GLENDALE, AZ – “Look at this,” says Martin Landers, 39, of his 5 year old daughter’s hair. “I did that,” he continues, with pride. “I was going for a Monday morning-type hair look – effortless, but a bit lived-in. Like her social schedule is too full to be up early enough on a Monday for perfect hair. But it’s the fake effortlessness itself that really makes the braid more of a statement piece than just a hairdo,” he said, twice, after I asked him to repeat himself. “A five year old’s life is all slide steps and hula hoops and I think she should have hair to reflect that. Too done up is nice for a ballet recital, but for Summer Camp on a Tuesday? Messy Dutch braid all the way. Know what I’m sayin’?”
With his wife away on a business trip, Martin Landers has joined a growing number of straight men who are developing hairstylist skills while their wives are at work. “I started with a simple 3-strand braid, but those are pretty basic. I needed to up my game so my daughter wasn’t at gymnastics looking like she sleeps behind a dumpster. Before long I was on YouTube with a Cabbage Patch doll in my lap working on my French Braids, Fishtails, Reverse Braids. You know the deal. This morning was the first time I even tried a Dutch Braid and I straight made that braid my bitch.”
Martin seems like a hair-braiding natural but, he says, “I grew up with brothers so we didn’t do much hair braiding. We spent less time grooming each other and more time trying to get Brendon to eat his scabs. But my wife is out the door right after she wakes the kids up and it’s up to me to make sure they don’t look like neglected little Appalachian-trash babies.”
“I love it,” says 5 year old Alyssa. “My dad can kick any braid’s ass. Right daddy?” Martin smiles and nods.