August 23, 2014 11:33:20 PM
If you are like me, then you are old enough to remember a certain peculiar little freckle-faced boy named Alfalfa, with his self-avowed talent for song and his true love for Darla. He and his friends came into living rooms for years, perhaps still in syndication, and we remember them as the Little Rascals.
Well, Alfalfa stole many scenes holding a bouquet of flowers for his "woman" and getting into all manner of mischief with his sidekick, Spanky, but who can forget his cowlick that pointed straight up to the sky? Cowlicks come up a lot in the salon, pun intended.
The first time I heard of a cowlick was when I waited rather impatiently on Sunday mornings for my turn as Daddy wet his little black pocket comb and went to war with four boys and their contrary hair. I must confess, Daddy often gave up after a few minutes of combing to the left, to the right, then rewetting our hair by dipping his comb in one of Mama's old Mason jars filled with water from the kitchen sink.
Mama, however, was better suited to the task or perhaps just more determined. "All it needs is a squirt of hairspray, less pulling, and some patience," she would holler at my daddy while tying our shoelaces, wiping our faces, and all the while never burning the toast. Well, maybe the toast was sacrificed a couple of times.
The term cowlick originates from the habit of a cow licking its young which results in a swirling pattern in the hair. Perhaps that's why mothers are just better at taming the cowlick than fathers. I mean, did you ever see a bull bathing a calf?
When we move it into human terms, the most common spot a cowlick is noticed is in the crown, but they can show up anywhere--hairline, neckline, and even right smack dab in the front, making it next to impossible to control. Contrary to old wives tales and myths, it's not because you were dropped on your head as a baby or any of that nonsense. The reason is just genetics, the luck of the draw. Chances are if you have a cowlick, you don't have to search much further than your parents or grandparents to find sympathy.
In the past 23 years styling hair, I have seen my fair share of cowlicks in all ages from 3 to 98, all shades of hair -- red, brown, black, blonde and even grey -- and all ethnicities of clients. The fact that most of us have at least one cowlick doesn't make it more desirable. I have learned a few tricks to help, but my best advice is to go with the flow. Don't wear the hair too short in the problem area, and if you need a laugh, watch an old episode of "The Little Rascals." Alfalfa always made the best of any situation.
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.