Why I like Green Haired Teenage Boys

by Barbara Pierce

I often wonder what might have happened if, during my daughter’s infancy, I had been granted a peek into her life as a teenager. I know one thing: if that future glimpse had included the young man who would one day be her boyfriend, chances are- on the basis of appearances alone- I would have had a heart attack and died on the spot.

Would it have been the multiple ear piercings, the tattered, outrageous clothes or the Mohawk which would have done me in? I’d have to say it would have probably been the Mohawk. An eye-catching and remark-provoking hairstyle in itself, this particular Mohawk has also been dyed numerous times, a rainbow of colors which have never occurred naturally in hair, and is often spiked to outstanding heights with the assistance of gel, hairspray and (I have been told), even glue.

It is fortunate, therefore, for my cardiac well-being, that the owner of this unique hairdo didn’t simply show up at our door proclaiming his boyfriend status. My daughter has actually known him for years; he belongs to her church youth group. I had seen him at church functions and youth group activities and had, after time, become accustomed to his hair and off-beat attire. Everyone who knew him claimed he was a good kid. But that didn’t mean I was prepared for him to become my daughter’s boyfriend.

That’s probably, in part, because I wasn’t prepared to relinquish my long-cherished image of the “ideal boyfriend”: a clean-cut, serious and intelligent young man who didn’t drink or do drugs, who worried about his grades and making the honor roll, who wore well-pressed khakis and a collared shirt. I know boys like that exist; I’ve seen them, usually dating someone else’s daughter.

This type of boy, however, does not appeal to my daughter; in fact, when I shared a glowing description of the “ideal boyfriend” with her, she gave me a one word, but equally descriptive response. “Yuck.”

Yet, as weeks and months have passed and I have become better acquainted with her boyfriend, I see that he is, in many ways, not much different than the young man I had once envisioned for my daughter. Although he is fun-loving and possesses a zany sense of humor, he is serious and thoughtful about important issues. He is also intelligent, articulate, worries about his future, and doesn’t drink or do drugs. He is kind to my two younger children. He is respectful. (When he received his driver’s license and I expressed my uneasiness about my daughter in a car with such a new driver, he offered to take us both to lunch, so I could see his driving for myself.) He brings my daughter home on time and leaves our house without a fuss at the designated curfew hour.

The deciding factor for me, however, has been his obvious adoration of my daughter. One evening, as they were leaving for their date, I mentioned that I had heard the weather might take a turn for the worse later on; I cautioned her boyfriend to drive carefully.

“Oh, I will,” he replied, with great seriousness, regarding my daughter as he spoke. “I’ll have precious cargo aboard.”

That’s when I realized that the “ideal boyfriend” has been here all along; he’s simply been in disguise.

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