I get my hair cut about once a semester and my hair grows fast so I go through this process twice a year: my hair grows so long that it becomes inconvenient, I travel to a place where they cut hair, and the person who cuts my hair expresses shock when I say that I just want it to be “short.”
How short? they ask. Very short.
They look at the readout from my last haircut and feign being (or are) shocked at how different my current (long) hair is from the hair that I had six months previous.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this happens every time. Repetition with very little change. It’s like a Beckett play.
Then they ask me about style or how I want it to look and I always say that I don’t care. I know what the end game is going to be: my hair will be long soon enough and it will move toward the amorphous “weird hair” that always manages to spawn itself on my head, no matter what its starting state was.
The past four times that I have gotten my hair cut the person cutting my hair has been a man. And when I say “I don’t care,” without deviation they have interpreted that as “I would like you, Mr. Barberman, to give me your exact haircut.”
So I’ve had an undercut, not because I wanted it, but because the barber gave me one. I’ve had something that I can only describe as a “white guy fade.” And now I have something I would call “looks like total trash unless it has gel in it.”
I don’t own any hair gel.
There’s nothing much to say about this other than I think that I might have found a wonderful place where ego gets expressed. There’s a desire to replicate the self that gets expressed in education, in the workplace, in every place where someone could take joy in seeing their worldview proliferate into the universe. What’s a more perfect test case than the haircut?
In the traditional mode of self-replication, the mind becomes a kind of billboard that goes around and espouses how great its ideas are. For the haircut, it is the literal head. A great, big, bobbling thing that scoots around the world and talks to people and makes them look at it.
Forget the word virus; let’s talk about the haircut virus.