Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's all about the hair

I really like President Uchtdorf. But I did not like him at first. I wasn’t sure why—it was something to do with his appearance. Maybe he looked too “big business-ish,” too suave, too “upper management” for my taste. (And no, I’m not saying that if he HAD had a big business background he couldn’t be a wonderful GA. I’m not saying that at all. Just that it’s harder for me to sense humility through that kind of background.) Anyway, after I heard about his upbringing and heard his talks, I realized that I had sadly, sadly misjudged him, and I started to look for what it was that led to my wrong impressions of him. After all, he didn’t dress any differently from any of the other General Authorities, and I hadn’t been turned off of them by their business suits. What was it?

Finally I realized what it was: it was the back-comb.

I’ve never liked a back-comb. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been suspicious of them. Which explains some of my early dislike of Mitt Romney, back in the Olympics days. Granted, he IS a big businessman. But I’d like him a lot more with a different haircut!

It took a lot of personal psychoanalysis and deep foraging in my past to find out where I picked up my aversion for back-combs. But I found it. And here it is: Blowdry Brad. Blowdry Brad was my first experience with having my peers hold leadership callings. Brad was a fellow freshman living in Deseret Towers, and he was the Gospel Doctrine teacher, partner of my roommate Jennifer. I don’t remember anything about the lessons they taught together (but I’m sure your parts were great, Jen) except that Brad was my first exposure to the very earnest, very emotionally-manipulative, very seemingly-phony-righteous kind of preaching that has always left a bad taste in my mouth (like saccharine).

(ALERT: I KNOW I am not being charitable here. Who was I to judge how honest and humble this guy was? He was 18, for crying out loud! He was probably a really nice, earnest, intelligent guy. I am just showing you what my own immature 18-year-old mind was doing.)

But the thing I couldn’t forgive him for was his hair. It looked like he spent more time on that blow-dried back-comb than I ever spent on mine. And somehow that hairdo became associated in my mind with people whose lives have been easy, wealthy, and full of absolute surety that they have all the answers.

But President Uchtdorf has taught me I was wrong in my judgment, and now I need to repent. So forgive me, Brad, Mitt, and President Uchtdorf. Though I don’t like your hair, I no longer believe it necessarily describes the kind of person you are. And, heaven forbid anyone ever judge me by my hair, which in NO WAY EVER looks the way I wish it would, let alone providing an accurate reflection of who I am (I really, really hope).

(I guess this means I should quit judging women, especially General Relief Society leadership, by their hair, too.)


Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury said...

Darlene, I really like you. Thanks for being so down to earth, and for all the times you've helped me calm down and see things with a better perspective.

Jennifer B. said...

No WAY! What a discovery.

I am impressed you were actually able to pinpoint that it was the hairstyle and trace it back to Blowdry Brad! Actually, I am astonished. I haven't thought of my old partner since my freshman year. Wonder what he would think to know he had influenced you so profoundly. . .

By the way, thanks for this--I need to be more charitable.

Anonymous said...

This is so funny.

My mission president had the backcomb -- stiffer and sleeker than President Uchtdorf's, even -- and word of its impression on some of us must have somehow gotten back to him, because one time (in a Zone Conference or something,) he went so far as to insist to us, "I DON'T spend lots of time doing my hair -- it just takes seconds to do."

I think most of the ladies in my Relief Society are more or less swooning over President Uchtdorf, and I hadn't thought to attribute it to his hairstyle. I do think he's a handsome man, but mostly I really have enjoyed his talks.

I've sometimes wondered if I were ever in a General presidency (Young Women, Relief Society, Primary) and had to speak in a General Conference, what the HECK I would wear. I hate to think I'd give in to the jacket-and-brooch pressure -- but I probably would. (And anyway, if I had one of those callings I guess What Not To Wear would be the LEAST of my worries.)


Is it morally wrong that my older daughters and I all decided that if there ever was GA/Presidency/Quorum beauty pageant, President Uchtdorf would win? We've discussed his hair more than once.

(We like saying his awesome surname over and over in our best Helga-like Fraulein accent)

Stefan said...

You make me laugh! But goodness, an eighteen year old with a comb back? YUCK!

I heart President Uchtdorf. bad hair and all.

Joey/Denny/Emma said...

Shortly after Pres. Uchtdorf became a general authority, I went to a Jazz game (one of two I've attended, I believe) and he was sitting across the way from us and I kept looking at him thinking, "I know this guy. He's on TV or something." He was so tan, so white-toothed, so camera-worthy, with a big head and celebrity hair. Then I realized, "Dang, he's an apostle. It's Uchtdorf of Uchtdorf and Bednar, the new ones." But he is indeed so very deep despite the handsome veneer.

Darlene said...

Thanks, Kathleen. I was thinking about you today because I am determined to roast my pumpkin seeds today. I need your recipe!

Yeah, Denny, it's something about the tan face and the teeth, too.

Melinda said...

I think Pres. Uchtdorf is a handsome guy. The only person I have a problem with --hairwise, is Trump. I really, really hate his hair. What is up with that? Doesn't anyone dare to tell him how BAD he looks?

Also, after Elder Uchtdorf's talk at the Gen Relief Society Conf., I will love him FOREVER. He gave me the green light to create. Best. Talk. Ever.

(I also check out all the women's hair and clothing during conference.Way too much. To the point of distraction.)

(I am not doing seeds this year because I didn't want to separate the seeds out...)