A fun thing I do all day long is defend whatever I’m doing to the detractors in my head. I thought maybe if I blogged about the things my imaginary detractors are most vocal about of late that I would stop having to explain myself to them so often, but actually what will probably happen instead is that I’ll go in the shower and lay my forehead against the cool tile and quietly regret publishing this.
Quiet regret, yes sir, I like to keep my regret at a low volume so it doesn’t bother the neighbors.
Washing my hair
I wash my hair every other day. Considering I washed my hair every day for thirty years, this is a significant achievement for me. It pales in comparison, however, to other people, who apparently wash their hair like once a week? Once a month? Never? The less frequently you wash, the better, I’ve heard. I’ve heard that shampoo strips your hair of oils and your scalp creates even more oil to make up for it, like a sulking teenager. I will show you, your scalp says.
I have tried repeatedly to extend my hair washings to every third day, but I can’t. I just cannot. Even using dry shampoo, by the end of the second day my hair has ceased being composed of free-flowing individual strands and fuses together into a singular mass. I brush it and it just stays there, unmoving, defying reason and gravity. The sleek, slicked-back look works well for people with diminutive features, like Winona Ryder or Tilda SWINTON, but on me it looks like I’m wearing a slightly damp muskrat pellet on my head. So committed is my hair to staying together that if I try to pull my hair back it clusters and clumps, generating wedges of visible scalp. Nothing says chic like random pattern baldness.
I don’t have a lot of hair. I feel like when I say this to others they always respond by hefting the weight of their locks from one shoulder to another and saying, “Oh, me neither.” Listen: when I tie my hair into a ponytail, the ponytail is the same diameter as a dime. All the hair on my head, every last strand, fits inside Franklin D. Roosevelt’s tiny metallic face. I don’t! Have! A lot of hair!
It’s not that my scalp generates more oil than other peoples’. It’s just that the oil doesn’t really have much of anywhere to go. My scalp oil’s a small town teen cruising the same five empty blocks of Main street every night. It wants more out of life but it’s afraid to leave. It gazes vacantly at the stoplight blinking red and turns up the volume on its favorite Linkin Park album to send the deeper thoughts rising and scattering like a flock of birds.
(What’s the early 2010s equivalent of Linkin Park? Is there even one, or do all teens, angry or not, just listen to Bruno Mars now? The questions I would ask if I had access to a live teen!)
Everyone says, well, if you just hold out, your scalp will eventually produce less oil. I finally say: fuck it. Fuck that right up the follicle. I can’t do it. I can barely make it to three days without wanting to rip the muskrat pellet off of my head and bury it in the yard. I’m an every other day washer. Done. I’m sorry. WASHING EVERY OTHER DAY WORKS FOR ME.
My imaginary detractors think it’s REE DICK YOU LUSS that I haven’t yet tried to rock a red or dark lip.”It’s so hot right now,” my detractors say. “Hansel’s so hot right now.” And he is! They both are. Hansel with a li’l dramatic lippy would make people die in ecstasy on the streets. But I’m not really sure that lipstick of any color is for me, based on years of extensive research consisting of very occasionally applying lipstick and then immediately losing it all over the rest of my body. Yes, even the super-strength stay-in-place stuff. Seconds after putting it on I’ll start chewing my lip or making mustaches with locks of my hair or eating or drinking and wiping my mouth with a sleeve like a barn-raised heathen. Sometimes I’ll forget and apply lip gloss over the lipstick and then all hell breaks lose. Hours later I’ll glance in the mirror and my lips are flaky and smudged and have fuzz stuck to them, like I’ve been passionately making out with a bag of cotton balls.
For me, wearing lipstick is like wearing a shirt you desperately want to love but doesn’t fit you in the shoulders and also keeps riding up in the waist, so you have to spend your whole day trying not to lift your arms while continuously tugging down your hem. It’s high-maintenance. It feels uncomfortable and unnatural. Lipstick is not in my wheelhouse. I’m sorry, detractors! I’ll leave the lipstick to those with actual skill and talent. I’m gonna just stick with neutral gloss, which is the forgiving yoga pants of lip accoutrement.
I am in awe of people who can shove a couple of items into a rucksack, sling it over their shoulders, and carry it on board an aircraft for a weeklong jaunt. I am not one of those people. For one, I am normally packing a full bottle of booze, because you NEVER KNOW if say Portland, Oregon, is going to have run out of alcohol by the time you land? For two, I am incapable of assembling outfits in advance. I desperately strive to choose flexible foundation pieces that can be adapted to multiple looks, but I guess none of my clothes go together because that strategy never pans out.
I tried the “picking outfits in advance” thing when I went to Michigan for my grandfather’s birthday last October, and when the time came to put on the first day’s ensemble I just stood crestfallen in front of the mirror wondering why I had packed for the trip while seemingly under the influence of a heavily regulated substance. “I look goofy,” I told my dad, helplessly holding my arms out to the sides to avoid being infected by bad fashion.
“Maybe you shouldn’t shop at the Disney store, then,” he replied, because Dad Jokes are common law.
Taking more clothes than there are travel days may be a little akin to putting out a lit match with a fire hose, but the more clothing options I have, the better I can correct my mistakes, because there are many.
The booze has never been a mistake, just so we’re clear.
I don’t get up with the sun, and somehow this makes me feel like I don’t deserve to be loved. It’s hard being a not-morning person in a world where everyone has already risen in the predawn hours to milk their hypothetical cows. Lolling around in bed during the nation’s morning commute makes me feel straight-up lazy. And I am! Not. I am not. I am not lazy, detractors, because the morning simply isn’t my peak production time. It’s not even a production time, unless you count my bathroom activities, which, you know, let’s not.
This has been fun! Let’s all meet in the kitchen later, detractors, and you can accuse me of peeling avocados inefficiently.