Monday, July 12, 2010

My Hair

Recent articles about Iran's official Islamic haircuts got me thinking about my own hair over the years. Leaving aside for the moment the ridiculousness of the Iranian state's need to control the most minute aspects of its peoples' lives simply because it can, I've actually only had about three or four hairstyles that I can recall in my forty-odd year lifespan.

As a kid, I had a pretty simple cut - it was a classic style that would have fit in just fine in the 1950s. It's also the style I went back to around the time I got married and have had ever since.

But every once in a while, I apparently feel the need to jazz things up. Beginning in the mid 1980s, this meant letting my hair grow long in the back, and then having it cut short in the front, parted in the middle and feathered back on the sides. Now, some people will tell you that this style was, at that time, called a mullet. This is patently false and I've got nothing less than the Oxford English Dictionary backing me up. According to the OED, that awful name was "Apparently coined, and certainly popularized, by U.S. hip-hop group the Beastie Boys" in a song that didn't come out until 1994. By which time everybody who wasn't a redneck had already long-since ditched that 80s hairstyle and moved on to something else. When I was wearing my hair like that, a mullet was simply a fish.

Anywho, I had it down to the middle of my back at one point, but that got old after a few years so I went in the other direction - leaving it parted in the middle but going with a brush-cut in the back. When I started to climb the corporate ladder, I bought myself a real watch (a shiny analog one instead of a cheap Timex) and went back to the more conservative side-part. I did this completely forgetting that it was essentially the same haircut I'd worn in gradeschool.

Lately, I'd begun to feel that it made me look like a junior Rod Blagojavich, the way it hung in front of my forehead when it got long. Since I can only handle the time and expense of a haircut about once every three months, it's often quite long, so this started to seem like a problem. I needed something new.

It's also worth noting that in the last year, my short, reasonably fashionable goatee (technically it's a Van Dyke, but nobody actually calls it that so whatever) has been allowed to grow until it's now a squid-like creature attached to my chin. I don't necessarily prefer it this way, but when I tried to cut it after the 2009 Renn Faire season, my family didn't recognize me and I found that I missed having it to stroke, so I'm kind of stuck. I call it my "writer's beard" because writers are creative artsy-fartsy types and should look odd to normal people.

So I suppose I wanted a new hairstyle to go with my rambunctious facial hair and general ennui. I talked to my barbers, but I was hesitant to switch to any style that required "hair product" such as gels, hairspray, mousse, etc. I'm too lazy for that kind of thing. Well, the head barber talked me into trying it anyway, so that's currently my style - very short in back, and cut on top so I can spike it with gel if I remember (which I usually don't) or so it can lay flat and just look normal the rest of the time.

And that's pretty much it - forty years (nearly) and just those few haircuts. It's arguably kind of a lot for a guy, especially a guy who doesn't really give a crap about how his hair looks for the most part, but there you go just the same. I'm hoping that by the time I hit 50, I'll need a special haircut so I look presentable in the era of robots, jetpacks and flying cars.

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