I always seem to get comments from the people around me whenever I get a haircut. Some people compliment me, and some people—in a harmless, good-natured way that I enjoy—call me “cue ball” or ask me if I’m enlisting.
I’ll let my hair grow for a while—maybe a few months—and then get it cut super short and repeat, so it might be a little surprising to see me one day with a full head of hair and virtually no hair the next day. It’s cheaper that way; I only have to get it cut four or five times a year. The people cutting my hair always ask me if I’m sure I want to have my hair cut so close—I request they use a No. 1-size trimmer, the one that cuts the closest to one’s head—and I always say yes. I think people think I have a nice head of hair, my widow’s peak aside. It’s a dirty blond-ish shade and wavy. Sometimes when my hair gets longer, it reminds me of a blown-over haystack I might have seen in my native Ohio. Hopefully it doesn’t smell as bad as a haystack.
Having short hair is great, especially here in Texas. It’s always hot. I really don’t understand how women with long hair can stand the summer in the South—or in any region in the summer, for that matter. I feel hot just having 2 or 3 inches on my head.
I once tried to grow my hair out; I think a lot of guys have at some point. I ended up looking more like Ronald McDonald and less like Jim Morrison after about letting it go to 5 or 6 inches. I cut it all off.
In anticipation of summer camp when I was in the Boy Scouts, most of us guys would get buzz cuts so we could wash our hair more easily just using soap. The showers weren’t exactly five-star hotel quality. Or even one-star quality. It was also easier for our hair to dry when it was short, and more importantly, it was easier to spot and remove ticks, which were rampant in western Kentucky at camp. You could remove them with the edge of one of the adult leaders’ driver’s licenses or with the tip of a match that was lit, blown out and immediately placed on the tick. Hopefully no one got burned accidentally. We had to wear hats or what we called do-rags—bandannas or kerchiefs—to make sure our scalps were shielded from the sun, though. It was the same for football season: Short hair was much easier to manage with two practices a day.
I think I’m meant to have short hair. I’m not a fastidious guy by any means when it comes to my appearance, so short hair is great because I don’t have to comb it. I think the shape of my head also lends itself to a buzz cut. And if my hair goes completely gray one day—I have some gray whiskers now—I think it’ll look better short, too, or especially if I start to go bald.
People spend likely billions of dollars every year trying to grow or maintain their hair. Maybe more of us—men and women—should get shorter haircuts and save ourselves the time, money and effort that often goes into making our hair look good. Those who got short cuts might be happier in some ways because of the resources saved.
That, or some of us might realize what a horrible mistake we’ve made once our hair is on the floor of a salon. But don’t worry: It’ll grow back.