The Haircut Saga

If you can even begin to understand what it’s like to be me for just the shortest of moments, it won’t surprise you to hear that in November I left my barbershop thinking,

That’s it, I’m never coming back!

It was the second time since I considered recreationally growing my hair longer that I’ve walked into Bishop’s in the Pearl with the intent of getting cleaned up around the edges and walk out with a haircut that was basically ready for junior high school picture day.
My goal in my mission to recreationally grow out my hair – into what I call crazy old man hair – was something like a low key version of this:img_3453
What I really meant by stating my goal to grow out my hair was just to openly defy the current hair style conventions of that ridiculous hard part haircut. You know, this one…img_0516
Hard part? More like hard pass!
And I’ve had the same haircut, essentially, for the last 10-15 years, so something of a change was in order…just not what I considered to be the current incarnation of The Big Gay Haircut. Going longer was my only safe bet.
Except…
Not so fast, old Xtopher.
In late September, I walked into Bishop’s, told my gal what I wanted and walked out with this:
img_3454
Fine.
I grow it out a little, about seven weeks, and then go back toward the end of November for my holiday haircut in late November. Gotta make myself respectable for my visit to mom and dad! I make myself very clear that I only want it cleaned up over the ears, not blended all the way up since I want to grow it longer.
“Got it”, she says.

Flash forward twenty minutes…
img_3454

That’s it, I’m never coming back!

I leave thinking that I’ll give it until the end of January. Maybe if I need to cave for something important – like an interview – I will, but otherwise, it’s not like I’m doing anything with my time…so this can be my lil hobby.
Toward the end of January – my birthday – I ask the Silver Fox if I should be thinking about getting a haircut. I hadn’t heard from my family about birthday plans, so I was beginning to suspect something. If my family is planning something, I figure I should mow the shag a bit to look presentable.
“Your family isn’t planning anything”, he says.
Fine. No worries.
“But I’d get a haircut if I were you!” he laughs.
Of course, I reasonably assume that he’s taking a chance to return some of my snark and take it in stride.
He wasn’t.
img_1108
Great. Now he can keep a secret.
Not to worry, I think I pulled the shaggy look off…
img_1342
Notice how the longer hair distracts from my growing girth?
Anyway…lesson learned. I had said I was giving it until the end of January and here it was, the 21st. I figured I could see this through the final ten days and then hit Bishop’s and see if they’ve learned any new listening skills.
The Fox and I head up to Trader Joe’s later that week – he usually lets me tag along so that I don’t have to hoof it 20 blocks with my groceries – read: a half case of wine – which I certainly appreciate. On our way back, we pass right by Bishop’s and I’m looking in and thinking that it figures they aren’t crowded now, but just watch…when I want my hair cut it’ll be like the week before picture week. Then I see it.
Oops. Him.
This guy that I used to…socialize with, privately, if you get my drift, when I first moved back to Portland. He was a complete and utter mess. I’d cut ties with him by the end of that first year back in town.
Of course, the next year, he turns up at a happy hour with Linda Belcher. She had invited me down to Old Town to grab a couple drinks with her common-law husband, Bob’s Burgers, and some of his acupuncture co-horts.
This guy shows up. Mostly because this is my life and this is just what one should expect when one is me. Also because he was engaged to a classmate of Bob’s Burgers.
F.
M.
L.
I learn that he’s in the Hair Program at Paul Mitchell over across Burnside. I’m actually surprised that I don’t see him more often, since I pass by there every time I go to the bank or movies…surprised, but grateful.
A year or so later, I do finally end up seeing him outside. “Long program”, I think to myself, but I’m on the far side of the street, so he doesn’t see me.
Maybe another year later, I see him again and wonder if he’s teaching there, but just assume they are smart enough to not let that happen.
So, here I am, less than ten days away from a haircut and I see him on a smoke break outside. Finally working after taking the better part of three years to graduate from what I gather is a seven or eight month program. My friend, JOrtis is a teacher at the Aveda institute and I just figured, why not ask how long the program should take. I think he said months…but knowing this mess, I could see him spacing out a seven or eight week program with a few trips to rehab.
Nonetheless, it explains something about my last two trips into Bishop’s for a haircut.
Turns out my petulant departure in November contained some pretty true words.
So, here it is, the first week of February and I’m thinking, “Well, it’s not like I’m still not doing anything…oh, wait”, but I’m still not really putting any emphasis on my hair maintenance.
The Fox says that he’s getting used to it, which I somehow gamely twist into a compliment.
And…since this is my life we’re talking about, I get an in person interview.

Screw it. This interview process started in November. If they ask, I’ll tell them that I am not getting a haircut until they offer me a job out of protest.

So, if The Great Job Hunt finally comes through and I get the job, I’ll trim this shituation up, otherwise, this is what they get. Until then…img_3453

Whatever I decide to do with this shaggy mane, the…let’s say lucky barber will have plenty of material to work with!

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The Haircut Saga

Who Knew It Was Gonna Be One Of Those Days?

