How do you tell someone you love that they've got a string mop growing on their head?
I have no idea what caused this post-teen crisis that my 22-year old is going through, and I have no idea how to make it stop.
He's the nicest guy you'll ever meet. He's got the most open personality, the most welcoming mien, and the cheeriest disposition. Then there's that ragged shock of hair that he thinks makes him look like Antonio Banderas. I think he looks like a thug.
At 6'7", he is already an imposing figure. But now, if you saw him walking down the street, you'd grab your children and cross to the other side. The smile that beams angelically from his beautiful face now looks incongruously evil with the hair dripping down the sides of his face.
He is in college, right now, working on a computer programming degree. When he first started, he told me that the whole class looked as if they had just wandered out of a bad dream and hadn't showered, shaved, or even changed their clothes since their last date, which, presumably, had been quite some time ago. Some of them hadn't seen the sun in as long. At the time, he thought that they were just plain lazy and needed to get a life (which is what someone thinks when they meet someone who looks like that). Now, however, like the Borg on Star Trek, he's been assimilated.
Obviously, if he was pulling in a six-figure income and I wasn't his fallback for any financial catastrophes that he got himself into, I wouldn't care if he grew two heads and wore spandex. But, alas, he is not yet financially feasible. He works part-time for just above minimum wage. The most immediate goal he has is landing a job in his field. At least, I hope that is what his most immediate goal is.
How, I ask you, is he going to land a great job when he looks like someone who might steal your loose change if you let it sit around? He tells me that if he doesn't look like a programmer, no one will take him seriously. I say, show me a programmer who makes lots of money, and I'll show you one who doesn't look as if he crawled out from under a park bench. Even if he wanted to start his own business, he'd have to appeal to banker-types and investors. What would they think of his unruly locks and unkempt appearance? He could've had a mid-life crisis like everyone else. By then, he would've had that great job already and made enough money to buy the red sports car. But no, he has to do it now, when it matters the most! If only he had waited one more year to make whatever statement he is trying to make.
Many people will say that I should be grateful to have a son that doesn't drink, smoke, or do drugs. I should be happy that he has a job and is going to college. It could be so much worse. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with my son and very, very proud of him for his integrity and his work ethic, among many other attributes. I simply want everyone else to be proud of him as well; to be able to introduce him to friends or a possible employer without having to explain that he's not as bad as he looks. He really is someone you can depend on and be proud of. He only looks like a car-jacker.
I love this man-child of mine. He is one of the greatest joys of my life, a treasure, really, but, I swear, he is going to drive me to drink!