Frankly, my hair is becoming a bit of an issue, and I’m in dire need of a COVID-19 pandemic haircut.
This was me pre-pandemic.
This is me today.
My hair hasn’t been this out of control since college when I started growing it long because a girl I had a slight crush on told me to (Yes, I had all the willpower of a drone, and no we never dated). I used to refer to the inevitable ugly stage as the Bobby Brady phase, which transitioned into the Industrial Mullet before it reached a state when others began referring to me as the Wild Man of Borneo. And it’s even worse now because it’s losing pigment so is more flyaway — and it’s thinning.
When my friend Neil Griffiths, an officer in the Royal Navy, saw a recent online photo of me, he posted ‘Steady on, Ludwig!’ Besides his Beethoven reference, I’ve also been compared to Doc Brown from Back to the Future, Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter, the Heat Miser, and any number of 19th-century pompadoured villains and maybe a modern-day televangelist.
I’ve even been compared to Shrek, a New Zealand sheep who kept eluding the annual shearing roundup by hiding in caves. He spent six years on the ‘lamb’ (yeah, I’m not apologizing for that one) and had 60 pounds of fleece shorn from him after someone finally caught his wooly ass.
Like Shrek, I can’t remember the last time I had a haircut. Maybe some time toward the beginning of the year? As the pandemic ramped up here in Arizona, they initially listed barbershops (along with nail salons) as essential businesses, but then shuttered them after public outcry. Not that it really mattered to me. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been getting my hair cut by Rosalinda, my Mexican Mom, for coming up on 20 years. So even though the barbershops are now open, she’s the only person I trust with my hair. But, she and her husband, Alfredo, fall into the older category of citizens, so even though I don’t go out much, I’m not taking the risk of possibly infecting them. Besides, like I said, I rarely go out and when I do, I (usually) wear a baseball cap. On the plus side, my coworkers find my hair humorous when we have video meetings, so at least I’m bringing something to the table.
Zero F***s Given
When I was younger and out trying to meet women, I would have had a lot of anxiety if I had looked this crazy. Today — and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not — but I pretty much don’t give a fuck. My biggest worry is whether I’ve walked out of the house with pants on or not (trousers for the Limeys). This is actually a valid concern as I tend to spend my days wearing boxers and a t-shirt, maybe leaving my property once or twice a week to shop. I’m so used to it, that when I walked into Fry’s grocery store the other day wearing plaid shorts, for a horrifying, irrational moment, I stopped in my tracks because I wasn’t sure if I’d actually put my shorts on before I left home. For a second I wondered if I was instead clad only in my plaid boxers. It was one of those breathtaking moments, the kind you have in a dream when you suddenly realize you’re out in public and you’re butt-ass naked. If someone in security was monitoring the front door and saw the look on my face and my eyes darting around as I stopped up short, he probably would have said “Hey, I think this weird-looking fucker is getting ready to steal something.”
The Houseguest keeps telling me to grow my hair out till January, but I think it’s more for her amusement than her looking out for my interest because occasionally I’ll walk into a room and she starts laughing.
Speaking of unruly hair, the Houseguest was complaining hers was looking a bit witchy lately, so she got her boyfriend to help her cut it yesterday. He did the back, and she did the front and sides. It actually looks pretty good despite him asking about haircutting techniques during the process. I am so thankful it turned out okay because I was NOT prepared for all the crying and wailing a hack job would have resulted in. I had another friend in college whose boyfriend misunderstood her request that he cut 2 inches off her shoulder-length hair, and gave her an unintentional bob — there was lots of boohooing that day.
Surprisingly, the Houseguest actually gave me first crack at the job a couple of weeks ago when she made an offhand comment about having me trim her hair for her. I stared at her, incredulous, and said absolutely not.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Have you not been observing me for the last 18 years?” I asked in disbelief. I mean, she even reads my blog for God’s sake. There was no way in hell I was getting roped into something that might require an ear being reattached or a scalp transplanted.
After thinking about it for a second, she acknowledged that, yeah, it was probably a dumb idea. Plus I wasn’t about to break my vow.
I still have nightmares about this. When I was a kid in the UK, around 8 years of age, I had a lock of hair hanging in my eyes, annoying me. So I tried trimming it with scissors right before we were leaving the house to go to Mass one Sunday. A fairly simple task, right? No. I succeeded in removing the offending lock by cutting a large and very obvious rectangle out of my bangs. My mom was so mad and said I looked like I was simple. She tried disguising it by wetting my hair and slicking my bangs over but to no avail. And even worse, I was an altar boy. Naturally, I didn’t want to go up in front of the congregation with fucked up hair, but my mom was a big believer in serving the Lord and paying for your mistakes, so this was a two-for-one. So there I stood in my black cassock and white surplice, as people in the front rows snickered at my bangs, disrespecting my sacred role in the celebration as the bell ringer and the lighter of candles. Humiliated and seething, since God refused to smite them, I could do nothing to avenge my shame. That day, I swore I would never take scissors to my — or anyone else’s — hair ever again (my little brother, Kevin, had recently butchered another four-year-old’s hair — he was a goofy-looking kid before the haircut and my brother did him no favors).
Anyway, so that’s what’s up with my life right now. We’ll see how long this plays out. I thought about buzzing my hair with clippers, but I gave my dog trimming clippers away after my dog died. Plus, I never did a good job on her anyway. She always came out looking like a moth-eaten baby seal. My friend Carlos’ wife, Tiffany, saw the same photo that Griff saw, posted “Good Lord!” and offered to buzz my head with her clippers, but I’m not sure I’m ready to go down that road. To be honest, I have a sneaking suspicion I have a misshapen head.
So, barring an unexpected pandemic haircut, it looks like the Wild Man from Borneo may be hanging around for a bit longer.