December 12, 2008

First Person:

Thinking About A Buzz Cut

By Al Carlos Hernandez

I am sure it is urbanely psychological but I’m thinking about getting a buzzed haircut, similar to the soccer star David Beckham. The problem is I don’t want to look like David Broke-ham. Back in the Bible days, folks used to shave off their hair as a vow, indicating that a major change is taking place in their lives. This was a sign that you were serious about viewing life differently and wanted everybody to know it.

As an artist I often times feel the need to re-invent myself, and have experimented with many looks in the past, and no doubt will do more of it in the future. My options are running out. Been though my retro cool long hair phase and succeeded in looking like Thomas Jefferson or one of those Homies on a cigar box. I maintain a normal length, woke up late spiky look, but feel the need to express a new attitude.

At my age you give up the attempt to be good looking; that ship has sailed. And as Prince said in his CD Musicology, “I was fine back in the day”, well at least that was the belief that my Mama Rose maintained.

In a quarter past midlife, all men can hope for is to look distinguished, intimidating, or rich. Good looking, handsome, cute, Guapo is no longer a real option, unless you are a Novella Patron, and they get Botox. Thanks to my Mama’s Papas DNA (Black Puerto Rican) side of the family, I still have a full head of hair, albeit thinning and graying. Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead said, “Oh well a touch of gray, kind of suits you anyway”.

If I were to go under the buzz clippers, most likely a number 2 or 3 setting, my cabeza may look like an outline for a coloring book, a Burberry carpet, or a Velcro wig.

I am not sure if my proposed military-styled makeover is a reaction to the changing economy, secretly hoping to save money on hair products, or if it’s a meager attempt to look like Obama, so that player hating Democrats will somehow like me again.

All of my sons maintain the buzzed look and they get faded and lined up with regularity. Having hair no doubt dates me. Maybe I have a need to be part of that ritual; maybe I want to look like them in an attempt to recapture my youth. OK, that can’t be it because when I was younger, the longer your hair - the hipper you were. I have some embarrassing pictures featuring me in an Afro, sitting next to Santana who had the good sense to wear a hat. Carlos no doubt regrets his picture taking hat-wearing days because now he has to wear a hat almost 24-7 to conceal a severely poached-egg looking bald head.

Women tell me that they like to experiment with their look every once in a while. My wife is a well known hair therapist and is at the cutting edge, if you pardon the expression, of what is hip. Emilio Castillo of Tower of Power wrote, “Sometimes hipness is what it ain’t”.

I’m told that hair always grows back, but luck has never been that good. I bought AOL at $45, which at the time was “must buy” by now convicted experts who thought they had the stock market on lock.

The problem with doing something drastic is the performance anxiety anticipation of first time people see you: What will their reaction be? Love it, hate it, maybe they won’t notice and you were tripping for nothing.

Once, my wife was too busy to cut my hair, so I went to the local mall and got a regular men’s cut. The problem was I went to an Asian haircutter who took it upon himself to cut my hair exactly like his. When my wife came home that evening I met her in the driveway. She saw my Chino-fied haircut and was laughing so hard she couldn’t get out of the car or up the stairs for a half hour. After her hysteria subsided it took her two hours to correct the Chairman Mao hairdo.

I should have buzzed it all off then, but those were different times - times of hope and plenty. We were not in survival mode then as we are now.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” -- Maya Angelou.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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