Hairy Christmas | Mark’s Remarks


Why is hair such a dominant thing in our lives? When I look back on my life, I can think of so many times hair has seemed to be such an important thing.

I was looking at some old photos and realized how things often go back to what they once were. Well, in the case of hair, anyway.

When I started life, I don’t think I had much hair until I was around 4 or 5.  My skin was so pale and my forehead so big, I often resembled a baby Winston Churchill. I used to joke that, as a baby, you could show home movies on my forehead.

School photos started in the early 1970s and there wasn’t much hair then, either. My first grade photo still shows the large forehead with a sprig of hair in the middle. Sort of like a widow’s peak. I can still see me sitting there with that sprig of hair and my little Winnie the Pooh embossed shirt. Sheesh.

Somewhere along the line, I got enough hair to be concerned about it. About sixth grade, all us guys started carrying combs around in our back pockets and it was cool in the 1980s to “train” your hair so that it parted down the middle and “feathered” on the sides.  No guy would have admitted back then that it was so important, but it was. I’m pretty sure I wore my hair that way long after it went out of style.

It isn’t surprising that the girl I married had more hair than any girl I’d ever dated. That, of course, wasn’t the reason I married her, but I have to admit her long curly hair was something that made her alluring. It’s sort of like Charlie Brown and the little red-headed girl. And I’m telling you, if you look at early pictures of me, you can see many similarities between me and Chuck.

In high school, we had a ridiculous contest in which the seniors were nominated and elected for various categories.  The top three vote-getters were announced and we all had a good laugh at many of the categories. It was a huge laugh when I got second place for “best hair,” but I wasn’t laughing. I am pretty sure my parted hair and “feathers” were still there in 1985, so maybe people were envious. The winner of the contest was a guy with blonde hair. I need to check in and see how his hair has held up.

We also had co-ed PE in high school, and all of us looked forward, eagerly, to junior year when we would travel around the various spots for class. We went to the skating rink, the golf course and bowling alley.  

But in August and September, we went to the pool.

Now, you would have thought that a group of guys would be more concerned with how they looked in their trunks (remember, it was co-ed) than how their hair looked. But we were all worried more about our wet hair than our bodies. There was a lot of angst. Again, you’d be hard pressed to find a guy willing to admit that. 

I worked at a department store years ago; so long ago that we had to actually dress up and have our hair at a certain length, something as passé these days as my parted hair and feathers.  

In any case, I was very ticked off and somewhat proud I was reprimanded for my hair being too long. This was the late 1980s and I was transitioning into a more adult haircut, which probably resembled a mullet.  Long hair in back, short in the front. I had no choice. No hair has ever grown very long in the front. You know, the forehead and all. The point is, my hair was once long enough to be a problem.

 I still look back on those days with fondness.

And now, with two daughters and my wife, all with lots of hair, it’s amazing how much time is spent on hair and how much hair is in the house. We have large containers of hair bows, headbands and clips.  There are brushes and combs everywhere. An amazing amount of time is spent on curling or straightening hair, washing it, conditioning it, and trying to find the right length, color or style. And you certainly can’t go anywhere unless your hair looks just so.       

I am long past wanting much of anything for Christmas. I want things that are often unattainable; like youth, world peace or feet that don’t hurt. I couldn’t think of a thing to ask for unless it was a big bucket of money.

But I looked in the mirror the other day and I still have that little sprig of hair I had in first grade and the same hairline.  It’s back. I have regressed. I will no longer get reprimanded for long hair. When my hair is short enough, there is little to do in the morning to look presentable. I am a short time away from running a washcloth over my head and calling it done. 

But maybe I should ask for that Winnie the Pooh shirt for Christmas and re-create my first grade picture. I would have provided it for your enjoyment here if I could have found a copy. 

Use your imagination.

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Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.