Friday, November 05, 2004

Hairstyles and attitudes

Are they connected?
How well do we use the freedom to choose the illusion we create?

Scientists say your hair never lies
There's been lots of research - it may be just hype,
But the latest results cause me to tremble;
Classify us into three basic types
By which of the Three Stooges we most closely resemble.

(Timbuk 3, 'Hairstyles and attitudes')

which is, in itself, enough to show that Timbuk 3 deserved to be more than a one-hit wonder (to get the full effect you have to know what the Three Stooges looked like:

I'm an outside observer on the vast range of porducts and devices that these days offer to change any type of hair into another. You could see this proliferation as sad, implying that nobody wants to look like they do, but conversely it is liberating: there isn't, despite everything, a single perfect look to which all aspire; people want to play with changing their look without going to the mad extremes of surgery.

My choices are more limited, and have been for as long as I can remember. Even the arrival of grey hair was a side issue: rather than getting hung up on hwether this makes you look old, or mature, or distinguished, I don't care what colour it is as long as it's there. I have become used to observing the gradual retreat of my hairline and the corresponding expansion of my forehead; fortunately, it's a slow process, so only the forlorn single survivals showing where it used to be bring home the reality.

But the lonely and unwinnable battle with hair loss is one thing - even more annoying is the simultaneous explosion of hair everywhere else: chest, back, legs, nose, ears. Perhaps in time I will go for an Elton John transplant by using a skin graft from one of the luxuriantly foliated areas where I don't want them. Or not. I suppose I can still choose my image (from a choice of two).

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