I’ve rocked a buzz cut for more than thirty years. I’m not exaggerating. In the 70s and 80s it was all “part down the middle” and feathered, like a pop star. But by the 90s, with thinning hair and an ample girth, I decided to go short. I liked it.
Lisa liked it too. In fact, she once compared me to Kiefer Sutherland. The “24” Kiefer Sutherland. Yeah. I can handle that.
Then I lost a bunch of weight. Like, almost ninety pounds. I’ve never lost that much before, so I never walked around with a thin build and a buzz cut at the same time. Lisa did not like it.
No longer did she think I looked like Jack Bauer. “You look like you just got liberated from a concentration camp.” Something like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love the historical reference! But seriously, a concentration camp?
So I decided to grow it out. I’d tried it a few years ago, but didn’t get too far. I was not used to the way long hair hangs in your face. I got tired to trying, and cut it off. As it turns out, it takes a lot of work to have long hair. I’d forgotten about that. Back in the day, I would exit the shower, and quickly put mousse in my hair, then blow dry it to the style I was going for. That’s a lot of work, especially compared with the aforementioned buzz cut, which is far less complex: Wash it. Throw some hair jelly in there. Walk away. No combing, no brushing, no blow dryer, nothing. And if I was feeling particularly lazy, I’d skip the hair jelly. Seriously, its a buzz cut. Who cares?
When that little dance commenced, Lisa compared me to Donald Sutherland. Ummm…you mean, Kiefer’s daddy? Yes, that one. Not the Donald Sutherland from the “Animal House” days, or from the movie version of MASH. No, the modern version–Governor Snow, or something like that. From “Hunger Games.” Hmmmm.
A goal of having longer hair takes patience. My sis-in-law, who is a world-class hair stylist, tells me that hair grows at a pace of about half an inch a month. This will take a while. She was right. The journey to longer hair has taken me through a litany of styling products, as one will become helpful and useful for a little while, then phases out as my hair got longer. My favorite gel has been Scruples by Enforce. You can’t buy that at WalMart. Its the good stuff. But not for longer hair. I graduated to a fiber thing, then to “Gorilla Snot,” and finally, to nothing at all. Occasionally I’ll use a little hair spray, but for the most part, I wash it every two or three days, and just let nature do the rest. That is my ultimate goal.
Once it was long enough I began going to a men’s salon to clean it up. “Tell them ‘LONG LAYERS,'” Lisa said. I didn’t know what that meant, but he did, and he took a little off the back so as to allow the front to catch up and not look like a mullet. But that back grows fast. And I had completely forgotten about my hair’s odd propensity to flare out at the shoulders. I only had long hair for a short while, after all. Dad wouldn’t let us grow our hair long, so he shipped us off to Harold the barber. Harold was a kind old guy at our church who cut hair at a barber shop in town during the day, but set up a shop in his out building for cutting at night. He charged us four dollars. And he sucked. My hair was usually more like a bowl cut, or a Central European kid (I got called Dutch Boy way too much back then). When I went to college, I let my hair grow out for a time, but after a while, started my thirty year adventure with short hair.
So let’s revisit our journey for a sec. Lisa said I looked like Kiefer Sutherland, then a concentration camp survivor, then Donald Sutherland. That’s it, right? WRONG. Yesterday, she introduced a new comparison.
“What was that lady’s name? The mom from Brady Bunch? Carol, you say? Are you sure? Yeah, that sounds right. Carol Brady. THAT is who you look like now–Carol Brady, with the way her hair flared out at the shoulder? You look like Carol Brady.”
Fine. I look like the matriarch of the Brady Clan. I guess it could be worse. I could look like Alice. Or Bobby.
Pay attention, young men! Always marry the girl who will tell it like it is. Honest to a fault. Gives it to you straight, even if it hurts. Because you know, Carol Brady and all.
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