The View From Planet Kerth: Sorry, ladies, the silver fox has left the building

I cut my hair this morning.

Now, for some of you that statement might evoke images of a drive to the barber shop, a bib fastened about the neck, and a flourish of savory-scented powders and lotions at the end before forking over a fistful of bills, but no.

When I say "I cut my hair," I mean that my hair was cut by me. It was a self-inflicted haircut, as all my haircuts have been for years and years.

When I was young and my head boasted a lush mane of brown hair that glowed golden at the ends after months in the blazing sunshine, I let it drape over the back of my neck, all the way down to my shoulders.

Later, as my hair thinned and became powdered with white at the edges, I would have liked to wear it longer, but when you look in the mirror and say to yourself, "That's not a mane; that's mange," you have to do something.

Now I made a point of visiting the barber four times a year—at the fall and spring equinox, and the summer and winter solstice. It was a schedule that would have made a druid proud.

Later still, when a comb-over was the only glare-reducing option this side of a flat-black spray job, I visited the barber every month or so. Long gone was the long hair. Now I had settled on the "I've got nothing to hide" look of a close trim. I told the barber, "Just slap on one of those No. 5 attachments and mow the whole lawn a half-inch long."

I threw my comb and brush into a dresser drawer and forgot about them. A towel after a shower was all the grooming I needed. It was nice to know that I could have my picture taken in a hurricane without having to worry about what the wind was doing to my 'do.

And then, on one visit to the barber, I made the mistake of looking at my wristwatch as I sat down in the chair. I looked at it again as I was standing at the front counter counting out bills to pay for my clip job. Six minutes had sped past.

"Wow, that was fast," I said to the barber. I wanted to ask, "Was it good for you?" but I didn't for fear he would feel obligated to fake it with a half-hour of foreplay the next time.

On the way home I did the math and calculated that the barber's hourly wage from me was more than I would pay a psychiatrist for the same amount of time. I stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up a hair-clipping system. I figured if I had to go into therapy to cope with the trauma of a horrendous haircut, I'd still be money ahead.

That was something like eight years ago, and I've been mowing my own mangy mini-mane ever since.

But recently, for some reason, I put off the task longer and longer, and my half-inch hair grew out. Past an inch. Past two. Up to about three.

Now a towel wasn't enough grooming after my shower. I had to dig through the drawers to find my neglected brush and comb. My hair was still wet after toweling, but I refused to resort to firing up my wife's hair blower—that seemed a bridge too far. But it wouldn't be long before I would have to consider it if things kept going like this.It had been a long time since I had worn my hair that long, and in the meantime it has gone from brown-flecked-with-gray to a deep silver. I kind of liked the look, and I had to admit that driving with the windows down was a joy again, with my hair whipping wild as it used to in days of yore. But now white, like a blizzard.

I imagined fellow drivers on the road glancing over and saying to themselves, "Look at that dashing, distinguished fellow over there! What a magnificent mane billowing about his mature head! The ladies must have a rockin' nickname for a gent like that. The silver fox. The white wizard. Platinum thunder."

But then I stopped at the stoplight, with the wind and my hair at a standstill, and I glanced at myself in the rear-view mirror.

There, staring back at me in the mirror, was a Nick Nolte mugshot.

And so, this morning, I figured enough was enough.

I cut my hair.

Now it stands less than an inch from my scalp, and it hardly ruffles in the wind. The brush and comb are back in storage where they belong.

There's no telling what nicknames the ladies have for me now, but it's doubtful that any of them end in fox, wizard or thunder. Well, maybe thunder, but it would have nothing to do with how I wear my hair.

So if you are out driving tomorrow and you pull up to a guy at the traffic light who looks a lot like Nick Nolte after a rough night, it won't be me. So go ahead, roll down your window and ask him for his autograph.

On second thought, better not.

- - -

The author splits his time between Naples and Chicago. Not every day, though. Contact him at trkerth@yahoo.com. Why wait a whole week for your next visit to Planet Kerth? Get T.R.'s new book, "Revenge of the Sardines," available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine online book distributors. His column will appear every Friday.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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