Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gel Hath No Fury





Hello, my name is Richard Boehmcke and I used to be addicted to hair gel.

Wow, that was tough.

It wasn’t always this way.

I mean, I was addicted to hair spray first. And hair spray will always be my first love. But when it comes to Gel, no addiction in my life was harder for me to kick.

My hair is kind of like a classroom of ADD 8 year olds on top of my head. It is confusing, nobody follows directions, and everybody is looking in a different direction.

But up until 5th grade I wasn’t aware that my hair was capable of such epic ridiculousity. My beautiful ignorance was still firmly in place courtesy of my mother. Always wanting her son to appear handsome, she combed my hair for the early part of my life, and she did it the same way my father did his; parted on the side.

But unlike my father who only used a couple of spritzes of hairspray to hold his hair in place, my hair required quite a few more something like 25 sprays of hair spray to get the hair to behave.

Looking back now I realize that between my mother, father, and sister we were probably responsible for most of the hairspray purchased in New York between 1987 and 1995.

It was around 6th grade that I branched out and started learning how to do my own hair, truly a momentous occasion in my life. This was also around the time of puberty where my face looked like a battlefield; my voice sounded like a broken cello, and when I walked it kind of looked like I was trying to roller-skate… on ice.

So with my life seemingly out of control my subconscious quickly latched on to the idea that if I couldn’t control what I sounded like, or what people thought of me, or how popular I was, I was going to do my damndest to make my hair look perfect.

This meant the end of hair spray and a rather unfortunate reinvention and subsequent love affair with hair gel. Seeing as I grew up on Long Island this was pretty much my birthright.

It is challenging to grow up in a place (Long Island) where hair gel is revered as though it had come straight from the hands of Jesus himself. Like in his most famous of stories Jesus hadn’t turned water into wine, but rather hair gel. So that none of his disciples would have to suffer from dry, lifeless hair, which was rumored to affect all of the apostles except Judas ironically.

I familiarized myself with all the myriad types of Dep. This fantastic manufacturer of hair product measured its different kinds of hair gel on a scale from 1 to 5. The first level I guess meaning “I don’t really care how I look,” to level 5 meaning, “I need to stand in a wind tunnel for my job.”

Later on Dep created levels 5 through 10. Now for the life of me I have not been able to distinguish sufficient differences between levels 1 and 10 but you can bet there IS a population using level 10. Those are my brethren from Long Island, those individuals who are fans of the hairstyle known as “The Blowout.”

The Blowout, for those of you unfamiliar, and I really don’t know how you could be, is a haircut where the owner appears to have exploded a large quantity of dynamite in the morning and then decided to leave the house without touching the hair.

I don’t know how this started, but I pray to god that it will one day stop. I don’t know how the first person that walked into the barbershop described this haircut.

“Hey yo, Barber man, you check this out. I want like, a haircut, but don’t like, don’t cut too much offs, ya know, and then take like, all the hair gels you got and make it look like I’m being sucked into the sky by like, a spaceship or some shit. Word?”

But while I never engaged in any hair gelling that made my noggin look like the wrong end of a turnip, I did use more than my share of hair gel.

In fact my love of hair gel was so profound that one year for Easter my mother bought me a VAT of hair gel. I’m not sure what the corollary was between Jesus rising from the dead and a “strong hold and lustrous shine” but I will gladly admit that having that much gel was completely unnecessary.

It was no less than 64 houses of bright yellow goo. It was the kind of jar you might have reached for had you been looking for some industrial coolant.

There was no spout, no nozzle, just a lid, which unscrewed allowing me to put my entire hand into and scoop out as much yellow confidence builder as I needed.

Never one for moderation, this made this activity the equivalent applying a glob of axle grease to lube up a jet turbine.

And my head may resemble many things, but “jet turbine” is one I have readily tried to avoid.

I think my mother and I can agree that was a mistake on both of our parts.

But can you really blame me?

I mean how else was I supposed to make people like me? A good personality? Kindness? Please, everyone knows those things don’t work in your teen years.

But alas these days I keep the amount of hair product I use to a minimum. And I anticipate it staying like that. Unless of course I come across a Bible with a new take on Easter. Something like:

"On the third day Jesus rose from the dead… and his hair looked FABULOUS!"

19 comments:

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

Oh gosh. My brother went through a hair gel phase. In fact, he ought to be nice to me or I'm finding old pictures of him to show to his girlfriend. Because I'm just that mean.

I, on the other hand, was taught to love hairspray by a mother whose hair is sometimes described as "hard as a rock." Thankfully for me, I eventually learned that less is more.

Toni said...

Love it! Remember last year when you and Bertina were perfecting the same do. You made her laugh everyday for a month with that. Was any hair gel involved?

nowimagrownup said...

