Single dad and daughter bond over braids

Phil Morgese has always been good with his hands on "guy stuff." But when it came to styling his daughter's hair, he struggled to keep up. He watched videos and practiced, eventually mastering his skills.
Phil Morgese has always been good with his ha... 03:02

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Phil Morgese has always been good with his hands -- on guy stuff. But when it came to the finer points of styling his daughter's hair, Phil admits he was about a quart low.

"Because every time I put a little hair clip in her hair, it would fall out almost immediately," Morgese tells CBS News. "She used to wear a lot of hats."

Phil is obviously a single dad. And he hated that he couldn't put in a measly clip, let alone a four-strand braid.

"He wanted to learn so bad," his daughter Emma explains. "I told him, 'It's so easy, you just take four strands...'"

What Emma didn't realize about her dad, or most dads for that matter, is that the Y chromosome makes us folliclely challenged.

"I said, 'Daddy, I'm going to do a three-strand braid, just back off,'" Emma recalls.

At that point, a lot of guys would have given-up -- but not Phil. He watched videos and consulted with hairdressers -- and when he eventually mastered it, a light went off.

"Something as simple as sending your daughter out and her being proud of her hair, and you being proud of your work, it's a beautiful thing," he says.

To share that feeling, Phil now gives free styling lessons to other like-minded dads. He calls it the Daddy Daughter Hair Factory.

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Phil Morgese, center, teaches another dad how to style his daughter's hair. CBS News

"The purpose of the class is just to go through the basics," he says.

Officer Kevin Pedri is a fairly typical client.

"This is a lot harder than what I do normally," Pedri says.

Kevin says arresting crooks is a cakewalk compared capturing a ponytail. But Phil presents it in a way even the most macho man can understand.

"It's like wrapping a rubber band around an extension cable," Phil explains.

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Phil Morgese braids his daughter Emma's hair in a class he runs to teach other dads how to style their daughters' hair. CBS News

And by the end of this lesson in Girly Girl 101, their styling skills are second to bun. Although Phil says, the real reward has nothing to do with hair.

"That's excellent time to sit there and just talk about your day," Phil says.

"Yeah, my dad has a motto -- it's not about the bun it's about the bond," Emma says. "Or, it's not about the braid it's about the bond... or anything has b and then bond."

Whatever the marketing, it's a success. Since launching the classes in October, dozens of other dads have started workshops in Pennsylvania, Texas, even the Netherlands.

"The only question you haven't asked is, 'Have I ever done a hairstyle on a cat?'" Emma says.

She's right, I left that one out. So has she ever done a hair style on a cat?

"No," she says.

I should have quit when I was ahead.

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  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.