My winter reality: hat hair hell

Hat hair is not just untidiness; it can leave one feeling gross and abused.

Every morning I wake up in the shower. A weak spray of water shocks my brain into believing it will be used later, while my hands busily lather my hair with a few squirts of anti-dandruff shampoo. (I’ve never really had dandruff, but as long as they make a shampoo that prevents it, I’m not taking any risks.) Then I’ll rinse and apply conditioner, a product that promises to “make my hair brilliant.” Heck, if my brain won’t get smarter, my hair might as well try.

After I turn off the shower, I continue my intensive scalp regimen. My hair might be only a few inches long, but it’s thick, mind you, and I aim to keep it as soft and luxurious as the panda-skin rug on my floor. So I usually use a blow dryer, high-grade pomade and a nice brush.

Given, it’s a dog brush, but a brush nonetheless.

Anyway, these accessories make it possible for my hair to look and feel wonderful; the ensuing confidence boost allows me to look at life a different way, namely, through my nose.

But winter weather changes all this, and my stable little hair-management bubble bursts. I still go through the same elaborate process every morning, but as soon as I see it’s snowing and the wind chill is below 0, I am forced to pull on my confining winter hat.

I don’t mind walking around outside with the thing on – in fact; people who don’t wear one in this weather look absolutely ridiculous. The thing that bugs me about winter caps is that once I’m at my destination, it’s a lose-lose situation. Either I leave my hat on inside, which makes my head smarmy and uncomfortably hot, or I take it off, revealing a hideous, Medusa-like mess of mane that no one needs to witness.

Hat hair is unavoidable, no matter what I try. If I just slip my hat on and off, my hair will instantly resemble Donald Trump’s ugly pelt. I’ve tried using those wrap-around ear muffs, but they always fall off, and besides, they make me look like an elf.

I’ve even taken my hair products with me, so that once I get to my destination, I can take off my cap and style away. Yet, I’ve found that once I get hat hair, I can’t really eliminate the evidence without taking a long soapy shower.

Simply put, it is hard to prepare for the knotty mess hat hair produces. It’s always random – I might have devil’s horns one time, and the next I’ll get a huge peacock tail on the back of my head. However, hat-hair is not just untidiness; it can leave one feeling gross and abused. I’ve had hat hair that hurts because it is so compacted, and I’ve had hat hair that smells like wet poodles. It is a terrible condition, and as long as it’s winter, there is no way for me to go without it.

I wouldn’t be opposed to creating a hat-hair support group. We would meet weekly and discuss the newest prevention methods, and occasionally hold one another and cry. And if worse comes to worse, my fellow sufferers and I would shave our heads, even though that would make me look like one of the blockheads on “The Gumby Show.”

But like usual, about the only thing I can seem to do at this time is complain, and as long as there’s that, things can’t get too bad.

Mat Koehler welcomes comments at [email protected]