Saturday, April 10, 2010

Combovers, Toupees & Handlebar Moustaches

Well, I haven’t “lived in the past” for a long time, so I suppose it’s about time to do that again. You know how it is when you get old - you have a tendency to get nostaligic - so here goes.

When I first met Ole back in the dark ages of high school, he had beautiful, thick, wavy hair down to his eyebrows. Back in those days every guy carried a comb in his back pocket and every time one of the strands of hair got out of place it was immediately returned to proper order. Picture Fonzie of Happy Days and his comb – that was actually for real – whipping that comb out frequently and running it through his hair. And guys didn’t use hair spray then – they used things like Brylcream or Vitalis. Brylcream was thick like toothpaste. Vitalis wasn’t as heavy, but both were very oily and greasy. That’s why all the guys had shiny hair back then. Here’s Ole from his high school days, and that’s pretty much what he looked like two years later when we got married.

When Lovely Daughter first saw this picture when she was in her teen years she wouldn’t believe it was her father!! At our 10 Year HS Class Reunion he was voted Most Changed Student in our graduating class. Not only in appearance, but it could have had something to do with the fact that he had actually become an upstanding member of society. In HS he was known as a “hood.” Definition back then was a tough guy who smoked and drank and raced his car where he shouldn’t.

By the time we moved to Iceland the hairline was beginning to recede a bit in the temple region. Ole always blamed it on the white hat that he had to wear. He said it cut off the circulation to his scalp and made the hair fall out. He neglected to look at his mother’s six brothers, all of who were completely bald on top with a fringe around the edge.

By the time he reached sea duty on the aircraft carrier he had begun the comb over. And a month before he was to get off the carrier and out of the Navy they made him shave off his handlebar moustache. At one point in time his moustache was long enough that if he stretched it out he could touch his ears on each side. He went through a lot of moustache wax at that time. EVERYONE wore handlebars in the Navy back then – I think making him shave it off was just a control issue at that point. You know, just to let him know that he wasn’t Master of his own Universe.

The comb over is getting more prevalent here – and a little more out of control.

By this time I was trying to encourage him to just deal with the fact that he was losing his hair and get it cut off. Combovers just weren’t attractive. But he wasn’t willing to accept hair loss yet. UNTIL his Buddy, who worked for him at that time, came back to his office one day and said, “Ole, get your coat, we’re going to go get you a haircut!” Buddy took him to his stylist, put Ole in a chair and told the stylist, “He’s bald, make him look like it! He’ll have to deal with the fact later.” And so she did, and Ole did. She cut all of those long stringy pieces of hair off the top of his head that were pretending to cover his bald spot, and left the ring around the ears and back. And how shocked I was when he came home from work that night – and how pleased. I called Buddy that night and thanked him profusely.

Here’s one of my favorite pictures of Ole and Lovely Daughter. See? He looks so distinguished with his bald pate rather than trying to pretend to have hair!!

Ole made the decision to retire at 55, and as that time came closer he cut the rim around his head shorter and shorter. He always said that when he retired he was going to SHAVE his head, and get a tattoo and an earring, and he did. About six months before he retired he started shaving his head, which was totally against company dress code at that time. He got his first tattoo on his shoulder where it couldn’t be seen anyway, and about three months before he retired he had his ear pierced. There was that rebellion issue coming out again, just like when he was a hood back in high school. He doesn’t exactly look like a hood anymore though, does he???

At one point in time, years ago when I was still working in the hospitality industry, I was the assistant sales manager at a rather large hotel in the city. I had booked in a convention of farm implement dealers who had their big pieces of equipment on display out in the parking lot. I distinctly remember that it was a very windy March day. The head of the convention had been out in the parking lot showing off some of his new equipment to convention goers, and when he blew back in the front door everyone couldn’t help but giggle at him. He hadn’t put enough glue or whatever it is that’s used to hold a toupee in place, on that morning, and the wind had lifted up the front of the toupee. It was curled backward and was flapping back and forth just a bit as he walked. No one bothered to tell the poor man what was going on, and apparently he didn’t take time to look in the mirror that afternoon because he walked around that way the entire remainder of the day. Poor soul – but it certainly gave us all a chuckle.

We have another friend who hasn’t dealt with the fact that he’s going bald yet either. He still wears a comb over and it gets worse and worse every year. He uses so much hair spray on it that when the wind blows it lifts all the hair up in one piece, but none of the hairs separate. It’s really hard to keep from laughing when this happens. If he only realized how stupid it looks.

After all, shaving your head these days is the fashionable thing to do. Remember – yesterday’s mullets are today’s combovers.

(Pssst – don’t tell Ole I wrote about this – we’ll keep it as our little secret, okay??)
Love you all, Lena


harrietv said...

My son has been shaving his head for about ten years, though I don't believe he's ever going to be completely bald. (You inherit that through your mother; my dad had most of his hair till he died.)

I think Ole looks great.

Anonymous said...

Ole is one of those guys who really looks better bald. A real hunk. ;-) Mel

Marge said...

I agree with the first two comments. Ole looks great! You have a hunka-hunka love there! Your description of him in high school sounds exactly like my Ernie's! He smoked, drank and drove fast. In fact I was told the police had his license number on their dashboards! Then he grew up, spent 20 years in the Air Force, and 25 years working at a Lutheran College! Who would have thunk it!

Paula - 53 said...

I remember this post. I think Ole looks good without his hair.