More often than perhaps I should admit my hair comes up in conversation. It seems there has been no discrimination on who brings it up; guys, girls, heterosexuals, homosexuals and every mix of the above (I am both a male and a heterosexual, for the record). Oftentimes the conversation ends in either a request for me to talk about hair care and/or a question about why I have not already discussed it. I bring this up not in an effort to sound vain but as a justification to myself to feel comfortable talking about the subject as it is not something I typically care to pontificate on. But I suppose there are other guys out there who have struggled with this conundrum. First, I guess to properly address the topic I should start with the backstory of how it all started but if you don’t care about that, skip the next 2 paragraphs. Or if you don’t care about hair at all just go to the next story. Although to not are about your hair would be foolish as it is one of the most memorable and defining traits about a person.
When I was a senior at Villanova I was an assistant coach of my high school’s lacrosse team and we were playoff bound (as we should’ve been, our league competition was a joke). I don’t really do facial hair so a playoff beard was out of the question so I decided to do playoff flow. Clearly 90% of lax is in the flow, as we won the league. Anyway, post victory I decided to keep growing my hair instead of cutting it.
Following that grand summer of lax conquesting and subsequent cross country road tripping I started work at Deloitte & Touche as an auditor. As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s pretty much some of the most soul sucking work I can think of. Not to mention working for the man is pretty lame for the most part. So I decided that as my symbolic gesture of rebellion against said ‘man’ the flow would stay; regardless of what friends, family and co-workers thought and said. I was not going to let the man get me down. It was during those 2+ years that I sometimes struggled with both how to wear my hair and how to care for it. I have realized there are three parts to dealing with the flow. Where/how to get it cut, how to wear it and how to clean it.
I suppose my first issue was finding someone who could cut my hair properly. I went through 3 or 4 places up in NYC and none of them really worked out, so I just started cutting my own hair which I ended up doing for about a year. Fortunately, I have found someone who gives me a good cut back here on the Main Line. Anecdotally, the story of how I found this lady is quite funny actually. I was EMTing one day and responded to a call for which a man drove a car through a store (literally, the car was in the middle of the store). Said store was across the street from the hair place and since we were on scene for a few hours I became friendly with some of the frantic staff of the hair place. But back to point, the first, and often most challenging task is to find someone that you trust and that understands what you want your hair to look like. I now give rather strict instructions to my girl, which often seems to agitate her; so I bring her cookies to put her in a good mood (hey, whatever works). I have heard that bringing in photos of how you want your hair to look is also useful.
While that whole search was going down I was also dealing with how to wear the long hair in a professional workplace. Was I to wear it as it fell naturally, slick it back or some other option? I tried the former two and was never totally happy with the result. I found that if my hair was not long enough it would not stay back at all and if it was too long it would sometimes look too unsettled. Everyone’s hair is different and mine is not the type that stays in place naturally, even when shorter. It is important for you to know how your hair sits. So I tried the whole Patrick Bateman slick back type of thing. Which I strongly disliked, but it did keep my hair in place. But after a few months of that I was back to letting my hair sit naturally. The flow is not meant to be a caged animal like that. I have now happily settled on a mix of letting my hair sit naturally and tying it back in a pony tail, which as you can imagine has been rather polarizing amongst friends and family. In the end, it is important to take into account your workplace when deciding how to rock the flow. If things are casual it may not matter at all, but if things are more formal then you may have to look into ‘products’ to hold you hair in place, or even worse, keep your hair short. Which is pretty much the weakest move of all time. You can’t let the man win like that.
The final struggle I faced was how to clean my hair. And to be honest, this was the easiest of the three issues to resolve. The short answer is that I very rarely do anything to my hair (liassez faire for all you economists). I may put conditioner in it or wash it every month or so but my hair needs nothing more than that. I just wash my hair out with water everyday.Perhaps if I was laxing everyday I would have to clean it more often. But I have retired from the sport as the sole inductee to the Boston University Lax Hall Of Fame. People ask if my hair gets greasy, and no, it does not. If you have really greasy hair, that may be God telling you that you are not meant to rock flow. Fortunately, I do not have that problem, which means that is God telling me I have a divine right (yeah, like those bad ass medieval monarchs and Asian emperors) to rock the flow.
In the end, rocking flow is a lifestyle choice. It’s not for everyone. It’s not just about hair, it’s a mentality, a state of mind. Much like The Dude (who has solid flow), it is about being in your time and place. If you can’t be there then do you really have a place anywhere else?
The dude abides,