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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!


I have this problem.

I have hair. On my head. That’s not the problem, exactly.

But I’m also straight, don’t have dandruff, I’m not balding, not hiding gray hair, and I’m over twelve years old. And that, from a shampoo buyer’s standpoint, is a problem.

Because there are no shampoos marketed specifically for me, or my kind. Instead, we’re awash in a sea of girly hair products, medicinal tonics, and ‘no more tears’ kiddie concoctions. There’s no shampoo for regular guys like me who don’t — and don’t want to — spend a lot of time concerned about our ‘dos. We’re simple folk. We just want to shampoo. We don’t want conditioners. We don’t gel, or spritz, or mousse.

“If a fluffy towel and a sunny day was good enough for caveman coifs, then it’ll do just fine for mine.”

Hell, I don’t even dry my hair. If a fluffy towel and a sunny day was good enough for caveman coifs, then it’ll do just fine for mine. Have you ever seen a Neanderthal with bedhead? Me, neither.

I knew early on that finding a shampoo would be a problem. I used that ‘tearless’ J&J baby shampoo as a kid, and I milked it as long as I could. I used it at twelve. At fourteen, I hung with it. At sixteen, I was still sudsing up like a toddler. But eventually, it became ‘weird’, apparently, so I looked for another shampoo.

If it weren’t for sleepover parties in high school, I might still be lathering up with the Johnsons today. It’s true what they say — kids whose shampoo bottles aren’t still Oscar the Grouch-shaped can be so cruel.

After as little thought as possible, I settled on my first ‘adult’ hair care product — Ivory Shampoo. It’s not a perfect choice, but it’s the best I could do at the time. I worried for a while whether it was a little ‘delicate’ for the image I was shooting for. Overnight trips are one thing — but facing the same kids in the dorm every day with the wrong kind of shampoo? That could have set my social calendar back by a matter of years.

Happily, no one said much about my Ivory. And I was encouraged a few weeks into my freshman year when the very-good-but-very-gay hairdresser — the only ‘barber’ facsimile in our small college town — asked me what I used on my hair. When I told him, I thought he was going to faint. He nearly ran himself through with his pinking shears in dismay, and waxed poetic throughout the haircut about ‘Vidal’ this and ‘Masson’ that, and how my follicles needed to be defoliated — or my foliates needed to be defollicled? Something like that. I didn’t may much attention, frankly. Nor did I change my hair care strategy. At that point, I thought I had a shampoo for life.

So, of course, a few years later they stopped making Ivory shampoo. At least, I couldn’t find it any more. Maybe they found it caused cancer, or scurvy, or a kid overdosed on it somewhere. Or maybe my huffy hairdresser friend wrote his Congressman and got it banned somehow. I don’t know. I just know I needed a new shampoo. Again.

I settled on Pert Plus. I wasn’t happy about it. But that’s my problem — what the hell else is out there? There’s no ‘Guinness Extra Stout Hair Foam’ available. Major League Baseball doesn’t endorse any shampoos that I know of. And ‘Gee, Your Hair Smells Like Fresh-Cut Grass and Nachos’? Forget about it.

Still, the “P-squared ‘poo” has its advantages. There are no flowers or anything too frilly about the packaging. The bottle is big, so I don’t have to restock very often. And there’s conditioner in the bottle, apparently, so I don’t have to take an extra step in the shower or worry about any hair cutters committing shear seppoku on the basis of my product choice.

(Plus, here in Boston there are plenty of barbers. Real barbers — grumpy old men with forty-year-old chairs and clippers to match. Those guys don’t care what you shampoo with, any more than they want to know what brand of toothpaste, toilet paper, or tater tots you buy.

For the record: Aquafresh, Cottonelle, and Ore-Ida.

Hey, I said they don’t care. But I can still pretend you do.)

So Pert Plus is fine, I suppose. It’s not ‘SportsCenter Shampoo’ or Man Show ‘Juggy-Endorsed’ or anything good like that. But it does the job, and I don’t have to do any thinking about it.

Until I run out. Like this weekend.

For the past three days, I’ve been Pert-less. So I’m at the mercy of whatever my wife uses on her hair, and that’s no good at all. Between the fruity-smelling stuff and the ‘Tea Tree’ nonsense — which doesn’t smell like tea or trees, I can assure you — there’s nothing I’m very comfortable squeezing out of a bottle and rubbing on my scalp. The best I’ve been able to manage is something called ‘Suave’ — which sounds like it might be made for a man. But it’s not. If I took ‘Suave’ on a sleepover, I’d wake up hung by my underwear on a coat hook.

So tomorrow, I’ll stop by the drug store and see what I can find. Probably, I’ll find Pert Plus again, and go back to my usual ways — boring, perhaps, but safe and easy. Or maybe I’ll run into something new — some shampoo developed just for my demographic: the ‘no-muss, no-fuss, no-fancy-gooey-crap’ kind of hairgrowers.

My fingers are crossed for the ‘grass and nachos’ stuff. With that kind of shampoo, I might grow my locks long, so I could smell it all day. Mmm-mmmm!

Permalink  |  7 Comments

7 Responses to “Shampoozled!”

  1. Kerry says:

    you know, they do make shampoo for men. actually, i think there is some kind that is a combo body wash/shampoo. i’d have to look it up to know what it’s called, but i do know it out there.

    and me being me, i had to google shampoo for men. here’s what i came up with.

  2. arnold says:

    The trick is to find something that smells something between manly and wet mammal which women like. Patchouli in anything seems to mask my normal smells and I don’t have to use my wifes fruity hair products.” who wants to smell like a monkeys breakfast”

  3. LeeAnn says:

    For a short while I thought you were going to say that you were going to just use that Irish Spring bar of soap as your new product of choice! Great post.

  4. AngelNicki says:

    My brother has complained about the same thing… When he comes to visit me and takes a shower, he complains that his hair smells too good and has body! He usually uses organic shampoos from Whole Foods… they clean your hair and that’s it!

  5. cheesy says:

    Ha~! are you in luck… Suave just came out with “MEN” shampoo..just smells clean.

  6. mary says:

    I have always loved Ivory hair shampoo and haven’t been able to find it for years, any possibility of it coming back, it was the best?

    Same with “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” can’t find them anywhere!

  7. William says:

    Ivory has released a new “Hair & Body Wash.” It’s not exactly the same as the separate Ivory Shampoo and Conditioner that they used to sell (and I loved as well), but I’m now using the new stuff on my hair and it’s pretty dang good. Check it out:

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