If you’re anything like me, you obsess over your hair at all hours. You have a large wooden box on your toilet tank stocked with gels, mousse, shine spray, molding clay, pomade, clippers and step by step instructions from the Evergreen Beauty College on how to master the “Epic Slick Back.” You run your fingers through your hair at every red light in case it shifted while you were coming to a stop. You routinely ask your boyfriend “How does my hair look?” and he says, “Who cares? We’re at Dennys.” You use your thumb to cover your hair in photos just to re-assure yourself you’ll be one of those lucky guys who still looks “smokin” when bald. Then you take the picture to your therapist and make sure he agrees out loud, before signing the check.
I have paddle brushes, silicone rod brushes, radial brushes and half-radial brushes. I have rat-tail combs and wide-tooth combs, an afro pick and a lice comb I found at the public park. If you’re anything like me, you’ll pick things up you find lying around at public parks and try to sell them on E-bay to earn enough money to go to Hawaii. The lice comb didn’t actually sell, but I did cash in on a half-eaten pack of Certs and a baby pacifier I listed as “slightly used,” which as far as I know is true, so please don’t report me. Aside from my hair, my ninety-six percent positive feedback is all I have going for me.
I think sometimes if I didn’t have a job in television, I could collect all the hair care products I have, take a picture of myself standing behind them, and advertise myself as a professional stylist. The problem is there’s so much competition in that field these days, I don’t know how much money I’d make. I could possibly change my professional title to something that would sound more appealing to wealthy people, like “wig butler.” I’m sure there must be some rich people that have wig butlers. Beyoncé for one. Carol Channing for another. Those people who go to conventions dressed like video game characters. I bet they all spend thousands of dollars every month to have wig butlers on retainer, and In Style just hasn’t gotten around to reporting it yet.
I decided to grow my hair long again the night I saw Jared Leto accept his Academy Award for Dallas Buyers Club. I remember watching him on stage paying tribute to gay men and women in Ukraine struggling to live their lives free of persecution, and it led me to say to myself, “If I had long hair, my pecs would totally pop! I’m the perfect body type!” Then I wished Anne Hathaway would get off the stage because she really needed to be wearing a bra. I know people have piled on Anne Hathaway lately, but I didn’t even see Les Misérables, so I feel okay criticizing her.
When you start growing your hair out, you have to remember to be patient. There will be about six months before it reaches past your ears where it will tend to flip out on both sides. This is what is called a “growth stage” by people who care about you, and “dumpy housewife from the 1950s” by people you’re related to. And because excessive humidity will make your hair blow up to three times its normal size, during this period you must under no circumstances set foot in dry saunas, greenhouses, and the entire state of Florida. You should take my word for it on this. One time, I walked into my apartment building’s laundry room looking like a guy, and I came out looking like Vanessa Huxtable from Season Five of The Cosby Show.
If you remain patient, stay well-stocked on leave-in conditioners, repeat to yourself that good things come to those who wait, and confidently own the sloppy appearance you’ll have to sport in public for the better part of a year, eventually you will look into a mirror, and looking back at you will be a guy with long, awesome, lush, single-length hair that extends all the way to the shoulders. And then everyone will finally pay you that compliment you’ve been waiting months and months to hear: “You should cut that and give it to a chemo patient!”