OFTEN, the women let out a little gasp. I look up, a hair twisty dangling from my mouth, a clump of my 5-year-old daughter’s hair clenched in one fist, a comb in the other, ready for attack. She squirms on the bench in the family locker room at the local Y, freshly showered after a swim class and bracing for her hair appointment with me, her father, hellbent on taming those tresses.
“Wow, you are really good,” one approving mother says one morning as my fingers weave three strands into a tight braid. I nod thanks and press on, fussing with another braid as I demand again and again, “Lyla, keep still for heaven’s sake.”
As Lyla and I depart, the receptionist at the counter coos.
“Who did your hair, sweetie,” she asks, knowing the answer.
“Daddy,” Lyla says matter-of-factly.
“Nice job, Dad,” says the receptionist. In another context, the look she gives me might land us in trouble with my wife.
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