grow up completely average and normal like their heterosexual/straight peers, and do not fall into feminine stereotypes, acting feminine or other bad gay male stereotypes, or acting like a girl.

    I know a guy who played with a babydoll when he was in Kindergarten since his sister had them, and he wound up being Hetero/straight.

  • kendermouse

    Wow, so many negative comments on this… I don’t get it. Isn’t this site supposed to be open-minded?

    If it were me, I’d have asked the manager for the number to corporate, or the owner, since the only thing they seemed interested in making right was the haircut, and not the horrible customer service/treatment…

  • ewe

    @Shannon1981: Agreed. These people may not even be real. Has anyone ever saw the parents face or are they in the closet about their own identity? Why do people think this is helping?

  • ewe

    I don’t think gay parents would hide the face of their straight child or there gay child. Would gay parents write a book about their suspicions that their child may be straight? These people are twisted.

  • Shannon1981

    @ewe: I not only find the situation odd, but I also worry not only for “CJ” but even more so for the other kid, who gets seemingly little to no attention. At any rate, I’ve no issue with blogging and the like. I do it myself, and in these times it is not uncommon to post your life all over social media. But this blogging mommy stuff quickly went from awesome to kinda cute, to downright weird, creepy, and potentially harmful very quickly.

  • JusticeontheRocks

    @Shannon1981: It’s all those things you said and more. It is extraordinarily unhealthy for a parent to focus on a single aspect of a child. It’s even worse when the child becomes mostly a character in a story.

    I’m afraid this young man, and his brother, are going to need years of therapy to get over what’s going on right now.

  • gretchen

    Um, MomSoundsAnnoying, you need to realize that the cutters do have to have a license, and pass classes for said license. The clueless cutter should have IMMEDIATELY apologized for her dumbness, and the owner of the salon should have fixed CJ’s haircut for FREE, as well as refunding the cost of the original disaster.

  • mattsy

    if the mother lets him carry a rapunzel doll around, of course he’s gonna be mistaken for a girl & a tranny too!!

  • Shannon1981

    @JusticeontheRocks: I can only hope this is a phase, and CJ throws his dolls out, so that his mom can’t try to make him into every queer stereotype before he hits kindergarten. It’s scary at this point, and you are right. Therapy. Years of it. Entire family. Or maybe just give the kids to Uncle Uncle? IDK.

  • Sam

    @Shannon-Isn’t “Uncle Uncle” a fictional character? I read that on her blog how he somehow is.

    I know my previous reply did seem harsh but I agree with you Shannon that yes this mom is making, molding, or influencing her son to fall into very bad gay male stereotypes.

    If this lady knew anything at all about gay men or Trans people she would not be doing this sort of thing at all and she’d know how this is not a good thing to be doing to a child like CJ who is very young and still developing.

  • Shannon1981

    @Sam: I thought the “Uncle Uncle” character was representative of her gay brother? IDK. This is highly disturbing though.

  • Shannon1981

    @Sam: And yeah I get that most straight people know very little/nothing about gays, and I also get that they might be trying to be accepting when faced with the possibility of a gay son. But playing with dolls at the age of 3 or 4 doesn’t equal gay. Furthermore, this stereotying isn’t helping anyone, least of all this kid. She needs to have a therapist that specializes in LGBT issues help her family. If any of this is even true at all, and if she cares more about CJ than a book deal.

  • AxelDC

    Looks like a bowl cut to me.

Comments are closed.