Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Author's Note: After the serious-to-dyspeptic tone of my recent posts, I'd like to lighten the mood a bit with a more humorous essay. I hope this foots the bill.

On many a morning I will wake up with a pompadour. Somehow, the way I sleep (on my side, mostly) and my tossing-and-turning often conspire to style my hair in a manner best suited to motorcycle-riding rebels of half-a-century ago. I will concede that many men have rocked the pompadour effectively since then, but I've never counted myself among them. Honestly, I've never even tried. It just seems too far outside my milieu, even though it usually looks halfway decent in the bathroom mirror.

One time in college, I walked out of my room right after waking up, and a female friend asked me if I'd combed my hair. On the surface it's a reasonable question, but I wanted to laugh and ask her why I would drag myself out of bed at 11 am (This was senior year.) and comb my hair into a pompadour for the 20-foot walk to the bathroom. It's not like I was worried about coming up with the perfect hairstyle to tie together the bleary-eyed, pajama-bottomed look I had goin' on.

So I comb it out (with my hands, of course). Although I'm afraid that might represent the peak of my hairstyle, and my efforts to "style" or at least "manage" the hair are futile attempts at coolness (or, really, presentability) by an aging, half-hearted hipster whose fashion instincts were never that good to begin with. It is as if my hair begins each day in a perfect, Edenic state, and my clumsy machinations bring about a tonsorial Fall From Grace.

Have I been blessed with the ideal "bedhead," hair that needn't be styled or even touched? Doubtful, but I should try leaving the pompadour intact someday and see how people react. Perhaps they'll think I've become a "rocker" and try to beat me up with their "mod" friends. Or they'll mistake me for a "greaser" and misinterpret my penchant for drag-racing as hopeless nihilism. I have to ask myself: Is perfect hair worth that kind of rampant hostility?

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