This Blows: A Life in Hair

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I've long wanted to write a memoir on hair.

I already have a title: "THIS BLOWS: A LIFE IN HAIR"

It would be about how our hair defines us, from birth to death ... the hairstyles over time ... our infatuation with our stylists ... the incredible time most women and gay men spend on our their hair, for first dates, school photos, job interviews, speeches. I can remember my time with each and every one of my products, my brushes, my blow drier, my styles intimately.

Hair, like clothes, define an era. Moreover, I think our hairstyles defines us as people ... our willingness to take risks, be individuals ... or not.

Ever since I was a fat kid who shopped for Husky's, the only thing I had going for me was my hair. I used to char my scalp trying to obtain the perfect feather -- from front to back -- with my hairdryer and built-in bristle brush. I spent nearly an hour every day as a young boy, burning through a can of Rave or Aquanet, working up a lather just to look like a faux-Farrah.

As I aged, my hair has changed radically, from feather to George Clooney, from brush to pick to nothing but product.

And, as I've aged, I've moved multiple times, and the hardest part of relocating for me hasn't been moving to a new city, but trying to find the perfect hair stylist.

I'm a bit of a hair whore ... I've cut stylists not just for giving me a bad cut, but also for talking too much, or spraying water in my face. One snipped my ear -- ala Van Gogh -- and tried to cover although I was literally hemorrhaging, but I stuck with him because he made me look pretty.

Gary and I are currently on an extended vacation in Palm Springs, and recently found ourselves in need of a haircut. We Googled "best stylists" and asked tons of people whose hair we liked where they went. On a whim, we passed a shop in downtown Palm Springs and saw a man cutting a woman's hair into the sleekest, most beautiful bob we'd ever seen. We went in, and immediately scheduled an appointment.

I was so nervous the day we went in to get our hair cut, that I almost sported a pair of Huggie's Cruisers with Comfort Control. I was at six weeks with my hair -- three weeks overdue for a cut -- and when my hair grows, it doesn't get long, rather it expands, ala a Chia Pet.

I made Gary go first the day we went to our new stylist; Gary is always the guinea pig. If he ends up looking like a carney, I know I can just walk.

Gary looked fabulous.

The stylist sat me in the chair, put his hands on my shoulders, and asked if I had ever considered going short ... "really short."

"How short?" I asked.

"Really short," he said again.

"We're not really getting anywhere," I said. "Army short, or I-can-still-get-my-hands-and-some-product-through-it-short"?

"Have you ever had the sides clippered?" he asked.

This is the equivalent of asking me if I find Patch Adams to be a great movie.

"Trust me," he said.

The last time I heard that, I thought, a man ended up spanking me and making me pot roast.

The clippers buzzed, leaving me, finally, with a mound of hair on top of my head and none on the side. I looked like a Standard Poodle, the only dog on the planet to officially scare the hell out of me.

"Trust me," he said again.

I shut my eyes, wishing I had on my Pampers, and the stylist spent the next hour, scissoring, clipping, texturizing, layering. When I was done, my hair was short -- shorter than it had been since I emerged from the womb.

And I'd never looked better.

Very short hair suited me; it shaped my head; it made me look young but age-appropriate. I looked, well, kinda, hot.

I hugged my stylist. And gave him a generous tip.


It's so silly, really, but it defines me ... us ... and it will until the day the mortician lays us all in our coffins.

I just pray I end up with a mortician who really knows hair and his way around product.


Blogger CarlaCarlaCarlaCarla said...

re: "Ever since I was a fat kid who shopped for Husky's..."

Dude, I read only two of your blog posts so far, and they both mentioned that thing about Husky's. It's okay to let it go now.

Just mentioning it.

March 11, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Gary Ross Edwards -Art-Home-Garden said...

I hear you, I hear you ...

Nice flower and butterfly, btw ... makes me feel calm.

March 11, 2009 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm in love. I mean, "spanking" and "pot roast" in the same sentence?!

I love my stylist. I refer to him as my "hair architect."

March 11, 2009 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Gary Ross Edwards -Art-Home-Garden said...

Hey! Thanks for reaching out ... and I love "hair architect"!

You look very Farrah, btw ... that's how I wanted my hair to look my whole life!

Here's to hair ... thank God neither of my grandfathers had receding hairlines, or I'd be institutionalized by now!


March 12, 2009 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Here's to hair, indeed.

And Patty Berg. Who turned me on to your blog. (She's my cousin.)

March 13, 2009 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Show us a pic, Gary! Your cut sounds great. Love to see it.

March 16, 2009 at 9:33 AM  

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