It was December of 1994, the night of the Wade Hampton High School’s Winter Choral Concert, and I was running late.
Now for the first 16 years of my life pretty much every day, without fail, I had brushed my hair. You know, like normal people. I woke up, I showered, brushed it to the side got everything perfectly in place. Like this:
But on this night in December of 1994 I was rushing around like crazy trying to get to the concert on time. I hopped out of the shower, threw on my Tuxedo, grabbed my cumber-bun and bow tie an ran out the door. I was halfway there when I realized that I had forgotten to brush my hair. Now this normally would not be that big of an issue but, when I didn’t brush my hair it got curly, like really curly, and here I was about to go sing in front of the entire school with about 60 of my classmates and shit it’s too late to turn around now there is nothing I can do to fix this and this is just horrible because everyone is going to think I just got a fucking perm!
I was convinced this was the end of social life. I thought about just faking a flat tire but if there is one guiding conviction of my life it’s that the show must go on. So I walked into the school. Marched past the gym, turned right at the band room, took a left into the choir studio, ready to meet my fate when a surprising thing happened.
Girls seemed to like it.
They were like “Davey you hair is so curly!” “Can I touch your hair!” “That’s natural?? I’m so jealous!”
I have never owned a brush since.
One of the girls that was all of a sudden talking to me was hands down one of the most attractive girls at the school. I could not believe it. And it didn't stop that night. There was a party for my friend’s birthday two months later and she was there, talking to me and my curly hair again.
We started hanging out. I was like are you fucking kidding me? I would go to her house. We went and saw Forrest Gump at the Dollar Movies. I had yet to try and kiss her or make any sort of move because A) I was terrified and B) I was still convinced that this wasn’t actually happening.
And by this point my hair had gotten a little longer. It was time for a cut. But I was dealing with a new paradigm. My hair was now curly and it was going to be a cold day in hell before I was going back to this:
I had to go to a new place. The Charlie Brown Barber shop on Wade Hampton Blvd was no longer sufficient. I had to go to a salon.
I’m not sure how I chose the salon I did. It was on Stallings Road next to the Scampers. The Scampers was the gas station where all the cool kids hung out so maybe I was thinking: gas station, salon…what could possibly go wrong?
I didn’t even know how to talk to stylist. My previous experience with getting my hair cut was sitting in a chair while some old man made it short. So I was like:
Me: I want to keep my hair curly, but I just want it to be shorter.
Stylist Working Next to a Gas Station: So why don’t we do long on top and short in the back.
Me: If you think that will work.
Stylist Working Next to a Gas Station: What could possibly go wrong?
End of Play. Beginning of Nightmare.
Now this was the 90s. Lot of things were cool. Bowl cuts for example, where the objective was to have it look like someone put a bowl on your head and then shaved around it. You could get away with anything. Having your hair crimped or feathered bangs. Bill Clinton was in office and 9/11 hadn’t happened yet. No one gave a fuck
The one thing you couldn’t get away with, however, was whatever this woman did to me.
How to describe it…think of it as a triangle, only upside down. It was long on the top alright…and incredibly wide
It was horrible.
Of course I’m from the south and was taught the most important thing in life was to be nice so when she asked me what I thought of it I said :
Me: I liked it.
Davey gets up from chair. Cue Charlie Brown Christmas music.
End of play.
My confidence was shot. I started withdrawing from this beautiful girl I had been hanging out with. Thinking there was no way she would be caught dead with triangle head. And my winter semester of glory turned into my winter semester of trying to get away with wearing hats.
I mention this because last night in the shower I noticed some hair start to fall out. For the first time in my life. It’s one of the possible side effect to chemo but one I thought I was going to avoid.
Then this morning I thought about that horrible hair cut, and the fact that I guarantee no one in the world remembers a single thing about that saga I just wrote about. The girl didn't care, my parents didn't care. No one cared! Just like me beautiful girlfriend now who doesn't give a shit about what my hair looks like as long as I make the bed before getting in it.
So I’ll monitor things for the next couple of weeks. If it keeps falling out, I’m going to do my my best impression of the 90s, and not give a fuck. And who knows, I was so distraught the night of the Winter Choral Concert in 1994 and that turned out to be amazing. Maybe this will be the best thing in the world. I refuse to have “contempt prior to investigation.”
So bring that shit on chemo…bring that shit on.