The Hair Challenge

There follows a really tedious, self-indulgent, self-centred, rant about my hair. Weird.

I have observed on several previous occasions that my hair is something of a disaster zone. It’s been something that I have been in denial about for all of my life: from the mop of hair I used to have in school, to the persistent number 2/3/4 and eventually 6 shaves that I used to cut in my own hair for the time between 2004 and this year. 10 years without going to a barber.

I have never been one for spending too much time on my hair, mainly because life is too short and I’m just too busy. But, frankly, the short hair cuts haven’t suited me for about 8 years. The hairline has receded – the pictures don’t lie – and, having quite a big forehead anyway, the combination is not good. I hate looking at my face for this very reason.

I took the conscious decision in summer to stop cutting my own hair and consult a barber. Maybe they could help, I thought? I had my first hair cut in many many years, and suggested they should leave the top alone. I felt like it would be wise to “rebalance” my hair. They agreed. It looked OK and got a little bit better with more growth, until, eventually, the curls once more took over and it looked stupid.

Then a couple of months later, a different barber just went mental and cut the whole thing quite short again. The whole problem of unbalanced hair returned. I was distraught. I genuinely considered what surgery might save me. Or just wearing a hat all the time.

I walk through the high street and feel left out. All around me my peers either have more hair, styled well, or have less hair, but without the ignominy of a large forehead.

It seems to me that my ultimate strategy is correct. I should have a longer fringe (there is a picture of me aged 15 with one, but I’m double that age now!) – but I’m just not sure it’s going to happen. It’s been 9 weeks since that disastrous haircut, and since then the fringe just seems to be curling and curling, while the back and sides get longer and wider.

All of this is too much for me to cope with. Unlike my general hopelessness with fashion – which I can mask by buying half decent clothes – I can’t get away with the hair. It looks crap. It depresses me when I look at my peers (and younger, alas) – and see that they don’t have such nonsense to cope with. I even see people older than me with more hair than me. I’m sure it’s not because I’m losing hair… I’m sure of it. I think I currently have more hair now than I’ve had in 10 years. It’s just growing in all the wrong directions. I crave to have straighter hair that would look good swept across, or parted, or just something. Rather than looking like, as it does now, that I’ve styled it to look crap.

It was suggested to me that the solution is to start applying “products” to it, because that’s the done thing these days. In school it wasn’t, but now it is.

So, after searching Amazon reviews, I settled on one to try. Costing £12. I’ve never spent such money on my hair. In fact, I was so embarrassed to buy anything in a store that I knew I had to buy it on the internet…

Let’s just say it does reduce the frizz, but it doesn’t give it any real direction. Now my partially curly mop of lifeless hair is a defined, matte-shiny mop of still dead hair. The curls are amplified. The directions are all over the place. But the fringe is still short. Even when I try to side sweep it, or part it, the fringe – which when stretched downwards reaches to a couple of centimetres above my eyebrows – springs back into a tight position not far from where it starts growing. It honestly looks like I have as much hair on my fringe as it did 9 weeks ago, since the bad haircut.

I don’t want to be spending 30 minutes styling my hair for it to only marginally improve. I might as well just get rid of it, like I did before.

But I cannot. It’s probably even worse when it’s really short now.

Maybe I can find a barber who can help. The search is on.

At Least I Have Hair

Things have ground to a halt around here lately. The school holidays have begun, which has led to the inevitable transformation in the weather from good to bad, and the customers have dried up. Maybe that’s because I’m not doing anything to bring them in, but that’s more to do with the fact that I can’t decide which advertising strategy to waste my money on next…

So last week, in order to try and kickstart things, I went to have a meeting with my “business partner” and very long time friend. He says that he will join me in business if I can prove it’s worth it. He has a paying job, you see, and it’s not something he wants to throw away. Fair enough to him, he has a lifestyle that needs cash. Lucky old me doesn’t – though I more than pay my share around here with the housework I do.

Anyway, I decided to meet this friend for another reason too… because, on reflection, my last blog post was rather depressing. It was a stark realisation that my social life is precisely nothing at the moment. So, a catch up with an old friend would work wonders in comparing our lives.

Unfortunately, he comes out top in almost every department. He has a job, he has money, he has a long-term girlfriend, he is saving up for a deposit to get his own house/flat, he has lots of friends that he meets regularly, he doesn’t spend most of his day on computers or moping around the house…

But there’s one thing he doesn’t have which I do. In abundance.

Hair. I can’t believe it, but every time I meet him he has less of it. The old thatch on the roof is seriously thinning, and in a few years time I can’t see him having anything on top. Fancy that, having an egg in the nest before the age of 30. I suppose, at the very least, he doesn’t have grey hair. It’s just madness though, so I have to count myself lucky that, apart from a little thinning at the corners, where a receding hairline is beginning, I am blessed with a full head of the stuff.

After I had recovered from the shock, we spent some time discussing what to do. I came to him for help really… I rather hoped that he could spread the word about the business in his work, and I might get some sales. Sadly, it hasn’t happened yet, but he assures me he has told everyone he knows. I suppose spending £200-400 on a computer is a big commitment that requires careful thought… but dammit, I need some business!

