Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stylin' and Profilin'


Over the years I have had the honor of sporting many haircuts. Having grown up in the 90’s, I always wanted really cool grunge hair (a la’ Eddie Vedder) but my hair tended to curl when it exceeded a certain length and I realized that long hair on me could easily get me mistaken for the girl from Curly Sue. Coming to terms with this wasn’t easy, but I decided that I could still utilize my hair to create a persona that I could be proud of for years to come. I was wrong….
When I was around 10 years old I feel under the spell of the single most offensive men’s hairstyle of all: the rattail. For those of you fortunate enough to be unaware of this style’s existence, it consisted of a long collection of hair allowed to grow from the back of the head. The hair around said protuberance was neatly maintained allowing for maximum emphasis of the rattail. In other words, it was like looking at the surviving hairs from a vicious assault on a mullet.
I remember being adamant about growing the rattail as I perceived it being cool. I also remember my mother’s protests, most likely because she knew such an appendage almost ensured that I would still be living at home on my 30th birthday. At any rate, I was eventually allowed to grow the curly “neck warmer” of my dreams and could not wait to show it off to my friends. I had one friend in particular who had elevated the rattail to an art-form by bleaching it blonde to accentuate his naturally chestnut hair. I hoped that my humble contribution to this budding form of self expression would be worthy of my fellow classmate’s admiration.
Unfortunately, I had a nervous habit of curling the precious wisps around my index finger which served the dual purpose of creating a very crude perm and pulling many of the hairs loose. This resulted in a very anemic rattail that could have been easily mistaken for a case of the mange. I tried to control my nervous tick but was embarrassingly unsuccessful and eventually was persuaded to cut the rattail loose.
The next stop on my journey toward hair-induced celibacy was the bowl-cut. This gem received it’s moniker from the symmetrical layering of longer hair over shorter hair just like someone had placed a bowl upside-down on your head and just cut around the rim. It was most famously sported by Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill (pictured below) as was pointed out to me between fits of hysterical laughter by a former boss.

 Always on the cutting edge of fashion, I decided that I needed to spice up my “Dorothy” by having my sympathetic aunt install blond highlights. Since it took the highlights a while to blend, for the next week after a fresh coloring I walked around looking like a dejected human roulette wheel. I maintained this ruse for several years until I discovered the key to my follicle freedom: hair gel.
Unable (and unwilling) to spend much on product for my styling needs, I began using the low-budget standby L.A. Looks. This particular brand rated its “holding strength” on a numerical scale; a hold strength of 1 would be considered almost imperceptible and a ten was rated up to a Category 4 Hurricane. Being a fan of subtlety, I opted for the ten which was colored electric blue by some banned combination of pigments and carcinogens.
I would issue a dollop the size of an Egg McMuffin© into my palm and apply it to my recently washed hair in order to maintain the “wet look” associated with enviable fashion icons like Rob Lowe or most of the suspects on Law & Order. For the rest of the day, my hair was completely immobilized by the gel unless I began to sweat, at which point the chemicals would ooze into the pores on my face further aggravating my already acne-riddled skin. I had the ladies on standby.
Although my hairstyle has evolved, I still use the same gel (don’t judge me, because per ounce it is still cheaper than NuGrape) albeit applied a little more sparingly. I like to think that I am semi-fashionable but after typing this I have realized that felt just as confident about my rattail as I do about my current hairstyle which is pretty frightening.

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