Posts Tagged ‘Grooming’

Jeff HairIn early August I wrote a blog post about the fact that I cut all my hair off and the consequent reactions (mostly unwanted and all unsolicited) from others. That was over two months ago and I have to admit that I’m still surprised at the frequency of times weekly when someone criticizes me for it. At one point yesterday I was just glad to be going home where I knew that neither my wife nor my dog would say anything about it the rest of the day.

Tonight I posted the following on Facebook:

“Wonder why so many people think it’s OK to tell me how much they don’t like my hair all cut off. Last time I checked, that was my call to make. I really don’t recall these folks seeking my advice on how they cut their hair. Give it a rest, folks. I was tired of messing with it. I like it super short. I’m not undergoing chemo. I’m not sick or dying or undergoing treatments. I worked hard at intentionally losing 25 pounds to get to my current weight. Sheesh…”

A friend and colleague subsequently sent me a private message that read, “‘Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you’ was the biggest lie I’ve ever been told.” I agree.

I’m a big boy and I can handle a little criticism about how I look. I can understand the concern of those who suddenly see me with no hair and thinner than I’ve been in a couple of years. I don’t begrudge genuine queries of concern to make sure I’m OK. The point of this post, though, is to note how utterly unnecessary, inconsiderate and useless the “I don’t like your hair” conversations are.

It’s time for some folks to re-learn a lesson most of us learned around kindergarten age – “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything” – or just live by the Golden Rule and we’ll all be fine.

Please take a moment to consider how your words might affect others. Consider the possibility that it may well be better to remain silent than to voice every opinion you have, especially if those opinions are openly critical of others’ benign choices about how they appear. There are enough life and physical changes coming to pass for folks my age without adding to the list having to deal with criticism from others about simple choices related to how we look.

Jeff Almost Hairless PortraitFor a long while – maybe a year or two – I’ve threatened to shave my head, or at least to get a buzz cut.  Nobody seemed to like the idea but me.  My dear wife, Linda, was definitely against the notion, so out of respect for (and maybe a little fear of) her, I kept basically the same haircut I’ve had for 30+ years.

And then came my extended vacation in May when I would be home for three weeks nursing Linda from her knee replacement surgery.  This was my chance!  I could get it cut and then have three weeks without seeing too many people if it turned out horrible and I chose to grow it back.  And I could outrun Linda!

I went to my regular barber and told him what I wanted.  He was quite surprised but did what I asked.  I had to laugh, though, at his comment, “I left it a little longer on top than on the sides so you wouldn’t have that totally crazy look.”  Ha!  After a couple of weeks I thought it needed to be even shorter, so I went back to the barber and had it cut back even more.  In recent weeks, Linda and I have used my beard trimmer on it weekly to keep it at a low height.

I couldn’t believe the difference in how cool my head felt immediately, which was nice given the warm temperatures.  I love not having to mess with it, not having it going in every direction after laying down, not being a bother when I run, etc.  Even though I still shower daily, of course, the lure of being able on some Saturday mornings to run a quick wash cloth over it and go on my way is intriguing.  The possibility of wearing a toboggan in winter – the knit cap, not the sled – on my head is really nice since I refused to wear any kind of hat when my hair was longer because of a hat always messing it up.

What has been interesting to observe has been the reaction of others.  The only ones who have been overtly positive and encouraging are my fellow workers who do the same and share the same positive reasons for having little or no hair.  Other reactions have ranged from “Why did you do that?” to “Grow it back!” and “You had such nice hair before.”   Most just don’t say anything and go on their way drawing their own conclusions without asking me or – more likely – not noticing or caring in the least what I do with my hair.

The oddest reactions so far have been the ones where people assume I have recently had chemotherapy and consequently lost my hair due to some dire physical condition.  They don’t ask me that, though.  They ask other people behind my back, but the word eventually finds its way to me.  I guess they’re just being concerned and don’t know what to say to me.  Folks, if you want to know something about me, just ask.  I’m not one who is prone to hiding my thoughts from others.  Sometimes the ball is in your court to simply ask rather than make assumptions.

Why did I cut my hair off?  I was tired of messing with it.  That’s all.  Life is a little simpler without it.  A few moments of time are saved each day without it.  I like it.  It may take some getting used to for those who have known me anytime after fifth grade when I went from a flat top haircut to having it long enough to be parted, but you’ll get used to it eventually.

With it thinning as it was, anyway, I’ve probably just taken some preemptive action to avoid that awkward period of years when there really isn’t enough on top to do anything with, but when too many men keep trying to make less and less look like earlier days when they had more.  That won’t be an issue with this style.  And those age spots that were eventually going to show up anyway are now out on display for people to get used to.  My granddaughter can play connect-the-dots on my head with them if she wants.  It’ll be fun for us both.

I’m surprised by the attention my hair – or lack of it – has received in these last couple of months.  I cut my hair to suit myself.  You’re free to discuss it with me if you like, but I will welcome your criticism and suggestions for change just as soon as you tell me that I’m the one who gets to decide how you cut your hair.