Three days after my husband and I got home from our honeymoon, I chopped off almost a foot of the hair I had spent the last year and a half growing out for our wedding. I don’t even think I told him I was going to do it, much less asked his permission.
I can be impulsive like that. I think it’s fun. I was flipping through a magazine with a co-worker when I saw a fabulous hairstyle, so I made an appointment right then. I mean, if my husband asked my permission to get a haircut, that would be fucking weird. So why should I ask?
I probably don’t feel the need to be granted permission to do such things because when I was in seventh grade, I wanted to trade my shoulder-length bob for something edgier. The asymmetrical hairdo of the ’80s was stylish as fuck, and I wanted it. When I asked my father, he said, “No, absolutely not,” and I would lie on my bed, pouting into my Young Miss magazine as I longed for a much trendier hair style. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to cut it. It was just hair after all. My hair.
I am sure the hair incident, and other similar situations, shaped the woman I am today. I don’t like to be restricted. I don’t need permission to do something I want to do — not from my husband, not from my friends, not from society. It feels a little too constricting, and I don’t need to be held back. It doesn’t mean I am a rebel who likes to stir shit up everywhere I go, I am just an adult who wants to do adult things and make adult decisions for myself. I waited a really long time for this, and sometimes, I just want to do something without consulting anyone.
My husband and I do talk about the big decisions in our life. Buying a house or car, how we invest our money — these are joint decisions. But if it is something like cutting or coloring my hair, getting a tattoo or a nose ring, or deciding I am in fact going to buy those jeans even if they aren’t on sale, I don’t ask; I just do. I am a woman of action, and my husband knows this. I believe it is one of the reasons he married me, and I remind him of it often, especially when my Amazon Prime boxes arrive on the front porch.
I have also been known to take the semi-big things into my own hands, like planning vacations, or redecorating the living room, because those are things I enjoy, and he loves a good surprise.
I either just do something, or we have an honest discussion about it. I certainly don’t ask for permission though. Instead, I say things like, “I would like to plan a weekend in the city with my best friend.” I do not say, “Can I go to the city for the weekend with my best friend?” Because I’m not a child. We will look at our calendar to make sure that he’s not away for work or that the kids don’t have conflicting sporting events on a given day, and then I will go away with my best friend for some shopping, wine, and gossip.
If our kids saw us asking for each other’s permission, it would imply we don’t trust each other to make an educated decision that an adult should feel confident in making. I don’t micromanage my husband or his purchases. He is not my child, he is my partner, and I want the same kind of treatment. In fact, this fall when he came home with another kayak (this makes three, three kayaks) he didn’t ask my permission. He went out and bought it, and I told him to enjoy it. I meant that too. That is his thing, we could afford it, and it will bring him joy.
I have to admit something though: After I stopped working, I felt I had to ask to spend money, because for the first time, I wasn’t making any, and I didn’t feel like I had the right to spend it on anything extra without permission. That all changed really fast when my younger sister (I adore my younger sister) scolded me and said, “What are you doing? Don’t ask for permission! You work too.” She was absolutely right, and it was the slap in the face I needed. My reluctance had changed the dynamic in our house, and it wasn’t a good change. My husband didn’t want me asking for permission to buy things. It felt as weird to him as it did to me.
Whether you work or stay at home, you and your partner are equals. You contribute to the household just as much as they do, and asking for permission to cut your hair or buy new shoes is degrading.
We are on the same team. It doesn’t mean we just go out and do and buy whatever the hell we want. It means we are two adults who love, respect, and trust each other as partners, but also recognize that we are two autonomous individuals capable of making decisions for ourselves. When something bigger comes up, or something that involves our whole family unit, we have an adult discussion, we weight the pros and cons, and we make a decision together. But asking for permission is never part of the equation.
After all, one of the best parts about being an adult is — finally — nobody is the boss of you. And I rather like making my own decisions. Sometimes this happens with the support of my husband, and sometimes without it. But full disclosure: If he comes home with another kayak, I just might lose my shit.