Coming Down From My High Horse

June 23, 2011 at 11:35 am (Clairissa, The Easy Chair)

Live-blogging my impending old age is kinda fun. Since I’ve turned fifty, things have changed. One would think the date would make no difference. Maybe I’m just more self-conscious now?

That’s probably not the term. I’m hardly shy about sharing all the gory details. You’ve heard about girl-chasing in the form of my endless pursuit/infatuation/attraction/obsession with Clairissa. I bitch about work when I feel like it. I’ve shared medical stories ad nauseum, with everything from skin tag removal to homegrown dentistry to peeling toenails. The prostate exam is a good example. (First one wasn’t so fun. The second time I wanted to slip her a $20 and ask if she’d do it again.)

So I’m not easily embarrassed, but I recently faced a quandary. As I turned fifty, I realized I may have to do some things I swore I’d never do. (I fear not the colonoscopy. That ain’t it.) I’m not shy about buying tampons, condoms, crab medicine, etc… although I haven’t had to buy crab medicine since 1984. I bought support hose/compression stockings without batting an eye. I rather enjoyed it when the boys at the pharmacy joked, teased and pondered their mortality as I bought a bottle of Old Spice. (The after-shave in the white bottle, not the fancy stink-pretty stuff.)

But there’s at least one thing I’m struggling with. I’ve been meaning to go to the drug store across the street and take care of it, but I just can’t do it.

Thank the gods for the internet. With a couple clicks of a button, I was spared the shame and indignity of having to confront the fresh-faced whippersnappers at the pharmacy. There will be no snickering, no whispering behind the counter. After I leave, they won’t be saying to each other, “I’ll never become *that* guy!”

So I’m watching the mail for a discreet brown package. While I’m not aquiver with anticipation at its arrival, it will take me into the next phase of life.

What are these items that have me so freaked out?

Hair ties.

Yup, I may have to break down and wear a ponytail.

Now you’re probably thinking, what’s so bad about that?

Nothing.

It’s not you, it’s me.

I should probably do some damage control. Almost all the males in my life who still have hair wear it tied back. I love these guys, and don’t think twice about their hair. Weird Steven, Dr T, Freewheelin’, the males in my house. All ponytails. I understand why they do; their hair is much longer and one can’t have things getting stuck in their zipper, etc… The only time I even notice is when their hair isn’t tied back. Dr T and Weird Steven look pretty radical when their hair is on the loose.

It’s a personal thing with me that started back in the ’70s. Back then the guys who wore ponytails tended to be pretentious hippie assholes without need of a job. (Or Ted Nugent.) Power Hippies! Well, more power to ’em. It wasn’t the ponytail, it was what the ponytail represented to me.

As we all aged, the guys wearing ponytails took over important spots in my life. I eased back on my critical stance. The ponytail became less a symbol of assholism and more one of respect. Still, a ponytail was not for me.

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity of meeting Stephanie Stricklen, a local media darling at one of the network TV affiliates. My hairstyle then? A beard and quarter-inch buzzcut. She’d returned from maternity leave, and a bunch of fans went to the studio at Pioneer Square and stood in the pouring rain to welcome her back. After the first commercial, she came out and did the rest of the show with us. After, as she thanked everyone, we were introduced. She gave me a hug! (I’d say, “I’ll never wash this body again!” but that would be yucky, plus the rain took care of that.) As she pulled back, she half-whispered, “I always took you for a ponytail guy.”

Wh-wh-wha? I was crushed for a second.

She knew me well enough from internet exchanges, though we’d not met in person. One day she’d approached me with a mic, doing man-on-the-street interviews. I freaked and jumped on a MAX. Watching the segment later, I’d have had a response that would have killed, but I’d never have been able to spit it out. She probably just recognized me as another schlub who walks past the studio windows during the show.

But the more I thought about what she said, the more complimentary it seemed. And as I’ve turned fifty, I’m starting to *get* the ponytail. Literally and figuratively.

The other day I briefly thought of buzzing off all my hair, two years worth. I’m not ready for that. But there are times when I’d rather look a bit less bushy, and my hair is long enough that I can at least keep a hair tie in place. Still, it feels a bit girlish as I try wearing one while I type. Honestly, I have better functionality with “Little Debbie” pigtails, but I can’t go downtown looking like that. NO. So I need a quality hair tie that won’t fall out every couple hours, but I still won’t go buy them at the pharmacy. Again, NO.

While buying a video game for the nephew at Amazon, I had a flash of brilliance. The game cost $24.21. If I spend $25, I get free shipping. That’s $6 savings! To save six bucks, I had to spend seventy-nine cents. Hello, clothing and accessories. Twelve black hair ties for $2.98. Add to cart. Now I await the mail man.

I still have a couple things to do. There’s a small forest growing on my neck, camouflaged by the flaming red dandelion that is my hairdo. I’m picky about who approaches my neckline with a straight razor, so I’m awaiting word from Clairissa. I figure she can pretty me up and help ease my transition into maturity.

I’m doing it in honor of you, Steph. Being a ponytail guy isn’t gonna be so bad…

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