It Was Never Meant To Be Like This
So the other day I find myself yet again squatting uncomfortably in the Men’s Grooming aisle in Boots, feeling physically overwhelmed at all of the hair wax products on offer.
I’ve been religiously smearing the top of my head with various pots of fragrant tar for the better part of the last ten years, but have yet to find ‘old faithful’; that one brand of hair wax that never fails to give you a nonchalantly magnificent hairstyle and finds its way into the bathroom cupboard of your heart and never leaves.
It is for this reason that for the last 43 minutes while my crouched legs succumb to the kind of deep vein thrombosis you get from flying direct from Gatwick to Jupiter my eyes flit from brightly coloured plastic pot to brightly coloured plastic pot, like Indiana Jones trying to decide which cup is the holy grail, wondering if THIS TIME, THIS TIME, THIS ONE COULD BE THE ONE.
My main problem with the modern man’s hair wax is that it hardly makes you feel like a man. Just read the label. How can you ever look another man straight in the eye again when they call it ‘Moulding clay’ or ‘Pomade’? Or ‘Putty’? Once you dab your pinky into that pomade and gently smooth it over your right eyebrow, it’s over. All the beard growing, bear wrestling, monster truck rallying, garage door repairing in the world isn’t going to save you now.
What ever happened to hair care for the real man?
The yellowed industrial strength epoxy that dissolves your fingernails the second they enter the tin, scooping out enough to choke a small horse, and sets your hair so solidly that like it or not you’re going to have this hairstyle for the next 11 months, come rain or shine, hairdryer or swimming cap. Dependable and steadfast. Fatihful as the sunrise. The reassuringly heavy-in-your-hand orange tin made out of lead back when it was a good idea, the illustration on the lid of what a successful man in the 1940s should look like, and the clenched teeth of the hairdresser as they wash your hair in the salon basin for the 7th time, yes, this is what all boys’ dreams are made of.
But here I am, a broken man as I drag myself to the counter, clutching a neon green and purple plastic pot that guarantees me ‘surf hair’ despite me never having seen a surfboard, risking my life and reputation and £6.95 on some odd-smelling blu-tac in a jar. But maybe, just maybe, this’ll be the one. My winning lottery ticket. With the look THIS ONE will give me, I’ll be the man I’ve always wanted to be! I’ll get that promotion, hit that hole-in-one, and buy that yacht. I could run for president!
Until, that is, 4 months of substandard dissatisfied hairstyling and a slighty greasy empty pot later, I’m back, squatting uncomfortably in the Men’s Grooming aisle in Boots, running my hands through my hair and frayed with indecision, muttering that it was never meant to be like this.