I’m not sure if it’s because of my age or what, but virtually every time I go to get a haircut these days the stylist thinks I want to walk out looking like vintage Porter Wagoner and Conway Twitty, or current John Mellencamp.
Porter and Conway, of course, once rocked that slick, high hair that was combed straight back. If they had ever brushed it forward, it would’ve reached their navels.
About the only other people you see with this particular ‘do are TV evangelists, funeral home directors and the brothers of killers on “Snapped.”
Mellencamp used to have basic “rocker” hair – long and mussed. It looked good on him.
As he got older, though, he channeled his inner Porter/Conway, adding quarts of Valvoline and seeing just how high on his head his hair would go.
These days the dude looks like a cross between Charles Starkweather and Brainiac thanks to his huge noggin and high hair.
This is not how I want to look.
This is not how I’ve ever wanted to look.
Of course, we’ve all evolved in terms of hairstyles.
As a kid, growing up in the sixties and cursed with poor eyesight, I had short, slick brown hair that accentuated my black horn rimmed glasses. I looked like Clark Kent if, in fact, Clark Kent had never left Krypton and instead was a member of the planet’s debate team.
By the 70s, in an effort to be more appealing to the opposite sex, I wore contact lenses and sported the “butt cut,” which was longer hair parted down the middle.
It would’ve been a decent look except my hard contacts were extremely uncomfortable and made my eyes water, so I always walked around looking as though I had just watched “Old Yeller.”
In the 1980s I resumed wearing glasses and moved more toward the Elvis Costello look. While in a perfect world I would’ve preferred to wear my hair long, it started flipping on the ends, causing it to resemble Marlo Thomas’ cut in “That Girl.”
I love Marlo Thomas.
I didn’t love looking like Marlo Thomas in drag.
By the 1990s, I had settled on hair that was neither very long nor very short. And aside from a few brief flirtations with the “old hippie” look, I’ve basically stuck to a relatively simple hairstyle.
However, at no point have I ever slicked my hair back, which makes me wonder why people who cut my hair think that’s what I want.
Now – in the interest of full disclosure – I go to one of those haircut franchise places so I never know from one visit to the next who will be cutting my hair.
I just walk in and whoever has an available chair takes me. They’re all capable, obviously, but sometimes they don’t seem to listen.
“So what are we looking to do today?” Haircut person asks.
“Really, just a half-inch all the way around,” I say.
They snip and spritz and snip and spritz and then blow it dry while combing it backward.
Every single time.
“How does it look?” Haircut person asks.
“Actually, I don’t comb it back, so would you mind trimming some more off the top?” I ask.
“Sure,” haircut person says. “About how much?”
“Oh, 11 or 12 inches,” I say.
Once my hair reaches a reasonable length they ask if I want any “hair product” and I always decline, opting instead to fight my own style battle when I get home.
Look, I realize I’m not GQ material … I have no illusions that I’m going to leave the shop looking like a young George “Goober” Lindsey.
I also know that – technically – I’m a “senior,” and apparently society expects people over 50 to look a certain way.
Well, society can bite my ass.
I like my hair a little messy and I like to have the option of letting bangs rest gently against my forehead.
If I wanted to look like Porter Wagoner, Conway Twitty or John Mellencamp, I’d have become a singer-songwriter.
Instead I’m just a writer – one who will forever sing the praises of the first stylist who figures out how I want my hair to look.