At some point in my childhood I decided to Take Charge of my appearance. No more sweaty mud-stained corduroys. I began first with my hair.
For the formative years it was a straight (or slightly crooked) bowl cut. Standard fare for the late 70s and early 80s, like the saccharine and obnoxious redhead from Silver Spoons. (I think it was Danny Cooksey, who later transformed his heavy salad bowl into a professional mullet. But there was some other mop-headed brat. Come on Google…come ON!) Then I went to a Deutsch skinhead cut, which was great because you could wash your face AND your head with soap! No haircare products!
Then came gel. Oh, the possibilities. For a while I had my hair combed straight forward with spokes pointing out at perfect horizontal, as if a hurricane wind was at my back. Then came tall spikes, which took a lot of gel and/or mousse and invited fascinated touching by classmates. Sadly, not enough girl classmates. Spikes begat pancake skater cut begat a long period of peace and prosperity with a conservative side part. Too conservative. Side part begat short tousled devil-may-care look begat whatever I have today.
My early inspirations included a junior high history teacher, Mr. Micheaux. He never smiled and had a sculpted white flat top that had likely not changed since he came back from Da Nang. Or Inchon. Or Normandy. Or Gettysburg. His flattop was a thing of beauty, swooping up in the front like the prow of a cutter. I imagine if he rapped his head against a tree trunk, wood chips would go flying.
So why the constant change d’coiffure? What better way to divert the eye from the face! Well actually it was that it could be done. Not often did it enter my mind whether it should. So in a position unsuitable to pass judgment on anyone else’s hair choices, I’ll leave you with some of the finer examples of hirsute artistry of the past thirty years: sexy mane, business in front/party in back, microphone cap, political helmet, power helmet, I cut it all by myself, and emo sheepdog.