Saturday, January 16, 2016

Shining, Gleaming, Streaming, Flaxen, Waxen

A long time ago, on a scalp far, far away, there once grew a dense forest of straight blonde hair.

When I was a little kid, the poofed mass of yellow on my head turned near white in the New York summer sunshine. My Mother always would comment how easy it was to spot me if I wandered away from her in a store, or was sitting on stage under the bright lights of a public school band concert. Not long after, the quintessential 1980s hair helmet formed like a protective biosphere when I entered the hygienically self-aware stage of my teen years. Cans of AquaNet and bottles of hair gel fell like spent soldiers as each long, blonde strand was carefully lacquered in place.

I got a bad rap in college for growing a mullet, which really wasn't a mullet, but rather a failed subversive attempt to grow my hair long, like some kind of neo-hippie, proto-grunge granola-age-punk. A lack of commitment to the experiment resulted in an unfortunate hairstyle equaled in unsightly aesthetics only by my inability to match clothing colors and patterns. Who says a gray and purple button-up sweater vest doesn't go with acid-washed, parachute cargo jeans and a pink dress shirt? Pretty much every member of the sighted world.

As we tumbled through early adulthood, marriagehood and parenthood, developing technologies made it easy to avoid hair envy. Nothing quells concerns over a receding hairline better than shared social media pictures of your high school friends sporting scalps more barren and devastated than a clear-cut rain forest. This guy was bald in his twenties, that one in his thirties. By the time I reached forty, I felt like the lone survivor of some horrific folicular pandemic.

Not anymore.

The turn of the century brought with it a desire for streamlined simplicity that included My Lovely Wife buzzing my hair to within a centimeter of its life. (Somehow, I still manage to achieve righteous bedhead.) Every once in a blue moon I get the notion lodged in my brain to try growing my hair out a bit. By "a bit," I mean more than an inch. Right around the time the next buzzing is due, I'll catch myself grabbing the mousse to direct my hair along its long-abandoned part. It looks pretty good, too, if I do say so myself. Then two things happen.

The first is when my hair reaches a certain length and suffers what I call the Bozo Effect. The listless and lazy hair on the very top of my head collapses under its own weight while the hair on either side of my head sticks straight out as far as it can possibly go without leaving the scalp -- an unintentional and pathetically sad Flock of Seagulls impersonation, without the benefit of futuristic music video lighting and underrated guitar playing.

The second thing that happens is I catch an occasional glimpse of what my hair really looks like to others. You see, each morning when coiffing my golden locks in the mirror I'm staring blindly at an optical illusion. Where I see a reasonably handsome head of hair, others see glistening scalp gleaming at them from under a few delicate, wispy strands. One photograph of the top of my head is all it takes to bring me back to reality.

Twenty years ago I told My Lovely Wife if my hair started abandoning me then I would buzz it off. Better fire up the trimmers.

© 2016 Mark Feggeler

1 comment:

  1. THAT is one problem most women don't have to face. However, that doesn't make it even. Women have breasts, all sorts of internal genitalia problems, high heels, brassieres, pregnancy, childbirth, mammograms, exams that involve stirrups (yee-ha!), girdles/Spanx, make-up, hairy legs... and the list goes on.

    Succumb. Shave it and keep it super short.It's a sign you're (old enough to be) a survivor...