At Sunday night’s 76th annual Golden Globe Awards, handsome actor Chris Messina of The Mindy Kaling Show and Sharp Objects debuted a flaxen version of the short-on-the-sides, long-on-the-top haircut popular among every guy I have ever met. Chris: Welcome, officially, to the punishing experience of being blond with short hair.
Late last spring, I, an Irish man with short brown hair and no other physical attributes worth describing, dyed my hair bleach blond to great acclaim, thank-you for noticing. From the minute I left the shampoo pool, however, I entered into a prison of my own design, governed ruthlessly and extensively by the millions of different hair-care gestures I have to take every day to keep it healthy and maintain the shade.
To be clear, I think I look good, especially when I am not standing next to Chris Messina. But I look good at the expense of my livelihood, which has been perverted into the fruitless pursuit of perfect hair.
For starters, men like Chris Messina or myself with short (less than two-inch long) hair are all but bound to hyper-regular salon visits. When you are a woman with long, babely hair, you can get away with a color appointment every few months (with touch-ups). If this isn’t true, I am sorry, I don’t know everything about everything. All I know is that I have to go to a salon every month for three-plus hours while poisonous bleach seeps into my epidermis, making me more beautiful and palpably dumber. It has to be colored immediately after it is cut to avoid unfortunate frosted tips.
Once the salon stuff is over, your hair is perfect for three days. These days are wonderful. Everybody is stopping you on the street to compliment your hair and ask you if you’re famous. But as soon as the gloss wears off, you are thrust into the violet hell of at-home care, which includes:
• Purple shampoo and conditioner, to keep your blond icy, because every time you expose your hair to the elements, it is at risk of turning jaundice-yellow and losing all its magic.
• An additional nourishing shampoo and conditioner, because your hair has been chemically processed within an inch of its life and then imbued with synthetic pigments like a zombie of its former self. And like all zombies, it needs a good moisturizer.
• Hair oil, because despite your best efforts, time marches mercilessly onward, and we are but soldiers stepping in time, and your hair is going to look bad anyway, but some hair oil should help.
• Olaplex. I know not what Olaplex is, nor do I know what it does, and yet I would sooner light myself on fire than go without it.
The worst part of all of this is that guys look good blond. Chris Messina, an actor who is already hot, has accessed a new plane of hotness we did not know existed, just by bleaching his hair. Justin Bieber was just a teenage dirtbag until he went blond, at which point he became dirtbag chic. Have you ever seen a picture of what Lucky Blue Smith looked like with brown hair? It would be a lot easier to renounce the double-process if it didn’t mean returning to a lesser state, haunted by the image of a hotter you on the red carpet of the Golden Globes.
So we toil beneath the scalding water of our shower, our hands tinged purple with Redken, me and Chris Messina, brothers in suffering, looking very good.