all forked up
Yes, I am admitting it to the world.
I have used a plastic fork on myself and
met with great measure of styling success.
In frantic moments before the
onslaught of ceaseless meetings where
personal grooming might just win
the day, and finding that in the Bumsteadian
morning rush out the door to
the bus, that the comb never quite made
its usual transition from the dust-
draped 'fridge-top to my too-tight rear
pocket, I have made "do" running
the tines of a common white plasti-pak
salad fork through my sparse scalp
to coif my 'do (or 'don't, as reality
would have it).
And you know what? Thinning dads who
fork themselves can be pretty stylin'.
For there must be no more shame for we
dads of the world who are follicly
challenged. We do NOT have flesh-colored
hair. It is NOT a chrome-
dome, or a billiard-ball, or any similar
It is NOT a solar collector
for a sex machine.
Quite simply put, we are baldy-boys.
For some of us it happens all at once.
These are the sad dads, who once
proudly flipped and fashioned manly,
manely tresses of locks away from
our eyes (greasers) or down into our eyes
(mods or collegiates), now
literally "stranded" by some malevolent
genetic timebomb, shedding
wafting tufts that alight on pillows,
that gather in bristle brushes, that clog
the shower drain.
There are the mad dads who rage against
their hairless fate, begging
rogaine prescription after prescription
like a methadone-mad junkie. These
are the guys who grow the fuzz-head
thing that looks like that
gawd-awful spray-on can-o-curls, a product
that in itself is a grim
Halloween-like mockery of our hairy glory
days. These are the guys who
undergo painful transplants, or weaves,
and wind up looking either like
Hellraiser or the twisted product of an
Amish quilting bee gone terribly,
For the rest of us, it is a long, long road
of steady and lachrymose loss.
One of the manly myths out there has
something to do with your mom's
dad's hair (your maternal grandhair,
if you will). If gran-paw had it, then
surely you will as well. This, in my case,
turned out to be the cruelest of
hogwash, for surely, if exhumed, his
massive patch of Hungarian thatch would mock me
from beyond the very grave.
For this dad, it started ending as
a mere teen. Not allowed to grow it until
age 15, I made the horrifying discovery
that it was already too late. By then
it was leaving me with ghastly regularity.
So I --quick!-- grew the back-n-sides
long as I could only to discover a rebellious
wave brought the left side up
and the right side down, leaving my 'do
looking like BOTH Patty and Kathy Duke's.
Solution #1: slather the scalp with
Dippity-do gel, don a stocking cap, and
sleep while you style. Predictably, the
next morning the wave is gone, but
the rest of the 'do is a rock-solid mass,
all of which moves together in the
direction of any single disturbed follicle.
Solution #2: Niagara spray-starch and an
iron cranked to the "cotton"
setting. Straightens it real good, though
the scalp burns sting like the dickens.
Years of expensive hair stylings followed,
paying big big money for
patronizing stylists who would talk their
ceaseless talk and snip snip snip
just long enough to make it feel
as if I was getting my money's
worth, despite the fact that a five minute
once-around would probably do
me for months. The onslaught of children
also needing pricey boutique
cuts in shops looking more like
Storybook Forest than Joe-da-Barber's
was the final financial reckoning.
The coupon in the junk mailer
promised an adult cut
in one of them-thar franchise joints
would cost me only five Samoleans. It
didn't also promise the dearth of estrogen-deprived
barrel-chested barrel-waisted tattoo mama
"stylists" waiting there, razors at the
ready, to take it down "to the wood."
This, as it turns out, is an unadvertised bonus.
Five minutes and you're out, neck shaved red
with tales of the Appalachian hills to tell.
Now, I can walk the proud walk,
strands coifed to forky perfection,
into any stodgy old meeting
room, the glare from the punishing
fluorescents bouncing off my noggin'
like the Cape Hatteras beacon. I can coif
vicariously through my son's
bushy mane, inherited from
paternal-maternal-great-grandhair, no doubt.
For this baldy, it's on to the next hairy Bardo,
and this is the scariest hair
fright of them all for us dads
on the darkest side of our thirties.
That, of course, is the sudden,
unwelcome and inexplicable
gene that flips on the disgusting mechanism
that finally grows hair for the hairless.
Except THIS hair is the surprise
Rapunzel-like growth of unwanted cilia
emanating from our poor,
poor, dadly noses and ears, my dears.
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