Monday, July 28, 2008

In One's Hair

I have not had a haircut since I was 17, when I had my hair cropped rather short to emphasize a 'duck tail' that I was told was very fashionable. I was so mortified by the idiotic results that in the intervening 24 years, I have had my split ends trimmed only once during my sophomore year in college. My hair is a little longer than shoulder length and it has been a long time since stopped checking because I am terrified that my glacially receding hair line is only one of a complex of hair movements taking place on my person. Long hair enthusiasts have tried to convince me to get 'hair therapy' to make it grow longer, but this is silly. I am not a hippie. I just want my hair to be the same. In this I am more like an Orthodox Jew - someone who gets uppity and digs for theological reasons for why he doesn't want to change when the real reason is that he couldn't be bothered. My wife likes my hair this way (and beard) and so I am in a sort of a perpetual hair rut paradise.

The thing is, I have frizzy hair. This is the result of curly hair grown long and not pampered by fru-fru hair people. I have spit ends. And as I mature, I am getting my Dad's 'Brezhnev effect' - there must have been radiation in our family gene pool somewhere way back when because my eyebrows are not only getting bigger, but they are getting squirrely long and kinked. My wife noticed this and offered to pluck them (what is it with women who pluck hairs?) but I declined. I like the Brezhnev effect. If I can't grow more handsome as I age, then I want to be more arresting in my presence. These 'wild hairs' do not make me look thinner, but I do feel more powerful and this is important for a declining fat guy.

My sideburns are also experiencing a change. They remain curly and virile, but they do not grow in any satisfying manner. There was a time when I could brush back the hair growing from my temples and tie it into my perpetual pony tail. This provided a tidy look. Nowadays, however, these tufts of hair are unmanageable - too short to be easily coaxed into the pony tail and yet too long to successfully blend in with upper beard elements a la shaggy dog manliness of the 'Era of Good Feelings' presidents. These frustratingly unmanageable virile temple locks go sideways and will not be tamed. I have tried cutting them, but this gives me the low rider Mohawk look. Fortunately or unfortunately, they grow back quickly and assume their Bozo the clown position.

So my secret is hair gel. Ok, please get your chocking guffaws out of the way now. Here is how it happened: I slapped some on one day when I had to go to an engagement with my wife immediately after returning home from work and I didn't have time to shower or freshen up much. I slicked my fuzzy side hair tufts back with some water - often effective but very temporary - and when I saw that my temple bristles were just too powerful, I just somehow lost my fear of hair gel and grabbed a blue can of goop and plastered it onto the sides of my head. It was breathtaking. The effect was, indeed, too good. I had puffy, frizzy hair everywhere except on the sides of my head, which were perfectly flat and smooth with the wet look. My wife was aghast, but since then I have learned portion control (just a finger swipe will do) and she doesn't even notice - or if she does, what is more important, she doesn't say anything. Here are some 'before' and 'after' images to give you an idea how it looks:

I glop on hair gel most mornings now and I have for some time. I won't tell you exactly when I started as I want it to remain somewhat of a mystery. I am peculiarly satisfied with these arrangements despite the fact that they appear to go against my rather National Socialist personal hair dictums. I looked at myself int he mirror recently and I noticed that, with my hair gelled and beard trimmed and in a proper two piece suit, if I stood still, I couldn't even see my pony tail behind my head. It is as if I have become a bullet-head, my hair adding a certain precision gliding mechanism to my head a it pierces the atmosphere when I walk or trot in heavy-guy fashion to the bus. Indeed, the suppression of the bozo sideways frizz effect has marked a new era in my life, even. I am now not merely resigned to wearing appropriate clothing to work, but am actively involved of my own volition in the accommodation of fashion's tyranny over my appearance.

My only hope to retain some of the 'free flag' of my eternally imagined youth is to emphasize my eyebrows. Though hardly the weapons of youth, my eyebrows retain something of the rebel and it is my sincerest hope that there is no gel for this, no treatment and no cure.

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