Ah, fashion trends.
I sometimes wonder if everything does, in fact, come back in style. I certainly hope not.
I also wonder sometimes about our own particular brand of vanity. What in the world are we thinking sometimes?
Remember the ’70s? Leisure suits and blow-dried big hair. Clothing made from fibers and colors that cannot be found in nature. Wall-to-wall shag carpeting and sunken living rooms. Mood rings. Terry Jacks.
Thus far — thankfully — the only thing that seems to be coming back from the Rayon Epoch are avocado green kitchen appliances.
I remember one of the classic moments of that era, when the whole world quivered in anticipation of the Playboy issue in which a former congressman’s wife was making her show all/tell all debut. Well, maybe not the whole world; I think the world of corrupt coastal South Carolina business and politics trembled from the tops of their expensive toupees to the tips of their two-tone alligator shoes. As well they should have; as I recall, she let quite a few cats out of a number of bags, including her attendance at some monkey business meeting where she said she’d never seen more married guys in leisure suits and alligator shoes trying to cheat on their wives in her life. Or something like that — I was only 12 at the time, clearly not of the age yet to read Playboy for the informative articles and timeless literary contributions. Whatever, it is said that the day after that issue hit the newsstands, garbage cans from Windy Hill to Georgetown were stuffed full of leisure suits and alligator shoes.
Speaking of the Grand Strand, it has been my experience that for us guys, more often than not our Achilles heel to our prodigious self-esteem is our head. More specifically, what’s on it.
Face it; we hate losing our hair. But note that I refer to the process, not the final condition. Going bald sucks, but being bald isn’t necessarily bad. If anything, it’s a relief. In my case, I find it a little odd to have to wear a baseball hat when I’m out surfing, but on the other hand, everyone else finds it a little odd to see a 43 year old guy carrying a surfboard in one hand and a bottle of Geritol in the other. The point is, once it’s done, you know what you’re dealing with. No muss; no fuss; no more weird haircuts designed to try to hide it.
I considered trying one of the new miracle creams of the ’80s – Rogaine or Menoxidil – but never got around to it. For one, they were and still are pretty expensive. Plus, you have to use the stuff forever or lose whatever gains you make. But as a raving paranoid and card-carrying hypochondriac, my biggest problem is my imagination. I am forever convinced that if I tried it, I would be that one guy out of a million to wake up and find a nice, thick, ineradicable and clearly recognizable crop of ear hair growing on my head.
I had a friend, who, like many, started thinning early in life. By his mid-twenties, he had lost quite a bit, was feeling the unfairness of it all, and was apparently convinced he could effectively disguise his condition with a few well-placed swipes of the comb.
Unfortunately, the comb-over is not the answer.
For those of you unfamiliar with this particularly fetching coiffure, the general methodology is to grow the hair on one side of your head very long. Then, starting your part about an inch above your ear or collar line, you carefully sweep and swirl it, in patterns reminiscent of a soft-dip ice cream cone, around the naked areas of your head, creating an illusion – held only by you – that a full and manly mane of hair grows there.
What it actually does is give the general impression to the public that you get your hair styled at the Dairy Queen.
As for toupees and wigs, well, let’s just say in my experience there are only two kinds: the really bad ones and the ones that almost look real.
Hair replacement procedures have come a long way since the late great Strom Thurmond made the congressional scene with those gloss black and candy corn orange corn rows back in 1970. Nonetheless, have you ever noticed that every one of those procedures create exactly the same hairstyle?
One of my favorites was some procedure we used to see all over Atlanta area TV stations, featuring this grinning idiot who said something like, “My barber told me last year I would never need his services again – and look at me now!” The camera would pan away, and we would discover that the guy was hanging by his hair, two ends tied in a stout knot, from a football goal post.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m willing to bet the best thing to do is let the Good Lord’s plan unfold. If you are going to have a toilet bowl head, as I surely will one day, then so be it. If you are going to have that silvery mane in your twilight years, lucky you.
On the other hand, I have perfected the only comb-over that looks real. And I’ll just keep it – along with my tight denim leisure suit, mood ring, and zodiac sign chain – thank you very much.
Woops, I dropped my keys….
What Combs Around Swirls Around
Ah, fashion trends.