Expectations Adjustment: Professional Hair Styling for 8th Grade Graduation
But before she hits the big grades, she'll be graduating from eighth grade. Next month. There will be a ceremony. Which is apparently a much bigger deal than it was when I hurriedly tossed on my lone Jessica McClintock frock and sat blinking in the Anaheim sun, alternately taking Disc camera photos of my friends, and family -- including my brother Chet, who had just finished his first year at the USMA, looked very handsome in his uniform, and made all the girls squee. It was fun, but it was not a source of stress.
Things are different for Iz's peers, apparently. As Iz informed me yesterday, "all the girls" now get their hair professionally did for 8th grade grad. To which my reply was a parent-censored version of WTF. Really? Professional styling for thirteen year olds?
I don't have a problem with girls of any age occasionally getting their hair or nails done at a salon, as a treat. I do have a problem with kids expecting those services as their right, especially with entitled attitudes that include declaring, as Iz did, that it shouldn't be a big deal because it's "only 35 dollars." As if she had 35 dollars lying around. And not as if she asked what she could do to earn said $35 (though she did, later, after the top of my head blew off and she realized she needed to rethink her strategy). As if we hadn't had a conversation just the month before -- after one of her cousins offhandedly described a non-essential cost as being "only $50" and I almost fell over -- about the difference between understanding a good deal, and not understanding the value of goods and services or of currency itself.
It's not as though she doesn't know how to do her own hair -- she spends hours each day straightening and molding and manipulating her tresses, with mostly impressive results. And it's not as though she doesn't have a mother and friends and auntie-friends like Jennyalice and grandmothers who have Hair Skillz at her disposal. But for some reason, she seems to think her hair won't be "right" unless it's done the way her friends are getting it done.
I suppose I'm mostly dismayed with what I see as a continuous cultural shift away from self-reliance and towards dependence on professional services when it comes to self-care. But maybe this is just the way her generation will be? Maybe it's a California thing? Maybe a cultural thing?
She'll look great either way. But does a 13 year old girl really need professional hair styling? My gut tells me no. But I'm not living her life, I'm revisiting mine -- as someone who loved figuring out how to create Audrey Hepburn updos, What's New Pussycat straight red sheets, and Veronica Lake peekaboos all on my own. Am I expecting too much? Is this just what kids do these days?