When I was a kid I wore my hair presentably long and experimented with Brylcreem, Vitalis, Wildroot, and any brand product down at Thrifties Drug Store that promised to corral my hair and attract girls
I tried the oily look, the dry look, the casual look, the bomb-proof look. For a period in High School I was so anal about my hair that I used great gobs of L & B Butch wax. It should be noted that butch wax was apparently made from wax lips leftover from Halloween, melted down, and mixed with a little lanolin to differentiate it from something used to deflect enemy phasers. The idea was that butch wax would make the short hairs on your head stand up straight and stay at attention. This was especially useful for the ancient hairstyle known as the “flat-top” (an early ancestor of the Fade). An although a often was forced to get a cooling short haircut for Summer, I never used butch wax on my butch haircut.
But I did use it when my hair was over my ears and I needed a firm hold for my DA. My buddy also used it for the spike he cultivated, drooping sensually from his forehead.
When I went away to college I realized two things: first, it didn’t really matter what other people thought of my hair grooming and second, that as a poor student I didn’t have any spare money for fine clothes, natty shoes, or L & B Butch Wax. I entered the ratty-old-Army-jacket phase of my life which extended through graduate school.
I forget what eventually was the fate of that smelly old jacket. It had been my father’s and so big I cut slits in the lining so I could carry all my daily and school related belongings stuffed into the pockets of that coat (I was probably a Medium at that time and the coat was like a 2X).
So if you have a smelly old coat, you’re rolling your own cigarettes, and you stand your pants up beside the bed at night, you’re probably not too concerned about your hair. One interesting milestone I remember at the time: one of the flashier players for the New York Mets was in the news for using something called a hair drier in the clubhouse: it was weird to see a man grooming his hair like a woman and the news pieces were more satirical than supportive.
Then came the hot comb and hair spray for men. Disco Disco Disco. My main squeeze at the time decided to make me fashionable and I went along with it for a year or two but eventually I found the ’70s looks just too silly. By this time I was wearing my hair long, sometimes brushing my shoulders or in a pony-tail, and used hair spray to tame the wildness. Into the ’80s I was doing quite well in my career so I dressed spiffy and combed my hair neatly. This was probably the last period when I was officially blond (more so in the summer, of course). After an extended bout with the flu I realized that my hair had turned prematurely gray.
I regularly referred to it as California Platinum Blond.
It’s very white now, just about the color it was when I was a wee bairn on the beach in San Diego. I haven’t bothered with any hair products for about 25 years. I keep a tube of VO5 in the bathroom for those days I need a little moisturizer, but it is seldom used. I found that a good hair cut and keeping my hair a little longer was all I needed, that and not giving a shit. This year I’m going full Santa, white hair and white beard.
But what triggered this long, boring exposé was an advertisement in a magazine I was flipping through last week. Does anyone use Axe Messy Look Flexible Paste? Think back to Dylan in the ’60s.
I used to be ashamed of the butch wax period of my youth but now I see that I was just a baby when it comes to spreading Marfak or Portland cement in your hair. I went to the Axl web site and discovered a Wax Museum of contemporary haircare products. Just two or three are scary enough to make your hair turn white
- MESSY LOOK: FLEXIBLE PASTE – Boosts texture. Instantly.
- SPIKED-UP LOOK: DAY LONG GLUE – Super-charged structure. Defined.
- SPIKED-UP LOOK: STYLING PUTTY – Extreme hold. Long-lasting
Flexible Paste, Day Long Glue, Styling Putty: Scary stuff!