Friday Five: The politics of hair

I detect a certain pro-youth bias in this week’s Friday Five. All of the questions are about hair. But what if we don’t have hair? Fortunately, I still have some left.
1. What shampoo do you use? White Rain Naturals. Simple, inexpensive, and gets the job done.
2. Do you use conditioner? What kind? No, there’s really no point with hair as short (and thin, in places) as mine.
3. When was the last time you got your hair cut? I don’t know exactly, but it must be about a month ago, because I’m due for another haircut. We have a hair trimmer at home, and Marie uses it to cut my hair to a uniform length of 1/8 inch. This has to be done every three to four weeks, or it starts to look uneven — apparently, the hairs have differing opinions about the best growth rate. I’ve tried to get them to agree on a single standard rate, but they don’t listen to me.
4. What styling products do you use? I used to try to do that. I experimented with various mousses and gels to try to get my hair to stay the way I combed it. I finally realized, about six or seven years ago, that what I was attempting was futile. My hair was thinning on top, and as a result, the hair density there was insufficient for those products to work. It’s a matter of sociology, really. If the population is too low and the individual hairs live too far apart, you just can’t generate the sort of solidarity and community spirit that is needed if the hairs are going to cooperate and point in the same direction. They become rugged individualists and each goes its own way. The fabric of society was breaking down. Riots and looting were imminent. Something had to be done.
I decided only two responses were possible: resign as their leader and let anarchy reign, or impose a fascist dictatorship. I chose the latter and got a crew cut. The individual hairs are now free to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t involve growing more than half an inch. This enabled me to dispense with not only styling products, but brushes and combs as well. Once I’ve stepped out of the shower and dried my hair, I’m done with hair care for the day.
The loss of individual freedoms is regrettable, but at least I’ve made the trains run on time.
5. What’s your worst hair-related experience? Believe it or not, at my mother’s urging I actually got a perm once, sometime in the late ’70s. I was so horrified at the result that I made them remove it immediately. Whatever you’re visualizing as you read this, it was worse. Best not to think about it any further.

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