Simple Hair Necessities

Let us begin with a simple proof. If an item is dead, it cannot (or at the very least should not) be characterized as either healthy or vibrant. Hair is dead. Ergo, hair cannot (or at the very least should not) be described as either healthy or vibrant. Indeed, if at any point in your life the substance growing out of the top of your head takes on properties that necessitate describing it as either healthy or vibrant, I would suggest you have a problem and recommend that you consider killing it – probably with fire and preferably before it gets too belligerent.

This is what healthy, vibrant hair looks like.  As you can see, Itt is not something to aspire to unless one is creepy and/or kooky.

This is what healthy, vibrant hair looks like. As you can see, Itt is not something to aspire to unless one is creepy and/or kooky.

Likewise, if you’re thinking you can skirt these guidelines by purchasing some sort of organic toupee , I would like to point out the following: If your toupee is alive, it means you’ve probably purchased a Chia pet by mistake or, alternately, have become a habitat for some furry, scalp-dwelling, woodland mammal. In event of the former, I recommend Weed-B-Gone. In case of the latter, a high-powered rifle and your friend’s best William Tell impression.



But to return at length to our original argument, there is nothing that Pantene Pro V can do which a good coat of shellac could not duplicate. The ubiquitous shampoo and conditioner ads wherein they promise a Lazarus-style regeneration and/or Schwarzenegger-esque body for your skeletal insulation overlook the fact that the stuff streaming out of our skulls was never alive to begin with. To summarize, zero times any fruit-scented number is still zero. And short of using a bottle of Herbal Essences to make a pact with the dark gods, one should expect their hair to be approximately as dead and flat when they get out of the shower as it was going in.

Speaking of the shower, I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss shampoo commercials and their flagrant disrespect for the space time continuum. Nearly all shampoos are marketed the same. Two seconds into the ad, show the product. Six seconds into the ad, show naked woman applying the product. Remaining twenty seconds of the ad, switch to slow motion while the aforementioned naked woman tosses her hair about like Shrek’s Prince Charming.

Hair with body like a sumo wrestler.

Hair with body like a sumo wrestler.

Ladies, if time is slowing down while you’re in the shower, it doesn’t mean you’ve picked a good conditioner – it means you’re approaching the speed of light. As a kindness to the rest of us, please don’t abuse general relativity while in the shower – you use up all the hot water.

Now, if any are struggling with the concept that their hair is essentially beyond help, there is always the option to get rid of it. (And for those who are unwillingly going down that road, might I gently encourage you to take the plunge as opposed to embarking on a desperate attempt to save it? I trust I need not remind you that there has not yet been a comb-over created that doesn’t make the combee look utterly ridiculous.) Besides, many a celebrity is approaching sphere-bald with great effect. Men, look to Bruce Willis, Denzel Washington, or Jack Nicholson. Yes, I understand no one wants to look like Jack Nicholson, but… Alright, you know what, forget about it.  Just forget I said Jack Nicholson, okay? Bad example.



Women, I know I have a harder sell here, but every eighteen to twenty-four-year-old male will tell you Sigourney Weaver looked mighty fine in the first Alien movie. I’m just sayin’.

Ultimately, we should all have a more utilitarian approach to our hair. Is your head too cold? Then I recommend you produce a little more. Is your head too hot? Maybe go for a little less. Is your name Jack Nicholson? Maybe you should see if you can look like someone else. Granted, I doubt Jack could pull off Bruce Willis. Maybe he should try for Sigourney Weaver. It’d be a good move for him.


A Little Off the Top

English majors, more often than not, are catalysts.  While, of course, a few of us may produce raw and original content for one purpose or another, a great many more of us do not.  Rather, we find ourselves positions that involve taking someone else’s “created raw print” (CRaP) and lovingly sculpting those steaming piles into something that makes the purported writer appear as though he or she had a point, a purpose, and at least a vague notion as to proper comma placement.  To come to a point, most of us are communication enhancers but not necessarily communicators ourselves.  In my heyday, I could edit the senior thesis of an education major (CRaP in its purest form) until it was something that would make a grammarian weep with the sheer joy of it.  (I’ll not speculate as to the contents.  That would merit a very different type of weeping.)  But by comparison, and to this very day, I still struggle with how to interact with my hair stylist on a one-on-one basis.  Let me illustrate:

“Can I help you?”

“Yes, my hair is too long.  I would like my hair to be less long.”

Now, in my mind, this is where the conversation should end.  An offer of help has been extended, I have accepted, and I have outlined my needs.  That the coin of the realm will be exchanged in return for attention to my needs really goes without saying.  Thus, when yon scissor wielding maniac continues to jabber queries at my person, it is with great difficulty that I remind myself they are not, in fact, rhetorical.

“How much would you like me to take off?”


“Half an inch?”

“No, half of what’s already up there.  I didn’t measure it before I came in.”

We generally continue in this manner for several minutes, as my stylist wants me to commit to a number, whereas I really don’t feel qualified to render such a judgment.  Undoubtedly at some point during the debate, I grow frustrated and try to reiterate my wants using metaphor.

“There is a tribble on my head.”


“Make it go away.”

Mr. Spock? Set clippers to shave.

This, of course, falls flat, as the stylist in question, regardless of gender, is far too good looking to have had nothing to do last Friday night except catch up on reruns of the original Star Trek…like I did (likely because my hair is so shaggy that my wife refuses to be seen in public with me).  However, if nothing else, my outburst tends to provide fairly convincing evidence that I am both insane and unpredictable.  Thus, in the interest of getting me out of his or her life before I do something drastic, they will often put forward a hair reduction number, in a unit of their choice, that sounds as though it will provide a satisfactory loss in follicle mass.  I accept.  Unfortunately, this tentative and hard fought concession only causes the questions to grow more esoteric.

“Is there a particular style you’d prefer?”

“Is ‘shorter’ a style?”

“…Not really.”

“Then, no.”

They also tend to start asking me about things I don’t entirely understand or want to understand.

“What do you normally do with the bangs?”

“I have bangs?”

“…Yes…yes, you do.”

“Are bangs a unit of hair?”

“For the purpose of this exercise, yes.”

“Can you reduce this unit of hair by a measure commensurate with the other units of hair you have already shortened?”


“Why are we having this conversation?”

“Frankly, I don’t know any more.”

Also, no matter how many times I volunteer that I’m looking to come out of there with less hair than I came in with, they continue to make odd inquiries about what they should do with those scissors of theirs.  Generally, it reaches a point that I am afraid to answer with an affirmative, lest my hair end up in curlers and I leave with a perm.

“Do they usually layer the sides?”

“Should they?”

“It depends.  Who did it last time?”

“I couldn’t even hazard a guess.  Can you just, you know, make the sides…”



At least I have come to understand that when they start offering me a coat of polyurethane, though they usually term it “gel,” we’ve probably reached the end of the cutting potion of the program.

On that note, generally speaking, the stylist usually gets a generous tip for not slitting my throat and having done with me.  Sadly, if there’s any wrath to be expelled, it likely comes from me and is directed at the hapless Taco Bell employee I encounter during my celebratory post-haircut meal.

“Can I help you?”

“In just a minute – I’m just figuring out what I want.”

“Do you have any questions?”

“We’re in a Taco Bell.  No, I don’t have any questions.  Or, wait a minute, I do.  Who in the world thought you needed an apostrophe in ‘nachos’?  Do you have but one nacho?  Is it claiming ownership of something?”


In his defense, I suppose he wasn’t getting paid enough to deal with my CRaP either.