Curses, foiled again

Superman had Lex Luthor; Spiderman, the Green Goblin. Luke had Darth Vader, Napoleon had the Duke of Wellington. History, literature, and film are all full of these classic hero-and-nemesis pairings; they’re essential to the storytelling traditions of the world, the pivotal good-versus-evil binary: Perseus and Medusa, Elizabeth Bennett and Lady Katherine. In fact, I’m lucky enough to be blessed with an arch-nemesis to call my own, the Wicked Witch of the West to my Dorothy: my hair.

Okay, so maybe it’s not quite as epic as the struggle between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, but I swear, over here, every day is like The Iliad in front of the mirror. My hair is singularly uncooperative: it curls in the front and lies flat on the sides, or it poofs in the front and decides to go all Van-Der-Graaf-generator on the sides, and the back just…does its own thing, I don’t know, or it’ll have a day where it looks totally different from each angle. The slightest hint of a breeze robs it of whatever fragile equilibrium I’ve managed to establish that day, at the same time exposing my ridiculously high hairline, which is why I keep it longish in the first place. Before each class I have to make an emergency trip to the bathroom so I can make sure the fifty-foot walk between buildings hasn’t made me look like a 19th-century British period film gone horribly wrong. And I don’t even want to talk about what it’s like after a long, sweaty dance class.

Think it’s strange for a guy to worry about (read: obsess over) his hair this much? I see your point, but: get over it. It happens. (There’s a whole ‘nother realm of gender theory we could get into here, but we’ll save that for another day.) I’d kill to have the sort of hair you can just throw some product in, muss it up a little, and call it an indie-bedhead sort of day. But see above re: hairline – I can’t rock the short hair. My brothers can rock the short hair, but for whatever reason I missed out on the not-ugly gene. I tried to rock the short hair, for the first sixteen years of my life, but it involved a side part and a lot of water and it just…wasn’t good for anyone. I go back and forth now from shortish-long to less shortish-long, and despite the fact that my hair is the most finicky coiffure this side of a can of AquaNet, it at least occasionally cooperates and affords me temporary relief from my usual gamut of self-image issues.

Also useful in the self-esteem department: female friends. I guess shaggy, curly hair is really in right now, or something, because the majority of my co-ed companions refuse to admit to my hair being anything other than, and I quote, “Cuuuute!” I’ll huff my way into the dining hall, drop my stuff across from Rachel all put-upon and gripe, “God, worst hair day of my LIFE,” and she’ll say, every time, “What are you talking about? Your hair is always amazing.” Or Kristin will pick me up for a Starbucks-and-trashy-movie-renting run, and I’ll sit and fume in the direction of the little vanity mirror on the back of the sun flap for five minutes about how I need a haircut and it had better not be lopsided this time, like, thanks a lot, Cost Cutters, while she rolls her eyes all, “It’s fine. I love your hair. Shut up. No, really, shut up.” To say nothing of the seemingly endless female compulsion to play with my hair (it’s a good thing I don’t really mind).

But no matter how often my friends exhort my hair’s awesomeness, I still walk into the wind with my head bowed so my hair doesn’t blow back; I still cast nervous glances at any mirrors in the vicinity, fearful of discovering I’ve had a clump of hair unfortunately misplaced all evening while I’ve been trying to chat up people of import. It’s an ongoing battle – siege, really – and until I discover the specific haircut or hair product that’ll let me have awesome Marten-from-QC (look it up) hair, I don’t see any recourse from my usual “shower, towel off, and pray” procedure.

[Note: School is consuming my soul – if updates around here are sporadic, you’ll know why.]


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