There was a brief window of time when I considered myself stylish. I tried to match up to the men on TV although I could never muster that perfect quaff of hair. No matter how much product promising ultimate waves I used, my hair just lay there disappointingly flat. But clothes – well, I can buy clothes.

Somewhere along the line though, one’s cheapness intersects with the price of the fashion icon he is trying to emulate. When I was young and carefree my intersection point had a higher limit. Then I got married, had children, and was forced to adopt a budget. Even at my highest level, I never had a Ralph Lauren goal. He is too far up the scale. I aspired to reach that Samuel L. Jackson “look good in anything” vibe but settled in somewhere around Jerry Lewis.

Now I flat out don’t care. If I like it and the price is right, I buy it. I don’t believe in recreational shopping. I have to need something before I shop. Seven work shirts worn in the proper order are enough because no one remembers what you wore a week and a half ago. My eye for matching clothes died along with my hearing.

I also think my love of tie-dye lead to the demise of my ability to tell what goes with what. At some point, that random mix of colors flows off the shirts and into every fashion decision. Now tie-dye is more of a style philosophy than just a hippie shirt I own. I have become style-ish instead of stylish.

My oldest daughter gave me sage fashion advice before she left for school:

Dad, if you think it is a good idea, then don’t.

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A Bald Dissatisfaction

I’ve been duped. Tricked. Lied to. Taken for a ride to disappointmentville by a fancy I’ve held for years. In reality no one told me a falsehood. Like most times I find myself disillusioned, I did it to myself. A starry-eyed dreamer, I tend to put things onto such a pedestal that once attained, they can’t measure up to expectations.

Who can forget the Chia Pet of the 70’s that I saved and saved for. Don’t even get me started on sea monkeys. I had such high aspirations for them after seeing them on the back page of Mad Magazine. The promise of joy died quickly because the only time they moved was when I shook them out of the bag into their simulated habitat. Ant farms, the bass guitar, a shiny pastel jacket that I thought would be an absolute chick magnet. I was amazed when I found that on the discount rack and wore it proudly to school with my sleeves pushed up, only to find that the world had moved past Crockett, Tubbs, Miami Vice, and the style I flaunted. That first new car I had to have post-college before I understood the stranglehold sixty easy payments could be. I won’t even mention women of my youth, like Hilda* the friendly barkeep. For a foolish lad, women are the most dangerous sort of thing to deify.

I could go on. There have been a litany of things I prized – nah, idolized – right up until I got my grubby mitts on them.

And so, now, I am disappointed with baldness. I have always wanted to shave my head but been dissuaded by my lovely wife, who likes hair on my head, but not on my chin. If you recall my rant about Tom Selleck, I have never truly been satisfied with my hair. Current circumstances gained me quick approval to remove it and I did so excitedly.

I don’t like it and here are my grievances:

1. I always assumed it would be low maintenance. It is not. To my dismay, the hair on my head grows as fast as the hair on my chin. Who knew?

2. I thought it would save money – no shampoo, conditioner, or gel. See complaint number one, razors aren’t cheap and every shave seems to chew through one.

3. Who knew the skin under my hair was even pastier than the rest of me? I’m told paint stores can mix approximately 140 shades of white, welcome to Pure White.

4. When I was twelve, my football team had to get me an adult helmet, then pad the sides because my cranium was so long. Any time I hit someone, the thing wobbled side to side. Head shapes don’t change, they just expand. Let’s play a little game, shall we? I like to call it:

 “Which one is Mark’s head?”


Surprisingly difficult, is it?


So you can see why I’m disappointed. Like most broken things in my life, I have no one to blame but myself. I lifted baldness onto a throne it simply cannot occupy. Fortunately, I can grow my hair out to fix this monstrosity…but not quite yet. Part of me feels a little like a rebel since this has been against the marital rules for so long. And that, I like.


*Name changed to protect my stupidity