But in any case it was nice to catch up with him and we got some good ideas together for some progress we might be able to make in terms of drumming up some business. He’s a very good friend like that, always creative and full of possibilities. That’s why we would be perfect in business… we complement each other well.

Argh, this just has to work.

For Fine, Lifeless Hair

Whenever I’m in the bath (for we don’t have a working shower) I often consider which of the plethora of shampoos I would like to use today to wash my hair. When I lived on my own there was, of course, no choice. I would buy shampoo, invariably Tesco’s own brand, and the rest is history.

But living in a house with shared resources the decision becomes much more difficult. For starters, the addition of women means at least a quadrupling of the choice – because, for some reason, women seem to need lots of different shampoos. One for frizzy hair, one for dyed hair, one for dry hair, a mild one for irritated scalps, one for dandruff, and then repeat for bottles of conditioner.

Then my brothers like to wash their hair with the Lynx shower gel, so there are at least two of those around the bath. And there is always another one for my sister, a more child-friendly one even though she’s 13. Add in the liquid soap that we’ve currently got, and the bubble bath, and you can see how it can easily become confusing.

It makes me wonder – are any of these products actually what they say they are? Is there a difference between me using a shampoo “for greasy hair” and another “for frequent use”? I mean, how frequent is frequent? I thought most people would wash their hair frequently anyway. Have you ever seen a shampoo say “for infrequent use” on it? If not, why not? I want to see the shampoo that is so deadly to your hair that it can only be used every month. And surely all hair gets greasy, otherwise why would you wash it? So isn’t every shampoo for greasy hair?

Then we turn to the other claims they right on the bottle. As a man, I wonder why would I ever want to “add volume” – or some other marketing speak – to my hair? I hate my hair, as I have discussed on a previous occasion, and any shampoo that promises to make it look more full of life, thicker and glossier is one that I should avoid at all costs. Yes, I know I’m using “women’s” shampoo… but that’s just the thing – they are only women’s because the branding tells you to believe that.

In truth, it’s all academic. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed any difference no matter what shampoo I use. The only factor in the equation is the smell. Some smell nice, some smell not so nice. And that, to me, is basically all the difference. Maybe on a technical level the cheapest shampoos contain more “agua” – to you and me we might call it that novel and exciting substance water –  and so you have to use more of it to get a good lather.

No. What this whole world is about is just about the same story you can apply to any aspect of modern, commercial life. It is the ultimate triumph of style over substance, of branding and image over reality. Beauty and hygiene are highly susceptible to the evils of capitalism for the simple reason that they probably figure in the minds of every person on Earth. And so we can plug away at those little fears and insecurities to sell you a bottle of miracle wonder that will transform you into one of the Beautiful People – gorgeous and successful – we see on the adverts and billboards.

Anyway, that’s quite enough moaning for one day. It’s supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men (and women)… unless they work for a beauty products manufacturer, of course. They can go stick their false science up their arses.

Lego Man Hair

Every time I cut my hair I feel like my hairline has receded just that little bit further. This happened again the other day, when I used the number four clippers this time… and though it doesn’t look as bad as it normally does at three, it is still fairly short.

But it had to go. My hair is a disaster area. When left, it becomes like a piece of a Lego man hair. It becomes one solid mass with no visible lines. And then starts to curl at the back and at the sideburns. It looks like you could “take it off and set it down”. In joke alert. Too long to describe.

So now things are a little more under control. But when I have less hair, I always feel colder. And that’s not helped by the fact that we seem to have segued seamlessly into winter from fake-summer.

This week, it’s been very quiet. I have looked at the availability of jobs, and now I have come to a new conclusion that it is not wise to apply for any more jobs in London. I’m clearly failing to attract any interest, perhaps because I’m jobless right now, but probably also because each job gets hundreds of applicants, and there’s just no way of getting noticed amongst the pile. In any case, I feel a little desperate now, applying for almost anything that might even be vaguely relevant. Surely things aren’t that bad?

And, if I did manage to get an interview, and didn’t get a job offer, I would then have forked out a large sum of money to get the train to something that was a waste of time. I don’t have that kind of money right now.

So maybe I would be better looking around here. If I instead apply for jobs based on the nine months experience I had working as a diary secretary to an MP, then surely I would have a fair chance of getting something along similar lines?

That is the backup plan now. There is still a primary plan in motion, but I’m still waiting on that one. It might never happen. If it doesn’t, then I’ll be a little upset with the friend of mine who effectively promised me the job if I ever needed it. Because, all of a sudden, I do need it. Gaps on a CV look terribly discouraging to a prospective employer…

Week by week the pressure gets more and more for me. There was me thinking that my CV looked pretty good. That I looked rather employable. Turns out not to be the case. Instead, I’m roped into the old chestnut of “to get experience, you need experience”.

Maybe the Lego man hair puts people off. But then again, having fashionably unfashionable hair is very popular these days. I ought to start cultivating it. It may become my new lucky talisman.

Hmm. Yes…