Posted by: dougery | May 31, 2011

Summer Hair

This is the first year in a long while that I’m not entering June with, as my sister-in-law once christened it, “Summer Hair.”

Years of working at a truly awesome bookstore and living with a truly awesome girlfriend –> fiancee –> wife left me with little or no preoccupations with my appearance. For work I could get away with a hipster t-shirt (some band nobody has heard of, say, or a vintage print of the Silver Surfer) and jeans rolled up from riding my bike down the lake path to the store. Grooming-wise I passed through a ill-conceived series of beards–my face is very reluctant to grow them, it’s like trying to grow crops on fields that have been burned to the ground and then salted over hundreds of times–and a few very well-conceived mustaches, for what my chin/cheeks lack in sustainable follicle farming my upper lip has in spades. It’s like the freaking Tigris and Euphrates of facial hair.

Now my wife and one notable co-worker may frown on my mustaches but I loved them. I look back at old family albums where my Dad and all of his brothers are rocking huge staches in the 70s and I see where mine comes from. Jake says I look like “a guy who drives around in a molester van.” My biggest concern, and by that I mean I gave it a moments thought or two, was that random passersby would think I am actually a hipster because of the facial hair, the rolled up jeans, the fact that I like Crystal Castles and the Fiery Furnaces (which, I guess, they would have to assume or something). The difference is I like all of these things without irony. I liked my mustache because it was justifiably awesome, not because of some cynical culture grifting of blue-collar schmoes.

But “Summer Hair” didn’t refer to mustaches. It referred to the fact that I would usually get my annual hair cut toward the end of summer (usually to be presentable at a wedding, mine or someone else’s). For me barbers are kind of like really chatty doctors who instead of charging me a fee for keeping me alive are charging me a fee to make me look a certain way. I don’t very much like going to either. Thus I spent September forward getting shaggier and shaggier until my shoulders would be dusted come July. This pattern happened often enough that my sister-in-law, who I don’t see all that often, would know me by extreme alterations in hair style.

When cut real short my hair stands on end because of many cowlicks and tends to form a natural faux-hawk, all bending toward a central fin. After a few inches in height the faux-hawk falls over and I enter the ‘Junior Senator’ period where I part my hair on the side and look all old-timey. This is the style I currently wear for work in an office. My hair is very straight and if I used any product at all I would appear like an extra in Mad Men. But I don’t because that goop is gross. What follows this period is an awkward and arduous transition which only truly ends when I can tuck the stray locks falling in front of my eyes behind my ears. Then it’s an easy ride from there.

Now I have to be somewhat presentable for work. While it is true I often wear jeans, they no longer have holes or frayed cuffs and are always accompanied by a tucked in dress shirt and belt. Sometimes a sport coat or a vest. I’m not sure what I will do in the summer because there is nothing I had more than a short sleeved dress shirt and I refuse to buy any. For me, a short-sleeved dress shirt is just a pocket protector and high-waisted khakis away from a kind of Nerdvana.

I’m geeky enough, I don’t need to look the part.

Reading: Wittgenstein’s Nephew


  1. dude, i’d totally forgotten about your gogol stache of last spring until a picture popped up on FB and i experienced anew the wonder.

  2. “Now my wife and one notable co-worker may frown on my mustaches but I loved them.” I never, never frown. Never. There’s the occasional “eyebrow of disapproval,” but NEVER a frown of outright disapproval. I love you, even with your scary, mottled, molester-van mustache.

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