As far as I know, there is no scientific research probing into the phenomenon that determines how your hair will look from one day to the next. One day it’s spectacular in a please-stay-this-way-forever appearance and by the following day (usually a Monday); your hair will betray you, as if you’ve been with other hair. My contemporaries and I are engaged in a battle we can never win. It began when we first tried to connect with someone romantically and hoped against all odds that the growing adornments on our heads would mind their manners for just a few desperate hours.
In high school, I failed to realize the benefits of hair that was well looked after. I was oblivious to specialty shampoos and conditioners, proper brushes and combs. It was an achievement for me to match a pair of socks each morning for school, let alone try to maintain my fickle partners above. The types of guys at school who excelled at female popularity had one thing in common; they all had fantastic hair. (They also had fatter wallets, were incredibly studly, generally spoke in grunts and treated girls like total assholes). Over the following years, I‘ve had to settle for a hair style that was borderline Edgar Allan Poe, John Wilkes Booth or somewhat of a Dickie Smothers; incorporating a texture I can only describe as a Burger King Croissan’wich mashed on top of my head. Time being the great equalizer of high school rivalry, our hair is now the same; it’s disappearing. And before vanishing in a tide that will never return, the betrayal is punctuated by going gray. It makes me wonder, “Is the original cast of “Hair” now bald?”
At some point virtually every surface in my home has become a repository for my dying hairs. Among these strays, never once have I discovered a gray guy, it is always a good, natural-colored, loyal, little soldier. I can almost hear a tiny voice call out, “Sorry dude, it’s just my time. Don’t worry; I left you my little gray brother. He’s cool. In a few years, he turns white”.
Why would my hair betray me like this? Is it revenge for letting my hair get whipped around in a windy convertible, unprotected by a baseball cap or babushka?
I never thought I would linger as long as I do, staring at the shelves of Rogaine while at the store. If I give in to that, where will it end, Flomax and tour of a Del Webb community?
Rogaine treats their potential customers with fairy tale caution. They tell you that you must use it twice a day, every day or your hair will start disappearing again. Sort of a fairy Godmother approach to returning before midnight or else you’ll turn into a pumpkin. Also it is most effective if you’re under 40, it won’t work on receding hairlines and it won’t cure baldness. Better yet, never utter the words, “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!” and start using your money for Charmin. (Special note to the hat-wearing-guy, you’re not fooling anyone. That means you too; Ms. Jacket/Sweater-tied-around-your-waist-woman). I would, therefore, avoid the mishigas of hair plugs and hairpieces – they’re the equivalent of fake boobs; they’re nice, but everyone knows they’re not real.
Of the two old man hair catastrophes, going gray is easily masked. You can have your hair stylist work a little magic on your next visit or you can wade in cautiously by using Just For Men Brush-In-Color for your beard, moustache or side burns. So far, no one is addressing the hair on your boys in the basement. Left untreated from the rest of your hair, they may frighten your partner with their Dos Equis ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ demeanor.
Some men have given up and shave their heads completely – you have to have the right shape of head to pull this off. I once got close by opting for a crew cut. This will never happen again. My little-to-no-hair-at-all look brought my wife to tears and with good reason; I took on the appearance of a distressed honey badger.
The most troubling aspect of my aging hair development is that my hair has not only stopped growing where it belongs, it has started growing where it doesn’t belong. Every skin surface on my body has me in full-blown competition with Lon Chaney Jr. at midnight.
I may as well give up and face reality. My advice to my fellow boomers is to do the same and to keep the following in mind:
1. You’re never going to bag a supermodel because of your hair. (You’re never going to bag her because you’re not rich!)
2. You’re not even going to bag that young waitress/stripper at the restaurant/bar you frequent. (She’s only nice to you because she’s working for tips).
3. Don’t comb over your dome with side hair. Everybody hates that look, even impoverished third-world cultures hate that look. I guarantee you they will be thinking, “I may be starving, but I’ll never do a comb over. Just look at that schmuck. What is he, a TV weatherman?”
4. Never be a bald guy with a ponytail, it’s not right. (There are, however, three exceptions . . . your last name is ‘McNasty’, you run a nudist camp or you teach pottery).