Of Lice and Men

OK, gentlemen, this one’s for those of you whose kids have come home with head lice, whose wives have freaked out about it, and whose mothers or (mothers-in-law) have had anything at all to say about it.

And just in case you think it’s too “girly” a topic for you, let me call your attention to the Gillette ads on TV that show a guy shaving his chest.

As a result of actual situations witnessed by the Lice Happens team, we thought it would be helpful to give the guys a how-to guide on surviving a head lice infestation, because we know you’re really good at following instructions (and directions, even though we also know you’ll never ask for them). And because we know that the women in your life will be extremely vulnerable when lice appear on the domestic scene, and we’d like to prevent you from making things worse by causing a domestic scene.

What to Do

Resist the urge to panic. Especially if you’re bald, or nearly so, in which case you can add “won’t get lice” to the list of reasons you’re grateful to be bald, which probably includes the savings on barber visits and the company of Bad-A** guys like Michael Jordan, Jason Statham, Patrick Stewart and Bruce Willis.

How would they handle it? Assuming flamethrowers weren’t available, we’d like to think our strong, silent types would get educated about lice, and not let the ick-factor get to them.

Be present. Take some time off from work; a half-day spent supporting your family, being there for them, and expediting the treatment is far more important than anything you could possibly need to do at the office. Including that sit-down with President Obama. He has kids. He’ll understand.

Think of the benefits:

  1. Imagine yourself as Jason Statham (aka “Handsome Rob” in The Italian Job) taking time off to help out at home. The chicks REALLY dig this.
  2. You will get so many points for this that the next ten toilet seat infractions could go unnoticed. Your wife may not even remark on the chest hair you’ve shaved off and left clumped in the sink.
  3. Most important, you can’t be part of the family lore if you’re not there for the event. And infestations of lice almost ALWAYS make it into the funny-stories-that-weren’t-funny-at-the-time compendium. What else will you reminisce about at Thanksgiving when the kids come home from college?

Hire a lice removal service. It’s better for the health of your family and well worth the money and the time. And your wife will be incredibly grateful.

You’ll have to participate in the process, but you won’t have to sit still for very long, if you’ve gotten lice at all. It will take far less time to screen and treat your hair, if you have any, unless you’re sporting a mullet, in which case you might need to sit a few minutes longer, then immediately go and get a hair style introduced sometime in the current century.

What NOT to Do. Ever.

Ask pointed questions like, “How could you let this happen?” or “Why didn’t you see this coming when the Dickenson kids got lice?”

And you don’t even know the Dickenson’s.

We’d all like to think it’s preventable, but thousands of years of human head lice infestations have proven that they’re here to stay. Until they’re eradicated, lice WILL happen. Don’t make it worse by trying to second-guess your wife’s ability to keep your kids safe from lice, scraped knees, or yogurt that squishes out of a tube.

Assign blame. See “pointed questions” above. Recognize that your family is in a tender spot, and needs your love and good humor, and your example of manly strength in the form of kindness. Nobody needs to hear you say, “This is all your fault.” It won’t help, and has never prevented or eliminated head lice. Assigning blame only serves to point out your own fears about your role in the problem, and this is not the time for self-righteous, poopy-headed assertions about how you would have done things differently. Because you didn’t.

Allow your mother to do either of the things listed above. If you don’t understand this, your marriage is doomed, and Lice Happens won’t be able to help you.

We hope this short primer was valuable, and that no matter what happens in your life, keep a cool head, stay present, laugh, love and avoid the blame game. We think you’ll have a better life, better relationships, and no one will care how much hair you have on your chest. Or your head.

Unless it’s a mullet.