Evie, my two year-old daughter, dropped some truth on me the other day. She was looking at us the bathroom mirror as we were washing her hands, and she said to me, “Dad, you’re not pretty.”
At first I was insulted. I’ve been called a lot of things, but but “not pretty” has never been one of them. I mean, it’s not like I’m Rob Lowe circa 1986, but to be flat out called not pretty? Ouch.
Then I thought it must be because I’m a boy. This is a girl who says that her baby brother can’t be a sweetie because he’s a boy, and sweeties are girls. So I ask “Oh, is it because I’m handsome?” Solid logic. Pretty = girl, handsome = boy, right?
Well now she’s just being a dick.
“Because you don’t have a jammie dress.” She justified.
I felt better. It’s not that she thinks I’m ugly, but finds my pajamas unsightly. Which, in her defense, consist of old shirts or sweatshirts two sizes too big and a pair of shorts. So compared to her adorable little night gowns, yes, I am dressed like a hobo. It is very clear that I do not measure up to her young idea of beauty.
Beautiful is pink. Beautiful is sparkly. Beautiful is painted toenails. Dad is a constant state of 5 o’clock shadow. The princess is the epitome of pretty. The prince is some schlub on a horse.
I had taken pandemic hair seriously. I went a year without a haircut, and when I suddenly came home once day with 8 less inches of hair she didn’t take it well. My wife was pleased. My older daughter laughed. My baby boy paid no mind. Evie was disgusted by my shorn appearance. At the time I thought it was just a shock for her. I went more than a third of her life without a haircut, so I was just glad she recognized me. But now I realize that my long hair was the only thing about me that aligned with her concept of beauty. It could go in a ponytail, it could go in a bun, it downright flowed. She says my hair used to be “floppy,” which apparently is what she thinks hair ought to be.
She asks me at least once a week when my hair will grow back, and why is it taking so long. Sadly for her (and me if I’m being honest) my long hair has had its last hurrah. I will never again be pretty in the eyes of my daughter. Although, I suppose I could start wearing a night gown. I could totally pull off that look. Probably would be super comfortable. Breezy in all the right places. She doesn’t have a monopoly on adorable sleepwear. I’ll show her who’s not pretty!