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Hair School For Dads

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

A group of fathers in York, England, is learning some important skills, including French plaiting, Dutch braiding and how to use a bobble. Yes, they are going to hair school.

MIKE HEWITT: We did some Christmas trees last time we did it. One guy was doing, like, a heart and things like that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Mike Hewitt, one of the founders of Yorkey Dads. We first heard about his school on the BBC.

HEWITT: My daughter always generally wants what she calls, like, her Elsa hair, which is essentially a ponytail plaited. Then she can pretend that she's Elsa from "Frozen."

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yorkey Dads was created about four years ago. The parenting support group offers activities like Lego clubs and first-aid classes. But then one of the founders, Jack Woodhams, had a knotty dilemma, he told us.

HEWITT: His daughter had a party, and they all did unicorn hair. And Jack was really struggling to just brush hair. And he said, you know what? We need to sort this out.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So they came up with hair school and got a local hairdresser to lead the classes. They'd been meeting the last Sunday of the month and have had over 20 sessions attended by a dozen men or so. Isa Celik (ph) is a Yorkey dad who's been brushing up on his skills with his 4-year-old daughter Zara (ph).

ISA CELIK: We take a photograph. And every two seconds, she goes, me look, me look. She wants to see it, too. As soon as we come home in front of her mummy, she actually turns around. And she says, mummy, I have a beautiful hair. My daddy did it. And then she's asking mummy to sit down so she can do mummy's hair.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But Celik says there's more to hair school than bobbles and scrunchies. The classes are a good way for dads to bond with their daughters and distress at the end of a workweek.

CELIK: The bottom line is Friday afternoon, when we come home, I think it's safe to say we all had enough of our bosses and customers. So on the weekend, when we meet up, we have a coffee, do a little bit of hair, chat about what's going on. You can almost guarantee that one of the dads will actually manage to open himself to us by being in the same boat. Even by listening, those help from the stress point of view. You will realize you're not by yourself. It can really, really help, especially from the mental health point of view.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So there's bonding and also the thrill of showing off a job well done. And Zara's proud papa says he hopes to keep up the skills he's learned in the class, maybe one day fixing his daughter's hair on her wedding day.

CELIK: The wedding day is dreams of the dream. And if I do that, then I'm the happiest dad in the planet.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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