Monday, July 17, 2006

A Telltale Tale About Hair

I've been bleaching my hair for a good while now.
My natural color has more of a boring, brown vibe.

i let the brown come back in from time to time.

But i prefer blond.
Strangely, so do my parents.

They actually prefer me in blond hair.
Not my natural color.

Last year, i had let most of my brown hair return. i went home for the holidays.
Within five minutes after my arrival, my mom says, "So, what happened to your blond hair? i like you as a blond."

Even my dad, the rather stoic, non-expressive fella that he is, made a comment. "boy, you look a lot different without the blond. why'd you get rid of it?"

This is the same person who used to give me such grief as a teenager for letting my hair grow long in back (yes, i had a mullet. it was the 80s in the midwest. I was a rocker. it had to be done).
"you look like a girl," he'd say to me, gritting his teeth with exasperation.

Whatever, dad. go back out to your beloved garage and fix another used car you got on the cheap.

See, as a kid, i had me some blond hair.

It started getting darker in middle/high school, but my hair always maintained elements of the blond, especially in the summer.

I went through various stages of my hair, eventually letting it grow super long when i was in my early and mid-20s, just because i had always wanted to have long hair. to be able to put my hair in an actual pony tail, now wouldn't that be something.

But it became annoying. a bother. i had to attend to it too much. it became a chore.
sure, i looked cool while rocking out, but by that time, i had moved on from metal and all that.

In fact, toward the end, it was almost constantly pulled back, with me wearing a backwards newsboy cap whenever i didn't wash it.

This foray into long-hair land, this time is now known as the underachieving portion of my life.

Post-college. not many jobs, not very motivated, back in the town i grew up in. i was freelancing at the local paper and working at my friend's coffeehouse, smoking lots of cigarettes, drinking way too much coffee, and growing increasingly embittered. about what, i'm not entirely sure.

But then, lo and behold, i got a job at the fort wayne journal gazette in Indiana.

OK, so it wasn't exactly like scoring a job at a magazine in New York, but hell, it was something.

I was moving to another state, living alone in my very own apartment, for a cool job that actually paid for my medical benefits, something i had never had before.

Time for change.
New beginnings. all that shit.

cut the hair.

I remember trying to describe to the stylist what exactly i wanted it to look like. she wasn't getting it.

Finally, i found a gossip magazine at the salon with an older picture of scott weiland, lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and pre-heroin emaciation era, sporting what was then known as a 'caesar cut.' basically, really short, bleached blond, pushed forward.

'oh, ok, i see,' she said as she eyed the picture skeptically.
"Are you sure you want to do this? are you sure you want to cut your hair?"
exactly what i didn't need to hear at that moment.
but this was coming from a worn-out rocker chick wearing way too much eye makeup, desperately clinging to her bygone '80s look.

Rocker chick thought i was insane for wanting to cut it.
Which, did make me pause to ponder for a moment.
but then...clarity.

"Fuck it, i'm doing it. Cut it off!"

And so she did.

i recall watching my hair fall to the floor and feeling a bit unsure again.

What the fuck am i doing?
Oh yeah, this is a good thing.

She did an ok bleaching job. This brightened her up some. Maybe it was because she had experience. She had obviously tried every potential dye in her hair, now a mass of chemically-altered brownish brittle split ends and dull, lifeless body.

How the hell was this woman working in a hair salon?
but whatever.

After impatiently waiting for the bleach to do its thing, she washed the chemicals out, tossed in some mousse (yes, mousse. do they even make that shit anymore?), and voila! the new me.

i was freaked.
i looked nothing like the person that arrived there.
it was beyond weird.

but exciting!
whoo hoo!

all my friends flipped out when they saw me. couldn't believe it was me. blah blah blah. the usual schtick.

my parents, of course, loved it immediately.

my mom said i looked 'sharp', while my dad gave me a nod of affirmation and then went back to the garage to fix something.

when my brother got married, my mom even asked me to make sure and get my hair cut and colored before the wedding so i'd look good for the wedding pictures.

back to the blond.

and that's where i've stayed ever since.

sure, i've tried growing the brown back out, or let my roots get so long i look like i have blond tips (mainly due to extreme laziness in making an appointment).

but i always drift back to my beloved blond.

in fact, when Sig cut my hair earlier this year, she cut off pretty much all the blond.
she even gave me an out.
"ok timmmii, most of your blond is going to be gone. Are you ready?"

yeah, sure.
change is good, right?
do it.

for two whole days, i was sporting the real me, the brown.
boring ass brown.

i felt deflated.

i hated it.

i felt uncomfortable. not right.
i looked ... just, somehow wrong.

even sig, who suggested i cut off the blond in the first place, looked at me a day after cutting it and said, "you know, timmmii, the blond hair, it suits you. something just doesn't seem right with this. maybe you should bleach your hair."

exactly what i was thinking.

back to the bottle. back to the blond.

admittedly, i realize it's weird to have to rely on chemicals to make me feel ok about my hair.

and ok, my hairline is receding and the blond hair does somehow make it less obvious that it's going to be gone someday.
that said, i wouldn't bleach my hair just for the sake of vanity (well...), and i see plenty of guys with receding hairlines who try to cover it up by bleaching it and look ridiculous.

but for me...more than anything else...i just like it. i like it on me.

since i had natural blond hair for so long, it doesn't seem wrong.
i have fair skin, which also plays a role.
on me, it doesn't have the air of desperation like it does on some guys.

actually, i feel lucky to still have as much hair on my head as i do.
my dad was pretty much bald by his mid-20s, as were all of his brothers.
yes, i know the baldness gene comes from your mom's side. yes, i know it supposedly skips a generation. i've heard it all.
my deceased grandfather was bald...but then again, he was 89 years old when he died.
my mom said good ol' grumpy Earle had hair throughout her childhood and her teen years.
all of her brothers still have hair.

so yeah....that's it.
the true story about my reliance on the bottle.

what this means, i have no idea.

i can't believe i wrote this much nonsense about my fucking hair.

now don't you feel oh so enlightened?

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