I have always wondered about men who persist in holding on to a hair of head and implementing what I call "the ridiculous swirling combover"... but I think what really surprises me are people who go so far as to try to replace that hair, but then resort to some rather bad fake hairpieces. It is sometimes a sort of charming denial, excusable to some extent, but there are occasions when denial of aging is extremely foolish and passes as ridiculousness, then of a level to evoke pity, before evoking utter disgust.
One always assumes though that most people have some sense, and that the worst of the lot exists only in the land of TV or bad novels. Typically there is but one type -- the man who wears what can only be ascribed as "a carpet."
However, sometimes reality is weirder than fiction. There is a middle-aged man nearing (I believe) the half-century mark who lives somewhere in my community. Over the past two or three years, we've exchanged "hellos" as I've gone to empty my mailbox of its usual diet of shopping circulars and randomly missorted mails (which bemuse me to no end). I've grown accustomed to seeing the shockingly inappropriate black hair perched on his head, traitorously clashing with his aged face. On some days the traitor wig flops. On a day like today , it sits perched on top of his head , looking a bit like hair would if the man was electrocuted. The toupee looks as if it is almost ready to fly away.
While normal people apparently have good hair days and bad, this man seems to be always in the midst of a bad fake hair day. It would be humorous if it were not for the fact that it is so awful that one is not sure exactly what to think.
While I walked back to my car, considering maybe I was living in a David Lynchian type of scenario (where Kyle MacLachlan might suddenly appear out of the bushes and midgets began to dance), I tried to understand this existence. How can such an absurdity persist?
1> This is the work of over politeness. Strangers would certainly point out trailing sashes on coats, but never a trailing hairpiece. Friends, if the man has any, don't feel as if they have the right to reach up and simply adjust the rogue toupee. For many years this has gone unremarked, to the point that the man really has no appropriate idea of what works and what does not. Somewhere in this mix, I consider that the man may be socially isolated, and has no concept that he has aged, or how toupees should be properly worn.
2> This is a reflection of poor self-monitoring. The toupee speaks to something off in this person. It is not colored appropriately for the man's age, and as far as I can tell, he never had black hair, or if he did, it was gone more than fifteen years ago. He holds on to it, though, but isn't self-aware enough to realize that it always put on incorrectly, and is not attached very well. (From the way it has flopped around in other encounters, I can see that he probably has it glued but precariously to whatever real hair is left.) It is a reflection of either an extreme sense of vanity and a wish to hold on to youth (to the point of ridiculousness) or a symptom of mental incapacities.
3> This holds a much more nobler meaning. This could be a person who find some symbolism or hope in the rebellious toupee , like a person who might have lost all their hair due to cancer and is holding on to it for dignity. In this case, I would not be so perturbed by the way the toupee is worn, and probably should politely point out to this person that his hair is about to jump.
4> This is the work of a very funny person who is laughing his ass off at the fact that no one is pointing out that hairpiece is so wrong and awful that he might as well be wearing macaroni glued to his head.
At times I wonder why I find people (and their toupees) so intriguing, but the psychology behind vanity and aging amuses me so much. I would like to say that this obsession over appearance and aging is a distinctly American business, but after having observed some rather funny Korean women up north, I daresay that all people seem to be afraid of getting older.
Whatever it may be, I'm still rooting for the toupee. I hope that one day, it flies away ;)EDIT:
AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU IN CASE I DON'T GET TO WRITE A PROPER COUNTDOWN ENTRY TOMORROW! I will be probably hiding a good portion of messages from 2009 starting tomorrow (after all, it's out with the crappy old 2009), so READ THEM ALL TO YOUR HEART'S CONTENT, NON-LJers!