In the spring of 1980 at the tender age of 5, I made a bargain with my mother that would unknowingly incur thousands of dollars in psychotherapy bills: if I could go one week without crying at kindergarten, my mom would cut my hair, a rippling spring of silken locks never before seen on a child outside of Scandinavia.
After successfully completing my end of the arrangement ï¿½ albeit 14 weeks after my first attempt ï¿½ my mother sat me in front of a mirror, placed a small Superfriendsï¿½ cereal bowl on top of my head, and severed any potential chance I had at a normal childhood. What grew back has been described by witnesses as “that which distinctly resembles the consistency of Velcroï¿½.” In place of Aryan glory I’d grown patches of wiry baneberry thistles interspersed with industrial size brillo bathtub scrubbers.
That frightfully awkward ‘do topped my gangly growing body until about 7th grade when a heavier and more manageable version of itself settled in. For almost two years I was able to comb actual portions of my head without surgical removal of the brush and participate in such girlish activities as ponytails, pigtails, and fly-backs. Hot damn, you should have seen my fly-backs.
But something mysterious happened during the first month of my freshman year in high school, something so heinously unnatural that I assumed a new identity the kids liked to call “The Hair.” It was always, “There goes The Hair,” or “The Hair is over there,” or “Watch it with the hair, The Hair, your hair is everywhere.”
Somehow, somewhere my hair had learned to go curly, as it were. And it did, indeed, go curly everywhere. I had so much hair and so many curls that four consecutive attempts to straighten the beast resulted only in making it angrier. Up and out and frayed and matted and zig, zag, boom, bam, pow! Forget brushes or any other conventional hair-styling equipment. That shit required its own specialty array of gardening tools complete with battery powered weed whacker.
Fast-forward 12 years, and my head is still stricken with a nasty case of the jitters. But I’ve learned how to tame the monster with modern day Avedaï¿½ products and several techniques used by pit-bull breeders, all involving a lot of screaming. Unfortunately, in an effort to comply with the memo sent out earlier in the week requiring that I arrive to work before the nine o’clock hour this morning, I wasn’t able to douse the beast in the appropriate amounts of Confixor Conditioning Fixative, causing a rather annoying breakout of kinks in and around the forehead.
And I swear to God the first thing said to me when I stepped foot in the building, “You’ve got yourself some hair!” Yes, yes I do. Thank you.