Sunday, April 14, 2013


You probably can't really make out my hair in my profile picture, but basically it's a totally unremarkable close cropped number. Occasionally I look at it and wonder if it's receding then realise that's the least of my problems. Historically, however, my hair was less unobtrusive. Between leaving high school in 1999 and March 2009 I didn't cut my hair at all, and unsurprisingly a decade without a haircut produces long hair. It wasn't until leaving university that I started wearing it tied back either, so there were a couple of years where I had a mane that was glorious to behold/nightmarish in the wet.

I never really intended to grow my hair out, there was a length which marked the personal grooming inflection point at which it was going to be a conscious decision to Cut My Hair rather than leave it as it was. It's like the line between being ill shaven and Having A Beard, but even more serious. Some men can grow a beard while waiting for a bus, so facial hair comes and goes. Hair halfway down your back, however, takes time. People assume some deliberation has gone into it. Questions of why and, bizarrely, how cropped up far more often than you'd expect, as if it required any more discipline than simply not making an appointment to have it cut.

In the end I got it cut off for charity in the early part of 2009. There's an annual event called the World's Greatest Shave which is run to raise money for cancer. Well, not for cancer so much as for cancer research and care. One of the people  I worked with had recently started back at work after a going through chemotherapy and so forth, and it seemed like the least I could do. So I started collecting donations, but with a twist. For every x dollars (I think I said $10) somebody donated, they got one vote on what hairstyle I would wear for a week before properly shaving my head. The choices were Mr T, David Bowie goblin king from the Labyrinth, Mullet and one other that escapes my memory. I think I was most worried about ending up with the Bowie but in the end, after raising about three thousand dollars, Mr T won out.

For those who didn't know me before early 2009, here's what my hair looked like pre-shave. That's right, I was a guy in a suit with an out of control ponytail, the classiest of all types of guy.

That photo was taken shortly before the shearing took place. I'm hoping the following picture, taken less than an hour later, will cover for the otherwise disjointed nature of this post.

Overall I think I prefer having short hair. It's a tiny bit more effort to keep it ruly (pretty sure that's not a word) but long hair is a complete pain in the ass. It gets clogged in drains, sticks to couches and carpets, and has to be brushed every damn day.

Next week's word will be history. A reminder that if you're not already reading +Jonathan Lange's  corresponding alphabet supremacy posts over on his blog, you probably should.

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