In between watching football games this past weekend, I spent a great deal of time thinking about my hair.
This was because Marla, the woman who has cut my hair for the last 16 or so years, called to say that a bottle of the expensive gunk I rub on my unruly locks had arrived and I could pick it up right away.
So, with my wife waiting impatiently in the car, I dashed in to the manly hair salon, discussed football and a local barbecue joint with Marla for several minutes, then dashed out clutching a $26, thumb-sized bottle of a magical hair elixir -- "Where fashion meets iconic styling with transcultural appeal," according to the label -- that when worked into the scalp "gives a glossy lustre while improving manageability."
Back in the car, my wife gave me The Look, a facial expression, equal parts confusion and pity, that veteran husbands are familiar with. It is clear she was wondering how she had ended up with a middle-aged guy who was willing to get off the couch during football season to obtain a goop with the consistency of olive oil so he could rub it on his head.
Personally, I think my wife should be happy I have hair at all, because most of the guys I know have nothing but foreheads as far as the eye can see, and those who do have hair remaining are blessed with a few random strands they wrap around their domes the way you would wrap a couple of shoelaces around a highly polished bowling ball, if you catch my drift.
The thing is, when I was a kid, I didn't plan on becoming the sort of grown-up who, without evil villains pointing death-ray lasers at his noggin, would voluntarily use a product to give his dry and damaged hair a lustrous sheen.
Looking back, I blame my dad, who came from the generation of old-school men who wore business-style hats wherever they went, so I am sure he never used lotions, potions or stinky creams on his own receding hairline.
For reasons I do not understand, however, he insisted on dragging my brother and I to the local barber, who would give us buzz cuts, then, as the finishing touch, apply something called "butch wax," which looked like a tube of under-arm deodorant and would make the edges of our military-style haircuts stand up and salute. It also made the tops of our heads so gummy that, if my dad had wanted, he could have stuck us to the ceiling like human chandeliers.
In high school, I came to realize that having a long, unruly mane of hair like a 1970s rock star was far more important than having an understanding of algebra or knowing when the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
That's when I started styling my oversized fuzzy locks with a fast-drying goop called the Dry Look, which, from what I can remember, was like an early form of Super Glue and, within moments, would solidify into something as hard as diamonds, thereby turning normal human hair into the equivalent of a football helmet so that, if you went outside on a windy day, large chunks of your hardened hair would snap off and impale anyone who was unlucky enough to be standing behind you.
Just recently, however, I've learned there is a simpler solution for modern men who want hair that women long to run their fingers through. As you have no doubt already guessed, the secret is... mayonnaise.
I'm not kidding.
According to an online news report I am looking at right now, mayonnaise is just the ticket for frizzy hair.
"Mayonnaise is a miracle all-in-one hair fix," the story explains. "Mayonnaise contains a lot of healthy, natural oil and protein-rich egg yolks."
It also warns you have to use "real mayonnaise," not the fat-free kind or a mayonnaise substitute.
Unfortunately, the only thing I had in the fridge was Miracle Whip, which makes my hair look great, but for some reason, I've developed an uncontrollable hunger for a BLT.