Bushman Phenomenon : Hair Troubles

Hair. Most people have some, if not on their head, then surely elsewhere, although then it becomes a private matter.

As my hair became more sparse, partly in response to parenthood, which gives even hair follicles suicidal tendencies, I decided to keep mine short. My thinning hair looks less noticeable now. I look just like all the other dads whose hair has fallen out. Life is easier now as well, at least in regard to hair maintenance. I look exactly the same whether freshly showered or just awakened, hungover, and wondering why there are two lipstick-wearing alpacas in my bed, one crookedly chewing on my underwear, and the other smoking a cigarette. Alpacas have a lot of hair, by the way. I was a bit jealous. As a side note, I’m never drinking tequila again.

The boy is nine. The first twitches of self-awareness are itching, crawling around in his mind like the ticks he often brings home from the woods and nearby fields. Fashion sense is beginning to render him senseless. He had decided to grow his hair long in front and on top. Apparently someone famous, of whose existence I was not even aware until told, wears their hair that way, and all the nine year old girls like this famous person.

There was a time, not too long ago, when he was quite taken by Justin Bieber, specifically his hair. I don’t know much about Justin Bieber other than what I have seen on TV, and on the internet. I know he had some trouble walking a straight line.

I found myself trying to coach Justin as I watched the footage, “Aim for the line in the middle, Justin! You can do it!” It’s unknown if he tried to snort the line or not. It was a short clip.

In any case, the boy doesn’t have the right kind of hair for Justin Bieber hair. Like mine, his hair is thick and wavy, and when it grows out a bit, there exists what is known as, “Bushman Phenomenon”. When this happens, the hair lunges at odd angles, as though leaping out, attacking anyone nearby, and perhaps itself. Entire spear and machete battles can be seen being waged amid the dense brush atop one’s head. Onlookers withdraw, stepping back a few feet, without really knowing why. They pull their children closer. It’s a quiet spectacle, one without definition.

Tonight, the boy has reluctantly agreed to get a haircut. I’ve invited the entire defense line of the Philadelphia Eagles to my house to help hold him down when he changes his mind mid-cut. Nine year olds, while not terribly strong, can be difficult to subdue, as they writhe and scream of tyranny, complaining that somehow, their hair hurts. Their one superpower is their vocal ability, a sound blast which can knock satellites out of orbit.

After the screaming subsides and the wayward hair is collected from the floor, I intend to make another boy from it. Perhaps, this one will listen when told not to burp in church, though I have my doubts. I was nine once too. Now, I am forty four, and I still don’t listen.


An older piece saved from the ashes of an older blog.

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11 thoughts on “Bushman Phenomenon : Hair Troubles”

  1. I love this epic tale of hair.

    I don’t have any children to fruitlessly persuade into making better style choices, but it certainly sounds like an adventure.

    My own experiences with my fine, straight hair at an early age usually revolved around avoiding my mother’s brutal brushing techniques (ever heard of brushing the knots out from the bottom up, Mom?!) and at my preteen stage, was hoping to be old enough to put lemon juice and Sun-In in my hair during the summer months to change from a golden brown to a brassy blonde. Why I felt I needed to attain this hideous color, I have no idea. My mother finally relented when I turned 13 and it was just as awful as it was exciting. We dyed it back to brown, and in a fit of super-intelligence I immediately went into the swimming pool to end up with poopy-green hair. It was a summer of awakening.

    I have since stayed far far away from blonde tones. I haven’t dyed it in a few years, but I have been a Gothic black (which turned out more beautiful than expected), a vivid red (many different tones – my most daring was purple/red burgundy), and chestnut brown (several shades darker than my own color).

    I think I wanted the Rachel cut (Friends circa 1994-5) back when that was cool, and lamented being unable to pull it off. I also wanted tiny braids over my whole head when I saw Zachary Hanson of the band Hanson with the same braids, but my mother vetoed that. Smart woman.

    Oh, the struggle of attaining celebrity glamour as a growing person.

    Very fun read!

    1. oh my goodness.. Nobody but a writer could have so much to say 🙂 At first it seemed a lot of hair experiments for a single person to have, all quite colorful.. but then I thought on it, and even as a guy, I’ve had my share of hairdos. I was a teen in the eighties, so I did the long hair thing, blow-dried and completely out of control, and I’m a hippie at heart, so I’ve done the pony tail thing, and later several versions of business cuts as real life demanded that I look presentable. Now I keep it short enough to finger-comb. I’m not even certain where the real comb might be 🙂 More time to write is how see it.. Thanks for reading this and for sharing your entertaining hair (mis)adventures!

  2. Love this! Laughed all the way through it! Apparently you write humorous anecdotes just as well as poetry. Enlightening all around, but especially in easing this dark mood that’s been haunting me today. Thanks for that!

  3. Yep,…Def needed a. Diaper for this one. I have a family member with a thick abberant mane too and it is a briar every morning. :-D. Poor child. And he hates working on it. But its beautiful and lush when groomed. I luv touching it…when he lets me.

    You realy r very good at writing humor. thank u.

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