The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 16, 2013

A bad hair day? Try a bad hair life

By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer

Monday, September 16, 2013 — I got my hair cut the other week.

I can’t tell you what a relief that was.

Most people deal with their hair without any issues. Get up in the morning, maybe wash it, maybe comb or brush it, a little gel or cream, spray it with hairspray, curl it, blow-dry it … boom and out the door.

I’m not that lucky. The only way I can control the monster that is my uncontrollable hair is — as Barney Fife said many times — to nip it, nip it in the bud.

You’ve had a bad hair day or two? I’ve had a bad hair life.

It all started when I was little. My mom had curly brown hair that I’m sure was a big hit with the fellas. In fact, it might have even been one of the things that sealed the deal for my dad.

Curly hair looks good on a girl. It’s attractive, I would think easy to manage and likely even makes some sort of fashion statement.

Curly hair doesn’t look good on a guy. Correction … curly hair doesn’t look good on me.

Growing up, my oldest sister, the middle child of three, had naturally curly hair. It looked really nice, and she had to put almost no effort in it to look that way. Go to bed and it was curly, get up in the morning … still curly. In fact, she kinda looked a little bit like Shirley Temple.

And like my mom, it may have been one of the things that attracted the fellas, too.

I, on the other hand, had curly hair that made me look like I was Napoleon Dynamite’s long-lost half cousin. Curl on top of curl, wave on top of wave. Add some big glasses and clothes — that while likely the trend back in the 70s would get you locked up for life at Riker’s Island today by the fashion police — and you’ve got the makings of a natural disaster.

I could never fault my mom for the way I look, either back then or now. She’s a wonderful lady who has helped me many times during my life.

But I’m sure if she had realized the disaster that was brewing and the seeds that were sewn way back in the day that still haunt me today, she would … as Barney Fife said, nipped it in the bud.

Back then, most kids spent their free time doing fun things: playing sports, riding bicycles, getting into trouble. I, on the other hand, was trying to find ways to get the straight hair 99 percent of the guys I knew had. Those linear locks would be mine, or so I thought.

Surely this whole curly-hair curse I was struck with could be remedied one way or another. We didn’t have the Internet back then, so devising a way to eliminate the curls had to be done by sheer trial and error. Unfortunately, there was a lot of trial, and too much error.

I was sure getting a comb, wetting it with water and running it through those demon curls would do the trick. About 10 gallons later, all I was left with was a wet head, a messy bathroom and a look of frustration that would make Facebook sensation “Angry Cat” shutter.

When that didn’t work, and as I got older, I launched into my dad’s Brylcreem. If you’re old enough to remember Brylcreem, I’m obviously not tapping into the 18-35 demographic.

For those of you who don’t know, Brylcreem was a product you ran through your hair with a comb to give it a slick and shiny look. If you’ve ever seen the television show “Mad Men,” chances are you’ve seen guys look like this.

My dad used that product many times and still has hair today that looks like he’s used it for years, when in reality he stopped long ago. Still, if it made his hair straight, surely it would do the same for me.

Uh uh.

Applying that kind of product resulted in me looking more like George McFly from the movie “Back to the Future.” And when it would dry up, my curls would come back again as if nothing had happened.

Some people have springs in their step. I had springs in my head that allowed my hair to take on the curly form I just couldn’t conquer.

As I got older, I tried several other methods: hairspray (too sticky), hats (the only thing worse than curly hair is curl hat hair) and electricity (too shocking). Luckily, either through time or after constant torture, my hair began to take a more straight approach. And, as I thought with much glee, those days of my grandmothers or aunts asking “Why in the world would you ever want to get rid of your pretty curls?” were over.

But then a new problem arose. My hair began to form waves in it as it got longer. It was almost as if I had graduated from the head full of curls to a head of hair that was just out and out mocking me.

People typically wake up in the morning with a little bit of bed hair. I would wake up with hair looking like Don King. On steroids. With waves.

My hair now, for some reason I can only deem as punishment for something I did wrong in the past, will almost always form a wave up front. It’s almost as if a dog went to lick my face with excitement to see me and, instead, took a lap all over the front of my head. No matter how much I wash it or try to comb or brush it out, nothing works.

I’ve found the only way to truly conquer my hair dilemma is to have it cut as short as possible. I’m not talking military or Kojak short, just a notch above. And since I lead such a busy life and randomly have time to even sleep, my hair tends to grow really fast.

So I keep my barber busy when I visit, and his floor looks more like he’s sheared a sheep than cut a guy’s hair.

Good thing he doesn’t charge by the pound.

I have other hair-related situations I just can’t seem to conquer. I can grow a goatee very easily but nothing seems to grow the rest of my facial hair out. Not even Miracle-Gro will work. I have almost no chest hair and, luckily I guess, no back hair either.

So I guess I should be happy with the hair I’ve got, both on top and everywhere else. While it can be a pain to deal with on so many situations, it’s definitely a personality trait I’ll likely never shake.

And luckily, the one thing that’s not dominant in my family is baldness. Though I’m sure if anyone can start a family trend, it’s likely to be my head.

To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at (704) 982-2121 ext. 21 or email at