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Hate The Hair, Love the Balls

January 25th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

I posted something last night about the worst haircut I’ve ever seen, complete with a cute little drawing to illustrate it. At about 6 pm, both BoingBoing and Gawker linked to it, increasing my traffic tenfold.

“Oh look,” I thought. “Everyone thinks I’m witty, brilliant and wonderful. It must be true if the Internet says so!”

Then I left work and got on the subway — and saw the owner of said haircut. I felt really, really bad. On the one hand, this guy was obviously seeking attention with his ‘do, and now he’s gotten it. But then again, taking cheap shots at strangers kind of sucks, I think, even if it does pay off in the dizzying sweet nectar of Internet attention.

When I got home, I saw this comment, which really made me think:

Style is a product of Risk Taking… & those of you who laugh @ people who take risks are simply too scared to be true inventors…

I disagree only slightly. It’s not just style that comes from taking risks … it’s everything worth doing, everything wild and weird and beautiful and cool. True beauty is not always pretty. Just ask John Waters, Thurston Moore, Francis Bacon and the team that made ‘Liquid Sky.’

Sure, those artists have a thick patina of cool that’s developed over time, but it was a hard slog there for a while. It’s like that for everyone that’s trying to do something cool, strange and truly new.

I still stand by the fact that the aforementioned haircut is god-awful. No amount of guilt and Internet commenting is going to change that. But I had an art professor once, a very wise man named Stuart Downs who said about my response to a piece of art:

If you hate something powerfully, intensely and immediately, you should examine that feeling. Get close with it, get comfortable. Because once you peel back those layers, you’re probably going to find something very beautiful underneath.

Stuart was right. Anyone who’s got a haircut like that doesn’t just have balls — they’ve got two flesh-based planetoids orbiting their thighs. They’re restless, inventive, and have the nerve to Frankenstein together a few things to make something new. I may not like the look, but I appreciate the hell out of that spirit, and my world’s a richer place because of guys like that.

I’m just trying to entertain some people with this blog, get a couple laffs and stay on the relentless treadmill that is regular, fresh, original content. I’ll pretty much grab ahold of anything and write about it and it’s never meant as a personal attack.

Ultimately me and that guy, we’re cut from the same lumpy cloth. We’re both putting ourselves out there, trying to draw a little attention to ourselves and make the world a wilder, weirder place. Sure, I’m pointing the finger but it could come back at me just as easily. I am no male model, not by a damn sight. And nobody appointed me the Royal God-King of All That Is Fashionable and Acceptable. All any of us can do is try to get ahead and entertain ourselves the best we can and bruise as few feelings as we can in the process.

But the chick at the Dante’s Fried Chicken party last Sunday, with the black siding shaven into the side of her otherwise white-blond, Vader-shaped hairdo, though … that was fucked up.

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