It was about five years ago that a friend of mine, very perceptive and astute fellow, made this observation about the relationship between his buddy’s hair, and his buddy’s state of mind. In a nutshell, the exterior of my head reflected the conditions of its interior. If my mind was not at peace, my hair was unruly and mashed down under a baseball cap.
It was true then and is so now. When life has purpose and direction and focus, its day to day processes do include a visit to the barbershop, but when something is perplexing me, or even during those periods of general listlessness and disaffection that afflict us all, I tend to wake up one Sunday morning and notice, when I gaze blearily into the mirror, that I haven’t had a haircut in weeks.
Over the past few weeks, I have had some shit on my mind, and true to that ancient insight, I got up on Saturday and saw, atop the cranium, a mass of rowdy, unkempt hair; a follicular fiasco, a tantrum of split ends and kaweke.
That was no trouble that could not be concealed under a black baseball cap. Even though I no longer bear the habit of perpetually donning a cap, I still had a few of them lying around (at the height of the trend, I owned no less than 20 different baseball caps. Now I have less than five. One of the ways in which I lost them, I am proud to say, is women. They come into your house and take your headgear away. I have five left. If you are attractive, come on over.)
Moving on: I am shortsighted and my current correctional equipment of choice is contact lenses. They are more convenient and more comfortable than glasses, I find, as long as I keep away from the more dusty parts of this flyswept town of ours.
Occasionally, a trip down to the park etc cannot be avoided, so I carry my spectacles with me in my briefcase/computer bag/jacket pocket.
With other stuff, like coins and keys.
The inevitable occurred. When you jostle spectacles in a pocket with hard metal objects, the glasses can suffer fractures. And this is what happened. I took my glasses out of the bag this morning and lo, a straight crack rent the right lens from top to bottom.
Still moving on: I was on my way to the hospital. My bimonthly attack of malaria had arrived (it is like clockwork) and I was not in the mood to make myself look glamorous. I had already jammed a yankee cap over uncombed hair, and pushed cracked specs onto my face (really couldn’t be arsed to do the contacts) but since I had malaria, which means one minute you are hot, the next you are wrapped in a sudden chill, I needed to carry a coat.
I could not find any but the jacket I bought at the last minute to wear at my cousin’s wedding. All my other jackets were scattered around kampala– I think I left one at mom’s place. The other one is still at J’s. The cool one I carried to work the day the malaria hit me? I think I left it there. I had no option but a suit jacket that was built for broader shoulders and lengthier hands, and fit me very poorly.
And now the point where this monomania becomes educational to you. The moral of the story. I have made some consessions, some compromises, over the past five years, but I still believe in my heart that fashion ought to go fuck itself. When I have my tie and my low-cut fade and my polished leather shoes, I am just pretending to be one of you conformists because there is something I want from you, but at heart, this is me: uncombed hair, gazing through whatever glasses will make things visible, and slouching in whatever jacket will keep out the cold, regardless of how GQ it is. And did I mention that the jeans I was wearing were my most faded, most worn, and subsequently most loved pair, and that the sneakers had no socks interrupting them?
This was my Saturday morning. I looked like shit. But if felt pretty good.
The moral. Slob out every now and then. It is good for you. Also, Fashion can go fuck itself.