My son Robert Hafele is a photographer for Texas Twins Events/The Pawning Planners and we often disagree on tattoos, piercings and non conforming haircuts and color. He’s a very good looking young man but recent changes to his appearance have me confused and concerned these days!Yesterday I was (again) taken “off guard when my son decided to get a Mohawk knowing we have three straight days of events scheduled. I went ballistic (as usual) regarding this new “look” and told him he would have to wear a hat or stay at home. This wasn’t an “easy discussion” and, it was the first time I’ve put my foot down regarding attire and appearance at our events. The end result was hurt feelings for both of us and a sleepless night for me. I don’t think I’m unreasonable but, some members of my family do and frankly I earned the right to make the rules by investing my profit from the sale of our Dream Home to start Texas Twins Events and later to merge Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners. You see, I pay for everything from website development to advertising to camera equipment to gasoline and anything else attributed to my adventures in the wedding and events industry. For five years- I’ve been writing the checks around here and demand that everyone not only dress appropriately but also that we look polished as a family and a team on location because after all we are at work and not at an event to have a good time or, party! Drinking on location is absolutely prohibited for my team because (again) we are there to work and while many of our events have alcohol or an open bar- I will effectively lose it if I find anyone on my team drinking. While I don’t think I’m a hothead or even bossy, my entire team think that I can be overbearing and I’m okay with that. Personal appearance is an important element of being a professional and dressing appropriately when making a first impression is far more important than these younger folks realize. My twin sister and I first learned of my sons tattoo after he was in a car accident- my reaction was (as usual) shock and horror that he would go behind my back and get a four leaf tattoo. In fact, I believe my facial expression must have matched my exact words were “obviously, that tattoo didn’t bring you any luck!” When my son had his ears “guaged” I (as usual) went nuts about this and yelled “how on earth are you going to find a job when you look like you just left Africa?! Next you will have a bone through your nose!”
Let me explain that today’s younger society find tattoos and piercing “the in thing” and wherever you go, you will find a “twenty something” year old with tattoos and piercings and I’m fairly certain that their parents are just as horrified as I am that they are doing these things to themselves because they THINK it’s fashionable or cool.
I’ve advised my son that when he’s ready to visit a plastic surgeon and get his ears sewn together to give me a call.I don’t know when or why the tattoo and piercing “thing” got started but, my daughter in law has numerous piercings and tattoos as well.
For a parent who spent my sons childhood going above and beyond to keep him perfectly dresses at all times and in private school, I’m consistently amazed that my hard work and dedication have gone by the wayside. I buy “preppy” clothing that I never see him wear.
Last week while wearing pants that were too long and dragging at the heels, my son attempted to put out a grass fire caused by a chiminea in his backyard and suffered several burns. Taking him to the doctor for treatment- I was horrified at the shoes he was wearing that were not only tattered but also filthy. I buy my son nice things all the time and wonder what he does with them on a daily basis.My twin sister keeps our Little Pawners perfectly dressed at all times and (like me) worries that they will adapt this “hip hop” type of dressing in their later years but what can we do after our children turn 18 and consider themselves “adults?”
Parents everywhere wish that their children would pull their pants up and wear a belt!!!
The only “control” I have regarding my sons appearance these days is when we are on the job and on location but I am holding out hope that at some point he will listen to me since I spent 17 years as a clothing and print model and am pretty sure that my fashion sense is founded on good taste.
You see, I believe that every occasion requires “appropriate attire” and if that makes me old fashioned well then I guess that I am. My husband spent a lot of time being trained on appropriate attire as well as how to use silver at a formal place setting. We are teaching the Little Pawners how to set a table and which silver to use to prepare them for dining without us because we believe that a good foundation and manners are important in life and while my son has very good manners- his appearance might take you off guard.
I prefer to see him in a suit but it isn’t “easy” to get him to dress up these days. While both of our feelings are hurt regarding yesterday’s “blow up” regarding his latest haircut- my reputation in the wedding and events industry wasn’t “given” to me- I earned it over a five year window and often working for free to establish myself and therefore, no one (not even my son) will embarrass me at an event by inappropriate attire or behavior.
I may be old school in my views regarding fashion but, I take pride in my appearance and expect everyone on my team to do the same. Although our children and grandchildren often complain about my twin sister and I “guiding” their clothing options for photo shoots and events- we know what our clients expect and whether you are behind the camera or not, you are a part of MY TEAM and I expect everyone to not only act professional but also to look professional.While I realize (much to my dismay) that my “ideas” and “opinions” about piercing and tattoos don’t faze my son- at the very least outrageous haircuts and facial piercings (other than his current piercings) I’ve had to put my foot down around here and it was painful to advise him that he either wear a hat to hide this Mohawk or stay behind as we meet our commitments to three families this weekend.
Sometimes as a parent we have to make tough decisions to teach our children and the lessons are difficult for both sides but the reality is that all of us are judged on our appearance at face value whether you realize it or not.
We’ve all see the young mother at the park covered in tattoos and piercings and wondered what the Hell they were thinking! With this recent trend of “BODY ART” I’m taken back to the days of cleaning up graffiti at parks in California where volunteers tried to make parks inviting. Body Art belongs on an easil and not on your body but, art is different for everyone and years from now these “kids” will be parents and grandparents and I can only imagine what the family photos will look like!
Wendy M Wortham