If there's one thing I've learned about whale semen, it's that if you Tweet about it, you get ... crickets.
"HAHA, ASSIGNED TO CONDITION MY HAIR WITH WHALE SEMEN!" I wrote to my unwitting public
(of, like, 140 followers).
Nothing. No one wants to hear about that. But they should! Because whale sperm is actually a truly excellent hair conditioner, and I learned this the very, very hard way (my, there are so many semen jokes) when I purchased a tub of whale sperm this week, for the low, low price of $6.99, then slathered it all over my own head -- and a good-natured neighbor's.
Like most enterprises that get semen in your hair, this was a challenge from start to finish. First of all, conditioning your hair with whale sperm requires not only that
you be the type of personality who'd be into that sort of thing -- it is, believe me, a life challenge in and of itself -- but also that you actually plunk down that Shamu-decaled tub that screams "WHALE SPERM TREATMENT (ESPERMA DE BALLENA)" on the counter at your local colorful hole-in-the-wall non-English-speaking beauty supply store for a whole line of customers to see.
Everyone will think you're gross and give you the side-eye, even the lady selling the sperm to you, and it isn't fun. Then you have to sit on your sofa at home and read and re-read the ingredients (deionized water, vitamin F, whale sperm, blue #1 cert.) and wonder about the state of your life while watching a Roman Polanski movie on cable and, on occasion, creepily unscrew the lid from the tub to sniff what's inside. (It will smell suspiciously clean and good, like very cheap hotel soap.)
Then I had to make it a million times harder on myself. Because my editor wanted before/after pics and, perhaps, "money" shots, I needed a photographer. Instead of calling someone who understood my mission, I called a vegan who lived in my building. But I'd forgotten she was a vegan! She was just my close friend (we don't eat together, I guess) and favorite neighbor (and had a nicer apartment for pictures and a nicer camera and nicer towels to get spunk on). She's also an incredibly nice person -- so nice, in fact, that she agreed to assist me in my research by deep-conditioning her own hair.
"Being, um, vegan, I'd never buy
it, but I'm happy to help," she said, with what I suppose I took for conviction. (BIG mistake. Immediately after we combed big gobs of the stuff through our towel-dried hair I could clearly see her start to regret it.)
So, the vegan inside my neighbor kicked in, and the interrogation began: Was this an animal-friendly
product, really? Where did it come from? Literally, where did these whales live? Who or what made this whale ejaculate -- was it natural causes, manual, mechanical? ORAL? How did they collect the semen once it was out of the whale? Who collected it? How can a tub of whale semen be "made" in the Dominican Republic? Was whale semen even legal? How can something so presumably crazy-difficult to acquire be sold to creeps like me for $6.99 -- were there some little kids in a spermy Central American sweatshop I was supporting? And forget kids, did I even understand how endangered some species of whales were?
And then: What if by using this sperm to VAINLY SOFTEN MY HAIR I was actually PREVENTING CRUCIAL REPRODUCTION? Did I think of that? Did I think of anything
? I mean, was I really just going to write about such a questionable product without researching it? Did I seriously consider myself a journalist? ("Actually, just ... a blogger," I whispered.) And even if whale sperm did
make my hair beautiful, wasn't I just going to style it all messy until it looked like I'd just crawled out of a Bon Jovi orgy
like I ALWAYS did anyway?!
I just didn't know. All I wanted was to deep-condition my hair with a little jizz in someone else's bathroom and sit in an apartment that was cleaner than mine to watch "Lockup: RAW
"! Suddenly I felt very, very guilty about all of the B.P. spokespeople I'd taunted from my sofa watching "Anderson Cooper 360
." Too many questions about ethics and the environment, too fast! AUGH! Dudes didn't have a chance.
Except I was even more les miserables
because I had WHALE SEMEN on my neck. I also felt a tiny, chic empathy pang for poor little Anna Wintour, whom I pictured somewhere "Gatsby"-esque, shivering in the dewy night in her tennis sleeves. So, this is how you feel when PETA screams at you during Fashion Week,
I thought. I
knew we were just alike. Your J. Mendel chinchilla is my cold head of sperm!
Finally, my friend had had it. "I can't take it anymore," she said, and huffed to her shower to wash it out. I went two floors down to my own bathroom to rinse the goop out of my hair, and let me tell you -- it is not something that washes away as easily as one would hope of, well, ejaculate (n.
). At least it felt that way. Maybe I'm more tolerant of other, non-bodily-fluid-based conditioners. The point is, it felt like it took years to rinse out thoroughly (I globbed a lot in there), and when it finally did I was not impressed. My wet hair did not look extra-silky or anything! WHALE FAIL
, I thought, mainly because A) I need immediate results from everything, and B) I overuse "FAIL."
But then ... then my hair dried. I gave it my usual 4-minute rough blow-out (Any more than that and I die. I have so much hair and it's so boring and being a blow-dryer slave makes me resent my own womanhood. It's just so wrong
.), where I only do the roots with a round brush and leave the rest to nature: And it air-dried straight
(it's naturally wavy, as in the "before" picture) and, I dare say, a little glossy -- indeed, healthy-looking even!
I willingly fry my hair with bleach (note the roots) all the time, so healthy-looking is not the norm for me. Wow. The "after" picture doesn't lie. If you don't believe me, rest assured that under no circumstances would I ever have done more than required to complete this vile assignment. Sorry, whale fans (or, actually, you're welcome for this big endorsement): Whale sperm WORKS!
Now thank God that's all over. (Ugh, sorry.)
Cat Marnell was a beauty editor before she was a blogger. Needless to say, she's had a lot of gunk in her hair over the years ... but never this. No, never this.