Everyone at work was wondering why my hair was getting so long. I don’t have much hair to start with and I savor every strand, so when I see gray hairs on my collar, in the sink and on the pillow, I start to panic, I start to hyperventilate. Hand me my paper bag.
It’s almost as troubling as getting my quarterly 401(k) report, only to learn it’s headed in the wrong direction because I got too greedy or too cautious, all of which means I’ll be working until I’m 80 in the lumberyard or car wash or wherever Baby Boomers are sent during their sunset years.
“Don’t you think you need a haircut?” someone asked. “This is a professional work environment with high standards in grooming and integrity, and you’re starting to look Bernie Sanders on a bad hair day or one of those retreads from the ’60s who has no hair on top and ties what he has in a creepy ponytail.”
My question is this: If women in Manhattan can wear flip-flops to the office, why can’t bald Baby Boomers have ponytails? No need to answer that.
“It looks like you’re going through a mid-life crisis.”
“Been there. Done that. Twice, maybe three times, already.”
The truth is I’d love to get a haircut but I can’t. I can’t because my wife, who also happens to be my personal groomer, isn’t talking to me because I did something wrong although I’m not sure what it was. At any one time in a 24-hour period, most wives aren’t talking to their husbands. This is known as the notorious “silent treatment,” where you have to guess what you did wrong, and when you finally figure it out, your first response is “What’s so wrong with that?”
This complicates things because my wife, Sandy, can’t separate our business relations from our conjugal relations, so I asked her, “What would happen if, say, Bill and Hillary Clinton had a fight and he refused to make a campaign appearance for her?”
Whenever my wife refuses to cut my hair, I make an appointment at the salon. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than a bald guy being surrounded by women who are obviously wondering, “What’s this guy with no hair doing here?”
The truth is my wife has been cutting my hair for years, so I try to be extra special nice when I know I’m going to need a haircut, just in case. She does a great job (I’m trying to be extra special nice) even though she tends to get carried away and cut off too much. Nevertheless, her handiwork is better than any barber I’ve gone to. Plus, I don’t have to tip her, although that may change soon.
When people hear this story, they think I grew up in a home where my mother put a bowl on my head and cut around it with a pair of clippers until I came out looking like a 9-year-old Homer Simpson.
Actually, I went to a barber named Andy, who cut every kid’s hair the same way, back before razor cuts, blow-drying and $200 styling.
His so-called “style” was nouveau 1950s, all-American boy, with short sideburns, a zip on top and just enough in the front for a little wave if you were lucky. If you were unlucky, you came out looking like Ted Cruz at 8, or you got Andy’s Parris Island special, which made you look like a Marine recruit the first day on the job.
In those days, you were either a Brylcreem guy or a Vitalis man. We used Brylcreem. “A little dab’ll do ya. Use more only if you dare. But watch out, the gals will all pursue you. They love to run their fingers through your hair!” The only problem was their fingers came out greasy.
Vitalis tonic, on the other hand, froze your hair in place like paper mache, which let you fashion cool waves and duck tails, but if a girl tried to run her fingers through your hair, they stuck to your head.
My wife has a very unorthodox styling technique that she probably read about in Popular Mechanics or Vogue. She pulls out a chuck of hair, measures it and then cuts. She does this all around my head to ensure it’s the same length, and she agonizes if one section is a millimeter longer than the other … and keeps cutting until she gets it right, by which time it’s so perfect I look like a bald Anna Wintour.
I once foolishly said, “Andy never cut my hair like this.” To which she promptly responded, “Then go see Andy or cut it yourself.” End of discussion.
Contact Joe Pisani at email@example.com.