When last you heard from me, I believe it was 2008 and I was frantically dodging paparazzi in Northern Thailand. I know, that’s a crazy long time ago. But, as the Headmaster can attest to, blogging is hard work, and to do it with any kind of consistency takes a level of dedication I guess I just didn’t have.
What can I say — I’ve never had to commit to much in my life. From the get-go I’ve been a free spirit, always springing to the beat of my own drum and going any which way I please. A wee bit of a wild thing. Unruly. Untameable.
So it shouldn’t surprise you that, back in ’08, after months being subjected to a diminished standard of living (think endless tangles, feebly tamed with cheap hair products of highly questionable contents from whatever little bodega The Headmaster could track down in whatever country we were
lost in backpacking through at the time), combined with altogether too much time in the spotlight (Croatia and Greece were manageable but the throngs of fans in India and Thailand really did my head in!), I took the single-stranded decision to wind things down and treat myself to an early retirement.
But desperate times call for desperate measures, and from what the HM has told me, these are definitely desperate times out there for some of you: shaggy strands going to any old lengths they please, curious combovers and cowlicks, clippers gone wild, ghastly grow-outs of roots, horrifying home-dye jobs, stray scissor-snips … an endless array of hair-raising situations that frankly made me stand on end. What’s going on out there, people?! I felt I had no choice but to spring back into action after all these years and offer a few words advice, support and solidarity.
I know, I know. Since I’m basically quarantine-proof, it seems a bit sassy of me to attempt to commiserate with your current plight, right? It’s easy for me to say, “Why’s everybody so tressed out, man?” But as I mentioned a moment ago, I haven’t always had it so smooth.
Wanna take it all the way back to my roots? Imagine being a Caucasian kid in a middle-class neighbourhood in the ‘70s with a foot-tall ‘fro that easily rivalled anything Diana Ross (or, for those of you who might appreciate a more current reference, Colin Kaepernick) ever busted out.
The HM’s mom did her best to keep me under control, but ultimately she didn’t have a clue how to tame the wiry wild thing that I was. Neither did old Mr. Taylor down at Taylor’s Barber Shop. Every few months the GHM (Grand Headmaster) would drag us down the street to Mr. Taylor’s Little Crop of Horrors, where he’d tug and pull and comb and cut and the HM would always cry and he’d always give her a crummy candy at the end. Like that helped me any.
The kids at school had a field day teasing her about me. I believe “Brillo” was the nickname of choice back then. Her siblings just called her “Head”. In class photos, we were always in the back row – not because the HM was the tallest, but because I was. I stood head and shoulders above the next-highest hair by a mile.
Yeah, it might seem like my life is smooth sailing now, but rocking these locks loud and proud felt pretty impossible back then. So believe me when I tell you, I know your struggle is real.
I won’t make you tear your hair out by pulling you through the twists and turns of every decade of my adventures. Let’s just say, my life has been nothing if not experimental.
The occasional attempt was made to set me on the straight and narrow,
But it never stuck for long. My true nature always took hold, and before you knew it I’d be right back in frizzness.
I’ve been short,
and the larger-than-life victim of high heat and humidity more times than I can count.
You get the picture.
Over time, things have become a little more manageable. Cara has left me to lounge on the long side, and she’s discovered a local Curl Salon that taught her how to finally give me the TLC I want and absolutely deserve (super-spendy hair products included). But no doubt there’s another travel adventure planned in her near future, and I’ll be recoiling in terror as she comes at me with $1 no-name hair gel again (‘cause that little suitcase never seems to have enough room for the super-spendy hair products to tag along). And I’ll be right back in the unknown territory you’re navigating right now, trying my best to look half-presentable against all odds. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
So, my fellow Crowns of Glory, my advice to you is this: Just hang in there. Even if right now you feel totally neglected, out of control, and out of shape, a joyful reunion with your beloved stylist is just around the corner. In no time you’ll be back to your perfectly coiffed, coloured and conditioned self. But don’t be surprised if down the road you feel the occasional pang of longing for the wild and crazy days of 2020; those few months when you strayed way outside your comfort zone, went wild, hung loose, and let your true colours shine through. I’ll be waiting for you.
“Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.” ~ Mary Schmich