Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Hairdresser's Guide to a Clear Head

"Over the years, I’ve had to cut (no pun intended), a few of my men clients loose. The fact was that I refused to do any more comb-overs, and “Gallagers” (silly forehead-less mullets). These were things that I simply did not want to do (anymore) and was cause for me to fire a client, or two, from my services if they requested such a style. Yes, I still cut men who are balding and losing their hair. I still take their fifty bucks for the fifteen minutes of my time and cut or buzz what is left of their hair into what looks best. But no more camouflaging.
All men fear losing their hair. When they’re younger they fear loosing it before it happens. And when they're older they frettingly count hairs at the bathroom mirror and then secretly cry themselves to sleep. What a waste of time, and yet, it’s understandable.
There are three main reasons that men fear this eventual and reverse evolution so much.
1. Men with hair tease men without hair. We men constantly poke at each other’s masculinity, virility and manhood by calling each other fag, pussy and old man etc. And we all get tired of that, but we cannot stop being teased and we cannot cease teasing others. To compensate for the taunts, we swagger a little more like John Wayne, hold our cigarettes with our thumbs and forefingers, and grunt to scare off aggressive types. And we pick on the guys who let on when our teasing gets to them. Baldies are just good easy targets.
2. Men don’t like change. Most of us would keep the same style we had in high school or hold onto the hairstyle that we had when we first started getting laid. “If it’s not broke, baby, why fix it?” It’s a man’s mantra.
3. Most men are not sure which women/men like men with hair or which women/men like men without hair. With hair—there is the safety net. Everyone can like someone with hair. But without? I think only about 30% of people really seek out shaved or bald men. (I know someone has done a scientific study. 30% sounds right.) And because of society, and different parts of the country, a bald or shaved head can stand for a skinhead or a Dr. Evil or a Lex Luthor kind of a guy. It could also mean old to someone not trained to look at the weatheredness of ones neck instead of the head palette.
The fact of the matter is that we cannot protect ourselves from hair loss. Once we lose our hair, we will be fair game for various comments for the rest of our lives. “What are you trying to do, look like Michael Jordan?” “What happened? Your hot rollers get too hot?” “Yeah, I want a bald man to cut my hair. Not.” Now, that gets tiring. To bring back our hair once it is gone we would have to join a hair club, which would open up something even worse than razzing. We'd get those look-away looks. The "pretend he doesn't have a rodent-skin on his head" look. Thankfully, hair replacement is repugnant to most men. Seriously, hair plugs and pieces hardly ever look normal.
Some people believe that only African-American men have the right to and can look good with a shaved head. To some people, me included, a shaved or bald head can mean that the person is so cool and so without vanity that he has shunned the trappings of self pride and media-driven, fashion-styling aids. A bald man goes out into the world every day saying, “here I am world. I’m a guy with lots of testosterone. I like who I am. I will not hide behind a moppy veil of head whiskers to fit in with all of you losers. This is me. Accept me. See my knots and sun-burned scalp, I have earned them. I am a true man. I'm just wearing a cap because of the air conditioning.
Now, will I get laid as much as when I had hair? That will probably always depend more on how much hair is on my back than on my head; and also depend on how much of a beer gut I've developed, and how much confidence I've lost or gained by loosing my hair or by being a man.”
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