We certainly are living in hairy times
We sit in our abodes. And sit.
Junking on TV and too much food. Blowing through our entire collection of jigsaw puzzles. Calling old friends. Trying to stay one step ahead of the virus.
But one force of nature continues, self-quarantine or not.
Mine has. In spades.
Yes, I know, at my age, I should be grateful that I still have some. In fact, I have oodles of it. That’s the problem.
For decades, I have had my hair trimmed by professionals. Money well spent. Now, like too many of us, those professionals aren’t working. Yet my hair grows on.
I got my last haircut sometime in early February. As I type this, it’s early April. That’s about double my usual interval between cuts.
If I doubled the interval between baths or shaves, the results would be predictable. Equally predictable is what’s happening on my head.
For sport, I have been hunting for the right phrase to describe what my hair looks like these days.
Fluffy… yes, that’s pretty much right.
Billowing…I’d accept that.
Like soft vanilla ice cream…well, not exactly. But my hair is almost all pearly white, like a vanilla Dairy Queen cone. And it certainly curls at the edges the way a DQ does. So, this figure of speech isn’t far off.
When country music singer Kenny Rogers died recently, I studied the photos of him in the newspaper. He had a waterfall of white hair on top of his head and much more of it tumbling behind him, in cascades, almost to his shoulders.
Kenny, I feel ya.
But I’m still undecided about how to cope with this. Yes, a pair of scissors is indicated. But who should wield them?
Should I cut my own hair? Never have. Never wanted to.
Or should my long-suffering spouse do it? She has volunteered.
That might sound great on the surface. But she has never cut my hair or anyone else’s. If this were a job interview, she’d flunk, for sharp lack of experience.
Ok, then, why not cut my own? For the same reason that I can’t tie a necktie or button a button when I’m looking in the mirror. Everything is reversed. My clumsies would grow clumsies.
If I tried to cut my own hair, I might end up looking like the landscape of Arizona — great bald patches and arroyos as far as the eye can see.
Of course, my voluminous plumage is nowhere close to a first-world problem. People are sick and dying. More will follow suit. We are in a very scary period.
But part of surviving this social distancing test is holding on to some semblance of normal.
Never in more than half a century as an adult have I let my appearance “go.” But now, the upper half of my ears is a mere memory. My neck can only be located if you push aside all those locks — sort of like finding your way through a forest of bamboo shoots.
One nice unintended consequence: My bald spot has receded, not in reality, but underneath a bumper crop of long, nearby pieces that have obligingly sprouted over it.
You’ve heard of comb-over. This is grow-over.
True enough, my appearance doesn’t matter all that much these days, because offices are closed and meetings are cancelled. So, no need to get all gussied up for some event where I’d ordinarily want to look sharp.
I’ve sought advice about the hair issue from friends. They have split pretty much in half. Fifty percent say your wife can do a splendid job.
The other half say, hey, this could be the chance you’ve been waiting for. This could be the time to grow a pony tail.
Me? A pony tail? At my age?
We’ve all seen men who are north of 60 and decide to go this route. To me, they look as if they’re a little desperate for attention.
Even if that described me — which it doesn’t — why go pony now? The only non-spouse audience I could command would be via computer.
And to do that, I’d need to have some idea of how to use Zoom. I haven’t scaled that techno-mountain yet, dear friends. And knowing my techno-hopelessness, I may never manage it.
So, on I go, shampooing faithfully, brushing every strand, delaying the moment of reckoning. But very soon, when a baseball cap no longer fits snugly, it will be time to face the music.
So, I asked my wife again: “Are you really willing to do this?”
“Sure,” she said.
Wish us both luck. I won’t end up looking like Arizona, I’m sure. But I will pine for the pre-Covid days when I climbed into that big chair and said: “A little off the sides and the back, please. Same way you always do it.”
Bob Levey is a national award-winning columnist.