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  • My son was a metrosexual long before someone got around to coining the phrase. At age three he began taking exceptional pains over his grooming. Every piece of clothing had to be pressed to perfection, every hair in exactly the right place, every tooth flossed to a fare-thee-well. Other children flirted with drugs; he experimented with scented soaps.

    He went through an exceptionally obnoxious phase when he was six and a half. In order to ensure that he would live to see his seventh birthday, his mother and I convened a council in our living room. “Son” said I, doing my very best impression of a stern prosecutor, “for the couple of months or so you’ve been acting as if you weren’t a part of this family. Very well. Your wish is granted. You are no longer a part of this family. Until you decide to return to the fold, we will provide for you what the law says we must. We will feed you, give your shelter, take care of your medical needs and see to your schooling. And that’s all we’ll give you.”

    His eyelids tried to blink away the tears that were forming. “Not even hair care products?”

    “ESPECIALLY not hair care products!” I roared, but halfway through I burst out laughing and could not stop. Whatever parental authority I possessed fled into the night.

    My son decided that cleanliness was the better part of valor. He rejoined us. He’s nearly 20 now and has developed his own distinctive sense of humor. He frequently leaves brochures for nursing homes around the house. He’s kidding, right? Uh, right? Do you think they’ll have hair care products there?
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