I Cut My Marvelous Hair. And Lost My Identity.
I’m disgruntled, and it’s my own damn fault. Which is usually the case.
My shaggy locks are gone. Those lovely dark waves and curls, so admired by lady companions, by balding friends, and most of all by me. Gone. Now, when I look in the mirror, something I used to enjoy every morning, I have less reason to feel marvelous.
What’s worse is that I feel less certain of who I am. I used to be defined in part by that iconic hair. I’d had the same style hair since my teens, and it worked for me.
People remembered it, and liked it. It was part of my brand. “That business intelligence guy? Total clueless asshole. But he’s got great hair.”
My hair helped me get dates, helped me get contracts, and helped me get on TV.
It looked great with casual clothes. And with a good suit, it made me stand out in boardrooms full of Romney lookalikes. It proclaimed a flagrant and blithe lack of desire and need to conform to the norm. In a business world populated in large part by sheep, there’s distinct value to certain cues that you’re a wolf among the flock.
I barely recognize myself now. Where’s that roguish seducer? What happened to the smooth maverick strategist?
A half-hour in a barber’s chair has taken me from The Mane Supremacy to The Shorn Identity.
Conclusion: if you’re a vain man with outstanding hair, you damn well shouldn’t cut it.
So why did I do it? A simple reason, but one I didn’t think about long enough. My over-the-collar curls took too long to dry. And I don’t like bothering with a blow drier.
It’s like this: I hate maintenance. I like maintenance to be fast and easy, just as much as I like romance to be drawn out and intricate.
A man’s hair shouldn’t require much care. My program is shampoo, get out of the shower, tousle in a small amount of conditioner, and ready to go. Except my long hair took 20 or 30 minutes to dry completely. And everybody knows you can’t go into a meeting with wet hair. So that meant waking up 20 or 30 minutes earlier than I really needed to. Short hair would mean a useful sleep gain.
In addition, I told myself, running and sports wouldn’t leave me wearing a sweltry, sodden, dripping hat. That had to be good, too, since I’m already enough of a hothead.
I was right on the logic. I went to a meeting in Chicago, and my short, curly hair dried in the time it took to get from my hotel room, down the elevator to the street. On my runs and on the court, I felt a little lighter on top, with less torrential sweat pouring down from my scalp.
But I didn’t foresee the impact on my identity. You can’t reason logically with identity. I feel like I’ve lost something important. Like that guy in the Bible – the really strong guy with great hair. Only in his case, it was a woman who betrayed him. I’ve got nobody to blame but the dummy in the mirror.
Who am I now? I don’t know. I look… conventional. Maybe I should go join a golf club. Talk too loud and pat people too hard on the back. Laugh at Leno’s jokes. Vote Republican.
You may scoff at my fixation with my coif. And you may think me a remarkably silly, shallow and juvenile man. And you’d be right.
But I’m going to mope anyway, and you can’t stop me.
Now saying odd things on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mantalknow