You can leave your toque on

By Gary Holdgrafer. Along with Mary Holdgrafer and Wendy Huntington, Gary leads Creative Aging: Embracing the Second Half of Life.

Being a person of a certain age, I notice that I am losing the mirror as my good friend. I glanced at myself one very cold winter morning after waking up. My hair was spiky and multidirectional, faintly resembling what I see on the streets that costs money at a hair salon.

I was able to achieve something similar simply by sleeping on it and oh, rolling over a couple of times. I was not, however, about to be seen on the street with this “going to seed” au naturel coiffure despite the fact that with age I care less about what other people think.

I had errands to run so I simply pulled on my toque. A toque can cover an array of hair fashion don’ts including bed head while, unfortunately, making the wearer look like a dork. Freezing while fashionable is for demographics who desperately care how they are seen. By a certain age, warmth trumps fashion.

My first stop would be shopping in the grocery store. What would I do about my toque when inside? Would I leave it on or take it off? It was a case of two choices, neither a good one. Expose my bed head or look like a dork.

I opted to look like a dork, trusting that I would not be recognizable with my toque pulled down over my ears while grocery shopping. I quickly noted, to my relief that other shoppers were also in full Alberta winter head gear as if it were totally normal.

It made sense. If you take your toque off, where would you put it? There is no room in your pockets because they are already stuffed with thick mittens.

If you kept your mittens on instead, it would be hard to grasp items from the shelves. Notwithstanding that they would be handy in the frozen food section. You need bare hands more than a bare head when shopping for groceries.

I entertained myself by imagining Joe Cocker’s raspy singing as I went down the aisle.

“…take off your mittens, real slow.…you can leave your toque on”.

It is stripping the Canadian way, particularly if you include lined boots, fibre-filled coat and assorted layers in the otherwise provocative lyrics of the original song. Luckily, neither I nor the other customers were going to be in the store that long.

There is good reason to leave your toque on, whether shopping for groceries or stripping in the frigid Canadian north. No matter how much loving hair care you provide prior to leaving the house, once you put a toque on, it is all over.

The toque’s tight fit will flatten any fashionable coiffure like road kill. Then you are back to a hair fashion don’t, unless “road kill coiffure” becomes chic. Otherwise, there seems little point in bothering with your hair in the first place if you want to stay warm, which is the au naturel way to be. Just don’t look in the mirror.


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