The importance of first impressions and personal grooming

The top of my head, my scalp, felt dry like I imagined snake skin would feel, and I took to it with the perverse interest of dried glue. I was in the tub trying to relax. I had a high-grade cooking oil the doctor suggested for the webbing behind my knees that got eczema, best to put on when the skin is wet and do in the shower, he said. But I poured too much out and used some on my scalp, thought what the heck. It’s almond oil, not cheap. I smelled like an asian dish when I got out, and it made me hungry.

For about two days my hair stood up straight and I refused to wear a hat, even when I walked my kids in public, to the bus stop or park & ride. I wanted to be like that boogie woogie singer Cadillac Kolstad we met in Germany. He always carried a comb and made a big deal out of brushing his hair. Maybe there was a part of being a guy I was missing out on, by taking active interest in my hair. This could be the start, with products: pomade, hair grease, tonics, oil.

I didn’t have to go into the office and that was good. They were going to renovate the building (tear it down), and I was coming up on the mandatory six months you have to go off-network if you’re a contractor with Microsoft. About once a year I update my resume and scatter it around (seed metaphor), and this week got some takers for informational interviews.

But I’m at the far end of my eight-week hair cut cycle, with silvery tufts starting to bloom around my ears. I did what I could on my own, had Lily shave my neck. She kept going down my back and shoulders and I thought I looked pretty good, for once.

I got to my appointment 45 minutes early and ate a hard-boiled egg in the car. Those corporate office parking lots are pretty bleak, not much to look at. I got out and walked, tried to look natural, but most people I saw were shuttling back and forth in vanpools or branded buses. The rain was a winter rain though the landscape was trending spring.

I’ll take walks like that before interviews if I’ve got gas or strange stomach sounds because neither are good in small rooms with strangers. I like to blow everything out and come in fresh, ready to be filled up.

The first thing about job interviews is you’re trying to figure out if you like one another, that’s it. You get the time because you appear to meet the qualifications, but the arguably harder, more important part, is the match made between you and the workgroup. I feel like I could do just about any kind of work, provided I like the people. And in this case I really did.

I went back to the other office, left after lunch so I could let the dog out, set my alarm and turned my phone to do-not-disturb, dozed, walked the dog, got Charlotte from the nurse’s office at school (headache, sickish), did the same with Lily at Starbucks, worked all the while in between.

At the end of the day I came down to the den and turned the lights off, watched the pendulum swing on the wall clock, reflected in the house lights across the street. If there was a moon outside it was smothered in clouds.

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
This entry was posted in humor, musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The importance of first impressions and personal grooming

  1. Cadillac’s obsession reminds me of that awful clip of Paul Wolfowitz licking his comb and then using it. Then some handlers start smoothing his hair down for him. Icky.

    Watch at your own risk:

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Usually I think of your blog as a literary endeavor, and not a hirsute helpful hints column, but seriously, add a couple drops of tea tree oil to the almond = good stuff. My head gets itchy occasionally, luckily, only when I’m thinking.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ksbeth says:

    you cleaned up well! great team effort and i see a job interview as a kind of first date, fraught with all the same awkwardness and emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. walt walker says:

    Eight weeks? That’s a nice long cycle there. Mine is five. Those pics of you are good, you look like you should be in Wilco. This was a nice smooth read. Flowed well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Thank you! Wilco ref is funny. Sounds like you keep yours “high and tight.” I’ve had a Clapton thing like from his late 80s look, trying to hide my massive forehead. Could land a plane on it, drunk.


  5. kingmidget says:

    I shave my head every few weeks and think that people should treat job interviews not as “interviews,” whatever that means, but as conversations. Getting to know you discussions. I just had to go through the process of hiring a new attorney for my office. As I told the finalists when I invited them in for a second interview, it was about what they thought of me as much as what I thought of them. It’s a two-way street. Unfortunately, most people when they go through the interview process forget that.

    Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      I agree on the conversation and two-way street, totally. And people forget they’re in the driver’s seat and succumb to that desire to be chosen we all have from grade school. Kind of hard to shake that. Good advice here Mark. Thanks for it and for the well wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. rossmurray1 says:

    This week I got a statement in the mail summarizing my government pension options, how much I’d get if I retired now, at 60 at 65. It included a table of all my years of income since I began working summer jobs at 16. It’s a bleak tally, in its way. For the most part, it increased year by year, until the last several when my revenue surpassed my pensionable earnings. That’s where I just started to plateau. I’ll say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      I’ve seen a table like that but mine feels like some petty accomplishment, and uncanny because I happened into things and feel a bit bumbly despite seeming “success.” Send in the clowns.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Tell Kevin to stop torturing people with grooming videos…This is the second blog post I’ve read tonight on grooming and oddly, I had just logged off from looking at hair color, after letting it go gray for several years now. Tired of feeling matronly, but the whole putting chemicals on your head and sitting under a dryer with your eyes watering and your scalp burning thing is more than this old broad can bear. Count your lucky stars. You can shave your head and still be within societal norms. And Bill, someone once told me a high forehead is a sign of… something– beauty, intelligence, alien DNA, I forgot, but it was a good thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Ha! The eyes watering and all that doesn’t sound worth it but glad I don’t have to think about that the same, it’s not fair. Maybe one in a list of about a hundred that aren’t. Thanks for the kind note about the forehead though. Yes, mine is pretty high. Maybe I should tattoo it, with Washington State.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hard boiled eggs, eh? Don’t they promote gas (I think that’s the correct US usage, but please advise).
    Shrouded moons, coy about the future. Enjoyed this Bill.

    Here today it was hot, summer hot, but mornings are coo-ing Autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      I know! I was thinking with us coming on spring it’s doing that for you by way of fall, so peculiar. Gas is the right term, it’s the kind (unlike petrol) you DO want to run out of.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dave Ply says:

    I wonder what would happen if you went to an interview with your hair smelling like an Asian dish? Would it give the room a comfort food vibe, or would it, like a moon, be smothered in clouds?

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      I love how you knead my posts into funny little pretzels Dave it’s awesome! Thank you! I’m back for meeting #2 and using some tea-tree oil at another blog-friend’s suggestion. Seems to hold pretty well in the wind and rain! Barely shifts!

      Liked by 1 person

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