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Friday, October 5, 2007

Hacked Hair & The Human Condition

Pants and food are very important. I believe we've established that. However, they are important in different ways. Yes, they both can give you pleasure. But food is something very external, not something that is a part of you in the same way pants are. If you eat something horrible, I would argue you don't need to feel ashamed of it. On the other hand, if you're wearing horrible pants, then yes, you do need to feel ashamed.

Walking around in a silly pair of pants is awful. Along the same vein, walking around with a silly haircut is awful. In fact, this may be a bold statement, particularly coming from me, but a bad hair cut might be worse than a bad pair of pants. Especially for someone like myself who is kind of funny looking, a bad hair cut is just devastating. I'll be talking more about bad haircuts in future posts, but for now I wanted to share something I wrote back in college. This is straight from my old Penn State website, which sadly does not exist anymore (Penn State removes your web space after you graduate).

Here it is, written about 4 years ago.....

The possibility that life is meaningless. Entering the work force. Death.

All of these things are scary, but if you ask me, none compare to the dread of getting a bad haircut. It's happened to just about everyone at one point or another. While I feel sadness for women, my own experience has been as a man. Therefore, when it comes to me or another guy getting a haircut, I feel much more worried...much more strangely.

I would like to show examples of normal hair as opposed to hair that has recently been hacked.


This hair is nice and full. The hairline is very natural. You don't need to have long hair to look good; however, the area where hair naturally grows needs to be full and even with the rest of the hair.


This is bad and sorrowful. This young man was butchered. As you can see, the integrity of the hairline has been totally compromised. The barber/stylist (so-called) has totally trimmed away an area where hair grows. This makes the hair look unnatural and ridiculous. Only time will fix this problem.

To avoid the above catastrophe, you must be specific. If you have been going to someone for years and trust the person, then that's fine. Indeed, finding a barber/stylist you trust is extremely important and can prevent a lot of anxiety. If you don't normally go to the same person, though, or your normal hair cutter has died, the most important preventive measure is specificity. Tell the barber/stylist what you want; tell the barber/stylist what you don't want. Be clear that you want a natural hairline and you don't want the back and sides "shaped" or trimmed behind the hairline. This will help to prevent many needless horrors. Lord knows how many times I've been walking behind a young man whose hairline has been destroyed. No blending or even layering, just a line that is way above where hair actually grows.

Getting a haircut should be a treat. Try to find a dependable stylist. But if death comes to your professional -- as it will to us all -- then take great pains to communicate your needs. Goodluck!

I hope you enjoyed that. I can't believe I wrote that in college. Seems like a long time ago. Yet the same anxieties still terrorize me. The problems of the human condition are timeless, I suppose.