It being a rather slow night, your friendly bartender did what he usually does when the business is like this… leaned against the back bar, folded his arms and observed his eclectic assemblage. And what immediately caught his eye (even before the brunette from Cleveland nursing her apple martini), was the dude leaning forward on his barstool checking out his “Do” in the mirror and tweaking it in between pulls on his Bass Ale.
Now normally this wouldn’t in the least be something observation-worthy, (and certainly not more worthy than watching Miss Apples), but the “Do” this man was tweaking made it so. It was one of those messed-up-on-purpose, tousled affairs so prevalent these days by men pursuing the bad boy look. You know, the… “I just rolled out of bed”… “Where the fuck are my pants”… “Make my coffee black”… “Gimme a goddam cigarette”… “Fuck work”… “Maybe I’ll call you, maybe I won’t”… “I ain’t shavin'”… I just don’t give a fuck“… bad boy “Do”.
So a few minutes later when your friendly bartender served this guy another Bass (no glass), careful not to block his mirrored vanity tweak-fest, he launched into the following conversation.
“Mind if I ask you a question?”
“Ah… no, man. What’s up?”
“Simple question. When you’re fixing your hair in the morning, how do you know when you’re done?”
Eyes now bulging in “What the fuck?” bulginess, Tousled Top simply responded with an, “Excuse me?”
“Hey, I’m not trying to break your balls, man, I’m just curious about something. You guys that sport that messed-up-on-purpose look have to have an end point where you look in the mirror and say, ‘All right, proper amount of mess up here, messed up the way I want it… I’m done!’ What I’m saying is, there’s an obvious order to that chaos, a place you try to arrive at because I just saw you trying to get to that place in our mirror. But “messed up” by its very definition connotes incompleteness. Disorder. Undone! That said and if that’s the case, I guess what I’m really asking is… how in the hell do you know when you’re actually done? That’s my question.”
His eyes now orbs the size of frisbees, and convinced I’d stepped off a spaceship concealing deftly under my “Do” green antennae, Tousled Top eventually curled me a smile and after enough deliberation to absorb the entirety of Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason, issued the following reasoning through a crimson blush. “Ya’ know, it’s just like whatever, man, know what I’m sayin’? I mean… you just… it’s like at some point you’re just done, I don’t know. I mean… you really don’t think about it, it just happens, know what I’m sayin’? Fuck,” he added with a chuckle, “I don’t fucking know.” (But you do know, I thought, or you wouldn’t have stopped tweaking so there actually must be a place of completion for each dude’s tossin’ and messin’… order in chaos!)
“Oh, I see,” I then said, really not trying to embarrass the guy, then we put a button on the exchange with an amiable Barack-Michelle “terrorist fist bump”.
Now don’t get me wrong, your friendly bartender has nothing against that look or those who sport it, in fact he might even border on jealous because he’s not the type who could coolly pull that off (and women really do seem to go for it), it’s just that he finds the creation of that “Do” quite an enigma. For when are you done? And where is the order embedded in that chaos because in my day (take it easy, dear reader, I’m not that old, I can still go into The Gap without a nurse), not-a-hair-out-of-place was the order of the day and a follicle defying conformity was met with everything from industrial strength gel to a fucking hand gun. And so for “messed up” to be the “order” he just finds amusing. So amusing in fact that if your friendly bartender suddenly decided to walk behind the stick all messed and tousled, sprouting some facial stubble to complete the effect, he’s convinced some phone calls would be made, some people would be questioned… and a siren would soon be detected off in the distance.
Which brings your friendly bartender to this final point to be made regarding this “Do”. And it involves the “Don’t”. Male reader, if you’re passed forty nine years, six months, three days old, and you attempt to compile a version of the bad boy look, you’re really not sporting a “Do” you’re sporting a “Don’t”. A big fucking “Don’t”. Yes, dude, there’s a cut-off. See, at your age, (simply because it’s “in”) you just can’t out of nowhere blithely skate into your workplace, (or into YFB’s bar which he’s seen), messed up to the nines, sporting a topside rat’s nest coupled with the obligatory five o’clock shadow as a back-up… for you won’t look bad-boy young but old-school nuts. Like you’re off your fucking meds and escaped from The Home.
Yes, there are certain certainties in this universe, “everything’s constantly changing” is one, but that doesn’t mean you can change your “Do” to a “Don’t”. So just re-part your hair, or slick it down if that’s what you did before you decided to take a walk on the wild side, take out a Gillette fucking Twin Blade and relax. And of course heed this crucial warning which YFB offers: If you’re fast approaching fifty and you’re thinking of sporting a “Don’t”, there are four important words that you should ponder… Nick Nolte’s Mug Shot!
So when Bass Ale got up to leave we exchanged a proper handshake… the regular kind you were taught to proffer on job interviews… then YFB rushed straight to the awaiting sink. He then ran a torrent of water over the palm of his right hand, not to expunge any germs, dear reader, but to pat down a stubborn hair he saw out of place!
PS: It’s so much better when the bar is really busy because stuff like this doesn’t happen to my brain.