Sunday I went to my usual haircut place to get a haircut. I think the guy who cut my hair may've been the same guy who, three months ago, was all excited about seeing The Island, and took 45 minutes to cut my hair, and thought my eyes were fake. But I could be wrong.

This time he started out by asking me if I wanted my hair tapered. I later learned that this is a standard haircut term, but I somehow hadn't encountered it before, and didn't know what it meant. He told me it meant cutting the hair longer at the top and shorter at the bottom, but I didn't know what the alternative to that might be. After a fair bit of arguing, and him showing me a picture, I finally agreed to tapering. There was a further disagreement over whether I wanted the entirety of my ears to show (based on last time, I gather that this is a fashion faux pas, but I prefer to get my hair cut a little too short, so it'll be a longer time before I need a haircut again), but eventually we settled everything, and I told him I was in a rush so I wouldn't have to sit through another 45-minute haircut.

So we got through most of it fine. But then at the end he brushed my front hair down over my forehead and asked me if it was the right length. And I said, "Maybe make it slightly shorter than that." And he said, "Well, okay, but I don't want to make it too short, because you've got a receding hairline."

And I thought, Hey! I don't have a receding hairline! My hair doesn't recede! I've got good hair! Peter had a full head of hair all his life! My hair isn't-- and I might have continued in that ridiculously pouty mode were it not for an intervention.

There was another customer, and apparently my haircut guy had cut her hair previously and she'd been off in the back getting it styled or something. And she came over to leave a tip for my haircut guy on his little shelf, and she paused just barely in my peripheral vision. I couldn't turn my head to look at her, 'cause haircut guy was doing something with scissors on my other side and I figured moving would be a bad idea.

And she said, enthusiastically: "Hey! You've got great hair!"

I didn't think she could possibly be talking to me, but she seemed to be standing there looking at me, and when I didn't say anything, she went on: "I know women who would kill for that hair!"

So I smiled and mumbled some kind of thank-you and got a little embarrassed, and haircut guy made a joke about how it wasn't the hair, it was the great haircut, and the other customer left.

But I was absurdly pleased for at least the next ten or fifteen minutes. Take that, haircut guy! It doesn't matter if my hairline is receding--I've got great hair! Some random stranger said so, so it must be true!

Mostly I'm amused to discover that this is something I'm vain about. I don't think I really knew that before.

7 Responses to “Haircut”

  1. irilyth

    Aren’t baldness patterns inherited from your mother’s father, anyway?

  2. Haddayr Copley-Woods

    You _do_ have great hair.

    And I know it’s been six months since I last saw you, but it isn’t receeding.

    If it was, leaving it long on top would only emphasize it, not disguise it. I don’t know why the hell stylists do this. My poor bald husband finally gave up going to barbers who were constantly trying to get him to have a comb-over and now I clip it at home in the kitchen.

    As for the comment above r/e mom’s father: my husband’s maternal grandfather’s hair only started to receed slightly when he turned 80. He still has a LOT more hair than Jan does.

  3. Jed

    Addendum to entry: I should have mentioned that of course there’s nothing wrong with receding hairlines, and I know plenty of attractive people who have little or no hair. For example, as the Wikipedia article on baldness notes, “Actor Patrick Stewart’s bald head is considered part of his distinctive attractiveness.”

    Re inheritance: that article also says: “Baldness in a child cannot be predicted only from the mother’s lineage. […G]enetics does play a role in male pattern baldness, but the genes can come from either parent, not just the mother.” But yeah, the thing about my father’s hair was an irrational reaction; my father’s brothers, for example, have varying amounts of hair.

    Haddayr: Thanks for the compliment! …Beth O tells me that my hairline has receded somewhat (on the sides of the front) since she first met me twelve-plus years ago; now that I pull back my front hair and look at the actual front hairline, I can see that that’s probably true, but I never noticed it ’cause I never brush my hair back off my forehead these days. Anyway, if I do at some point develop a bald spot, I hope I won’t try to comb over it. Feel free to remind me that I said this. 🙂

  4. Haddayr Copley-Woods

    I feel now that I must add that I truly believe my husband is far more attractive bald (and I can’t imagine Stewart with hair. Ick ick ick). As a matter of fact, I recently started a brouhaha in my journal expressing my sadness for men who are cursed with full heads of hair. But a nice head of hair is a nice head of hair. Even on Doug Lain, whom baldy barth anderson called a “hairball” during the discussion. 🙂

    All that said? Most men I know with full heads of hair are terrified of losing it. You can’t deny reality.

  5. logisticslad

    You DO have great hair! And it is okay to enjoy it (while you’ve still got it – speaks the voice of experience 🙂 Jed Classic

  6. karen

    So, I am a hairdresser, and I don’t encourage the comb-over.

    You can leave your front hair a happy medium, not very long, but not too short, and your hairline will look just fine. I don’t know you, but seems you have nice hair, so don’t worry about it.

    I wonder why you go back to that same haircut guy? Oh well.

  7. Jed

    Thanks for the note.

    To clarify: I don’t go back to that haircut guy; I go back to the haircut place (where I’ve been going for fifteen years), and I try to avoid that guy whenever possible. He’s usually not there when I stop by, but when he is there, I’ve sometimes even turned around and left if it looked like he was going to be the one to cut my hair. But I should probably learn to make appointments there instead of leaving it to fate.


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