Gunk is good

Monday, August 18th, 2003

Well, the great experiment is over.

For the last three weeks I haven't used hair gel or any other such gunk to keep my barnet under control. Since hardly a day had passed in the previous 20 years when I hadn't slathered it in hairspray (as a teenager), styling mousse (in my 20s) and now gel (in my 30s), I figured it could use a break.

I thought maybe left to itself it would take on a healthy, natural look (and also stain my collar less). I thought I'd re-discover whether or not I actually had a parting, and if so whether its position had been affected by the scar exactly on my hairline that I picked up in a bottle attack a few years back. I certainly liked the idea of it being possible for fingers to be run through it without them ending up unpleasantly sticky.

Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out. It really doesn't seem any more natural that it did with the gel in – hair care products have certainly improved since I was 16 and used so much hairspray that it formed a crust and made a hollow knocking sound if you tapped my head. Evidently, when they say 'natural-look gel' now, they really mean natural look.

Except it's better than natural. Ungelled, I have discovered that my hair looks like a failed experiment in cross-breeding a giraffe and a kitchen mop. Gelled, it looks natural. Go figure.

So when we went shopping just now I bought fresh gel supplies. Tomorrow, the gunk is back.

Still, as I said yesterday to a near-bald councillor who'd just told me I'd put on weight, at least I've still got it all.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.