Altar Call for March 19, 2000
After 67 years I am going to let my hair down. I am compelled finally to tell the truth about the
ugly stuff on the top of my head.
Why couldn't I have been born bald like Coach Bill Washington? He spends nothing on combs. And he never has to worry about being wind-blown.
As a child I complained about my "cow lick." My mom said not to worry about it; lots of boys have it. But it bothered me.
I tried to make my "cow lick" lay down but it popped up like a flag every time I combed my hair. Lard did not help at all, and it smelled to high heaven by lunch time.
I tried Vitalis but that gave me a "slicked down" look. After some girls laughed at me and teased me about looking like "a country boy," I gave up on Vitalis even though it claimed to be the hair tonic for real men and I wanted to look like a real man.
For a few years I figured my hair was parted on the wrong side. Real men parted their hair on the left side. My was parted on the right. I tried to change, but my hair was even tougher to handle. My barber mumbled something about my "crown," but that made no sense to me.
I comforted myself by noticing that a few fine men did part their hair on the right as I did, so I accepted the inevitable. Parting it down the middle was no option. That looked so bad I felt sure I could not bear to look at myself in the mirror with a part in the middle.
When I have used nothing on my hair, it looks fine for awhile, in the house. But when I get outside in the wind, it is soon a tangled mess. Then I have that "scarecrow" look. If I use a hat or a cap, then my hair turns up around my ears, so for most of my life I have skipped the head gear and endured the wind.
Over the years I have admired the way many fellows wear their hair. I have wished a hundred times, "Why couldn't my hair look that good?"
I discovered that one of my friends uses a blow dryer to make his hair look nice. But that was no option for me. Blow dryers are for girls. That's the way I was brought up, and I can't go back on my upbringing.
Another friend's hair looked attractive; it was always neatly combed, with every hair in place. I asked him what he used. He said, "a styling gel." Once again I saw red flags. Girls use gel. Real guys don't use stuff like that. But this time I decided I would give it a try. I found tons of it in the stores, so I chose a cheap brand called "White Rain." I was impressed with its claims: "classic care," "new look," and "extra control." And what really excited me was that it has "Pro-Vitamin B5." Yes! That's what my hair needs: some vitamins!
So I tried it. By using this gel my hair would have "added body and shine," and it is alcohol-free so a preacher can use it. But I reckon I squeezed too much out of the tube for after an hour my hair looked like it was plastered down. I looked like a wax figure! It was so bad that I went home at lunch and washed it out.
For some years I tried a "crew cut." That solved a lot of problems, but after awhile a crew cut looks boring. I hated to look like I had just been run over by a lawn mower. So I let it grow back out.
Nowadays when I comb my hair there is a big curl in front, but only one. It looks strange, like I used curlers but could find only one. Why couldn't my hair have been curly like Samson's must have been, so my wife would enjoy running her fingers through my curly locks?
And no matter how much I comb my hair there are always a few hairs that manage to stick up in the back, like they are trying to stand at attention. Why, oh why, I keep asking.
I must confess that a comb does help my appearance. When I get up in the morning, my hair looks like scrambled eggs, very much like my driver's license picture. So grooming my hair in some fashion is a necessity.
Baldness has never been a trait in our family. My father had a great shock of grey hair on his head when he died at age 93. Mine does not seem to be thinning and there are no bald spots anywhere.
As I face my own negative feelings about my hair, I wonder if most people feel the same way I do. Is it possible that most of us feel the same way about our hair that we do our feet? Surely no one has ever looked down as his own feet and felt anything but embarrassment.
I reckon my hair has taught me one great lesson: to have any peace about himself a man must learn to accept the hair he has been dealt. Grumbling and frowning will not change the stuff on his head. And if he is lucky, he will find at least one woman who loves him in spite of the way his hair looks. I am mighty glad I did.