"My hair is kind of like a classroom of ADD 8 year olds on top of my head. It is confusing, nobody follows directions, and everybody is looking in a different direction." --- HA!! This had me cracking up, which, in turn, had all of my co-workers looking at me like I'm an idiot. Guess I should be less obvious that I'm reading blogs instead of working....

My youngest brother is going through this now - he's 12 and has really thick, unmanageable hair... so far, the gel use is intermittent. Let's hope it stays that way :)

I'm not a product person. I can't stand for my hair to be stiff or crunchy or sticky or... well, you get the picture. I am, however, addicted to my flat iron. Which is probably worse.

Kim Humes said...

haha this was hilarious! Don't know if you've ever seen the tv show, Glee, but this reminded of a recent episode where Sue Sylvester tells Mr. Schuester that they are having a "monster sale on Dep" and that should make his day or something. She's always insulting his hair - at least a couple of times an episode she comments on how much product he uses lol.

DangGina said...

My baby brother is into the hair gel thing. And PS, he's picky about it. He can't ever remember for the life of him what kind he likes, but he knows for sure what kinds he DOESN'T like. What is that all about anyway?

Oh yeah, and I'm totally laughing at your description of your hair, comparing it to a classroom of 8 year olds. AWESOME!

PrettyPrincessXo said...

Hahaha, 'Barber man..... Word?' Love it!

Princess Pointful said...

I swear hair gel has to be more toxic than crude oil. I look at that awful spill off the Gulf Coast right now... and I'm happy it isn't hair gel.

Michelle said...

Great blog rich! Laughed the whole time reading it...but, really, pictures, please!!

JerseySjov said...

i used to use dep 7 when my mother and i were afraid of my curly hair.
nowadays i use a bunch of special hair stuff that i buy on the internet and White Rain 99 cent hairspray to keep things solid if need be.

Adam McGrath said...

Best description of a blowout ever...I never got that into hair gel as a teen, but I did want long, straight hair so badly that I used to sleep with a baseball hat on! Oh, vanity.

Hannah said...

OMG. this totally reminded me of a professor at the college I attended. His use of hairspray (and probably gel too) was EPIC. So epic that the students called him Helmet Head. Oh the memories! LOL

Stephanie Ann said...

I worship and adore my father every single day because when I was 6 he married a beautician. There is no way in hell I could ever tell you what my hair would have turned out looking like if it had been left "natural." At this point I have had almost every single hair product run through my locks that was ever invented. And being a southern gal who has seen a beauty pageant or two, I know that there is no product in the world that will hold like a can of Aquanet. Shameful, isn't it?!

Sweta said...

The volume's gonna decrease mate,if you don't watch it. :P
Also,you are hilarious =)!
Thanks for visiting :)

Caroline B said...

Just love the description re a class of ADD 8 year olds - perfect!
I'm glad you have your addiction under control...such an addiction can have dire consequences. My ex once got a police fine for not wearing his crash helmet...when asked why not, he didn't want to wreck his freshly gelled hair. No need to question why he's ex...

Los Schoenys said...

This reminds me of a Flight of the Concords episode. The band manager tells the band mates that they're not famous yet because they don't have cool hairstyles. He tosses them a tub of gel and a full on addiction ensues. Later, the manager has to have an intervention.

Glad you've been able to kick the habit on your own. And I'm double glad that you're not rocking the douchey blow out!

Meg Fee said...

brilliant! absolutely perfect!

Pat said...

I am so glad you are past the gel stage. But I sure wish you had pictures. I'm one of those people who needs illustrations to understand. Really.

Robin Z said...

OMG (as in Oh My Gel!)

My hair exploded into an exact replica of Rosanna Rosanna Danna's 'do' overnight. What to do? What to do? Why. . . put gel on it when it's wet and lacquer it with hairspray when it's dry. Great idea, Mom!!

I had so much goo in it and on it that my hair always looked wet. Think Michael Jackson in Thriller or Prince in Purple Rain. Seriously. The curls too. Way too much 'fro for a white girl, I was told.

Now? I've got the au naturale spiral curls women pay for.

Product? YOU BET! Shampoo, rinse. Condition, rinse. Spray conditioner, comb. Cream conditioner with glossy glycerine mooshed together and combed through with fingers. Gel scrunched on ends. Air dry-dry-dry (LOVE ceiling fans!) Spritz of hairspray around 'bangs' and TA-DA! I look gooooorgeous, dahlin'!

Me have a product addiction? NO! I *NEED* it all.

The Girl said...

Have you watched the episode in the second series of Flight of the Conchords where Brett and Jemaine get addicted to hair gel? Hilarious I tell you, HILARIOUS.