…and I mean one of those weekends, really.

glenne-headly-dirty-rotten-scoundrels-1988I was on my way home from work yesterday when I read the news that Glenne Headly had died.

Say what now?

She couldn’t have been that old.

<opens google>

“62?!?”, I think.

Then – I kid you not – my next thought is, “Lucky.”

What.

The.

Hell?

I’ll tell ya what the hell, I’m staring down 50 this year and I’m conflicted about a long life versus going out possibly early with a high quality of life.

I think I’ve got 50 in my cross hairs like this:aliens-ripley-geared-up

But, I think sometimes it’s more realistically this:sigourney-weaver-as-ellen-ripley-in-alien

What’s a gay to do?  This is not the culture for Oldie Hawns, and – let’s face it – America ain’t getting greater these days.  That doesn’t just impact my patriotic identity…in this case, it’s a factual planet killer.  By extension, a long-lived Xtopher can potentially look forward to some Thunderdome bullshit in his longevity.

Then I think of my parents.

They’ve both crested their eighth decade on this dying rock, call it their early 70s.  They remarried after 20-some years of divorce.  While that’s a story that I’m sure they would say is none of my business to tell, I’m not thinking of that particular life event or even that time in their lives in this particular moment.  What comes to mind isn’t their first marriage or even their second.

It’s the time betwixt.

When my parents originally split up, we were assembled in California.  My father having pre-located there for a job, my mother and the kids joining after the school year ended for her two youngest.  I joined in the move.  For reasons I won’t bore you with here.

Other than:  California.

Being California, and divorce being trendy…Bob’s your uncle – or at least your divorce lawyer – I guess, they split up a year-ish after the SoCal reunion.

Mom took off back to the fairer pastures of Oregon with…oh, every one of her chirrun but me, also because:  California.

What’s an early 20s newly minted gay to do?

It was a decision that was quite beyond my control.

Ironically, I ended up living only blocks from my dad in SoCal, so I had a good seat as to how he stared down his own demons in his 40s.

I’ll be damned if it wasn’t quietly, as is his style.  While simultaneously doing what needed to be done.

He sure as fuck didn’t start a poorly-trafficked blog.  You know, sharing this on your social media pages would hardly kill you people.  I’m just gonna leave that hanging.

I had a chance to change my geographic scenery a few times in my early and mid-20s, be it for the wrong reasons – like a boy – or for slightly less easily judged reasons – like work – and ended up back in Oregon.

The prodigal gay.

That gave me the opportunity to witness how my mother stared down her own adversaries in her 40s.

Well, she’s my Ellen Ripley.  That same quiet acceptance of what must be done that my father demonstrated, but with the additional obstacle of responsibilities like – oh, no big deal – being a single mother.

I don’t know when this turned into some sort of vague-albeit-late Mother’s Day card or a slightly early Father’s Day post…but, well, sometimes my digressions can give you a little insight into the people – the real people – that shaped who I am.

Don’t make it weird, people.

Anyway, my psyche checks me when that unbidden “Lucky” pops into my head over Glenne Headly’s death with a “What the fuck, you little wuss…buck up.  Your shit is nothing like your parents’!”

And, so I buck uply and put dear Glenne out of my head-ly.

Sorry about that.

You know what fuckery I am met with the following day?  The reward for shoring myself up as all things nearly 50 converge on my weak-assed self?

Any guesses?

Here’s a little hint:Launch Party For The "Family Guy" Game

Adam West.

Batman.

Not to mention a killer caricature of himself.

Dead.

Aged 88.

And still cooler than I ever will be.  Just look at that bad ass.

My weak-assed little self’s least favorite counterpart – my self-bullying-snarky-assed self – was right on point to ask the big question, “Do you think your parents hear this news and think, ‘Lucky’?” because he had to live soooo long?

“No.  They probably fucking don’t, because they had to work for what they have:  a comfortable retirement in which to enjoy their family and each other – reconciliation after two decades of divorce is a goddamned gift, albeit an in the moment costly one – they didn’t have their shit handed to them by fame…so buck up, Buttercup.”

Sometimes I just want to punch my snarky-assed self in the balls.  Other times, I’m sure most everyone else does.

Looking at you, Silver Fox.

Knowing my parents, they probably think something more along the lines of, “Poor Bastard” because, while his death will be mourned by the fans accrued over the course of decades of Batman notoriety, they measure their success not in fans or dollars, but rather in their shared pride in the family they built and will leave behind.

Whatever legacy Adam and Glenne leave behind, we – as adoring and appreciative fans – cannot measure or judge the pride they leave behind for their own families; merely in the absence of their future celluloid impact.  What I’ve learned from my family…parents, grandparents, extended family and chosen family, is that that’s the yardstick.

Right there.

The so called wake of your existence.

So, I’ll get up tomorrow and honor the example that real people set for me and set aside this morose nostalgia for people I’ve not met and live a life that will make my parents proud.

Quietly.

As quietly as grumpy, old Xtopher can, anyway.

Who Knew It Was Gonna Be One Of Those Days?