To Moisturize or Not Moisturize? or Self-Care for Juggalos
Getting your head shaved professionally has always seemed like a waste of money and time to me. But my wife has told me repeatedly that having a freshly shaved head makes me look decades younger (which makes me wonder how old she thinks I look with a relatively shaggy mane) so I end up getting it done every couple of weeks.
Today I went to Sport Clips, a ridiculously gendered chain where bros, dudes and jocks alike can get their hair cut in a stale, depressing caricature of tedious conventional masculinity, surrounded by TVs showing all the big sports ball games us dudes love watching rather than, say, episodes of Sesame Street or Wes Anderson movies. It’s not the kind of place where you can ask, “Hey, can you put a comedy podcast on? Maybe something with Paul F. Tompkins?”
I only ever go to Sports Clips because I don’t have any other nearby options but that happened to be the case so today I had my head shaved by a stern woman who took a little too much pride in her work, to the point where I felt like I was letting her down by not caring enough about the hair that I no longer have.
“Do you moisturize your scalp?” she asked with an authority that betrayed that there was only one right answer to the question, and it wasn’t mine. Reflexively I blurted out, “Oh god no!” in a way that clearly conveyed that I thought it was a ridiculous question.
When it comes to my hair, I like to quote Stalin, by way of Bill Maher. In one of Karrine Steffans' books, she writes about how she talked to her good friend and ex-boyfriend Bill Maher about how her relationship with Bobby Brown was driving her crazy. The Politically Incorrect host quoted Stalin saying "no person, no problem" as a possible answer to Steffans' problems. That is to say, that if she were to remove Bobby Brown from her life, then her Bobby Brown problems would disappear as a result. For me, no hair means no problem except that my scalp was dry and sensitive, to the point where even I sort of noticed it, and I don't notice anything when it comes to my body.
Did I moisturize my scalp? Christ no. I had literally never given the issue of whether or not I should moisturize my scalp a moment’s consideration in my the nearly two decades I have spent as a bald man. I wasn’t the type of guy who moisturized his scalp. I was the kind of guy who wondered who in the hell moisturizes their scalp.
Then I wondered why the question seemed so outrageous to me. The woman shaving my head clearly did as well. “Well, you should. Your scalp is incredibly dry. You should be moisturizing your scalp” she scolded me.
Moisturize my scalp? I’m a Juggalo. Juggalos do not moisturize their scalps. If they did, they wouldn’t be Juggalos but then I started thinking about why I had such a strong knee jerk reaction to the woman’s comments.
What if I was the kind of guy who moisturized his scalp, would that be such a terrible thing? Would it be so bad if I pampered myself, or even did the bare minimum, self-care-wise? I’ve always thought of my body as a crappy temple for my brain, which does all the essential stuff, although, now that I think about it, parenting has definitely put me more in touch with my body, if only because playing with Declan and chasing after him and picking him up reminds me how old and feeble I am.
But it would not hurt me to see my body as an ally and home and something to take care of with the same care I do my family’s apartment and my family and the computer that is my livelihood. When I lived in Marietta with my in-laws I had a monthly massage for about fifty bucks and I think having something silly and unnecessary and indulgent like that to look forward to on an ongoing basis had a psychological benefit that went above the physical benefits and relaxation.
Maybe if I was the type of guy who moisturized his scalp I’d be less inclined to indulge in apocalyptic thinking and more given to enjoying life’s infinite pleasures, among the comfort and ease of a freshly massaged back or moisturized scalp.
Maybe I was a scalp moisturizer all along. I just didn’t know it yet. So when the woman checking me out asked if I’d be purchasing scalp moisturizing cream I asked how much it cost, prepared to at least consider making the plunge.
“Eighteen dollars” was her reply. I felt bad because I once again instinctively blurted out, “Hell no.”
So while this experience made me re-think how I treat myself, or rather how I mistreat, and neglect, and ignore my body and head, there is a limit to the price I’m willing to pay to make that appealing, hopefully inevitable leap into self-care. Eighteen dollars exceeds that price, particularly since the shave itself was twenty two dollars.
Forty dollars is just too much goddamn money for a bald man to spend at a place called Sport Clips, no matter how pleasing the symbolism might be.
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