Two of America’s most famous and wildly different moms – singer Jennifer Lopez and mom-in-chief Michelle Obama – revealed nearly identical haircuts last week.
Bangs. Mom bangs, to be exact.
For most of my life, I thought bangs were for first-graders. A badge of childhood. Something you outgrew by age seven. Instructions your mother gave the hair salon for your little brother’s first haircut, as in “Just give ‘im some bangs.”
You know, cute.
But now that I’ve spent four decades on earth, I’ve got a forehead of wrinkles that show every year of my earthly journey. Writ large on my head is every romantic breakup I suffered, each late night I stayed at work, every dark hour I spent cleaning a child’s vomit, and, more recently, waiting for someone to sneak in after curfew.
These days, I have a new appreciation for bangs. Or more specifically, what they cover up.
Interestingly, bangs-as-life-eraser seems to apply only if you are a woman. How many 50-year-old men show up at work on Monday with bangs? I guess the currency of cute means more to the female of our species.
When you are an American woman over 40, apparently, a little dose of first-grade seems like a great cultural equalizer. A way to turn back time. A trick to convince people into thinking we are 10 years younger.
Lacking any evidence, many of us can get lured into thinking bangs make us look more youthful. But maybe…I’m whispering now…maybe they just make us look more stupid. As my 14 and 10 year old daughters – fashionistas, both of them – often remind me when I’m contemplating a mini-skirt or short shorts: “Younger doesn’t always look better on you, Mom.”
Good advice. Although my lack of fashion sophistication is revealed by the fact that my main advisors can’t vote, drive, get into a nightclub or stay up past 10 pm.
Looking at the pictures of our powerful, brainy, unpretentious Mom-In-Chief, I am coming to the conclusion that my daughters might just be right. Exchanging mature, wise, and a bit wrinkled for “cute” is not necessarily the world’s smartest trade. Maybe if you are Jennifer Lopez and pop culture is your primary currency. But not when quiet authority, inner happiness and effective leadership are your goals.
I personally prefer a strong, commanding Michelle Obama – all biceps and hair swept off her forehead – to a cute Michelle Obama. Which means: no more mom bangs for me.