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Hair, Not Commentary

January 23rd, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Last weekend I saw a haircut ugly and evil enough to impregnate a nun just so it could kick her down a set of steep stairs. I’ve seen some stupid haircuts in my day, rocked more than a few regrettable ‘dos my damn self. My own hair in high school was shaven on the sides and back and semi-sorta-not-really-at-all long on the top in a ‘do that would have looked like a brain handle had I been able to pull it into a ponytail. I used to wonder why girls didn’t take me seriously.

I used to pour concrete with a man whose braided mullet hung low enough to tickle the tanned top third of his ever-exposed ass. I’ve seen cuts on the subway here in New York that I found personally offensive, hairdos whose cheeky chunkiness screamed of disposable income, willful ignorance and a powerfully asexual aesthetic retardation.

I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where ironic commentary on the fashion choices of the American working class has collapsed in on itself warping into a white dwarf shaped like a Mobius strip: a one-sided form that slows down light and the passage of time so aggressively that silver tights underneath ’70s running shorts seem like a good idea.

But I have never seen any shit like this.

I was trying to eat, for god’s sake, at Marlow & Sons on Saturday night when I looked up at the bar and saw something I honestly never thought was possible.

The guy’s head was bald, shiny bald all the way back just past the apex of his dome right to where the third hair on Homer Simpson’s head would lie. There then sprung, abruptly, a dense forest of ramrod-straight hair about four inches long, spiky on the top.

Then the whole enterprise gave way to a classic Kentucky Waterfall, a pool of long brown hair flapping impudently down the back of the head and slapping the shoulders like so many dust-clotted ostrich feathers. A pair of admittedly robust sideburns jutted out from the bowels of the ‘do, embracing the man’s face like Hugh Jackman’s ‘burns in the X-Men franchise. Or like a pair of giant hairy ant mandibles. Either metaphor works.

That’s Homer in the front, Bart in the middle, the Caucasian building trade’s finest about the neck and shoulders with Wolverine for a frame.

Here’s an artist’s rendition:


You never really know what’s going on with somebody, though, and I shouldn’t be so quick to judge. If it was possible to glance at a man and know his whole life story all wars would end and movies would be really, really boring.

The Tao teaches that within all good there is evil, and so on. This guy could have had that haircut for any number of really, really good reasons that, if I knew them, would make me a real dick for writing this.

He could be wearing the ‘cut to raise money for a charity. He could be winning a bet with it, a bet with fantastically high stakes that would allow him to pay for his sick mother’s operation. Or he could have a developmentally disabled sibling who dreams of being a hairdresser and this is a small indulgence for the happiness of a loved one.

You never really know.

But there is a chance, a slight, slim chance, that this cut is another ironic commentary of sorts, a way of saying “hey, dig me doing something lame that only lame people would do, aren’t I just a CAUTION.” And that’s a dangerous game.

If you’re doing something ironically — doing something “as a joke” — you’re still doing it. And to everyone that sees you and doesn’t get it, you’re just another asshole.

I got to thinking about this post tonight, and there’s more … click here to see it.

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