Rant & Rave

By Jason Fong

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Cut to quick by
recurring hair woes

WHEN it comes to facial politics, no feature is more powerful and corrupt than our hair. It is the only part of the face that can be drastically altered without the assistance of anesthesia, fat-filled syringes and sharp metal knives. Using a terrifying little ritual known as the haircut, these strands of keratin can control the future of one's social life.

To put it simply: A haircut can either make or break you.

In my experience, a haircut can either break you or break you real bad. Most of the time I leave the chop shop looking as if my hair got weed-whacked by an intoxicated gardener.

Now, I'm not saying the people in the haircutting industry are responsible for that eyesore growing out of my scalp. No, no, no. The reason I have such horrible haircuts is because I don't know how to describe the type of style I want. Once that stifling bib is wrapped around my neck, the only words I can spew out are: "M-m-make hair s-s-short; m-m-make hair nicey."

Now, there are a number of factors that are taken into consideration before a haircut can be performed. The type of hair and the condition it is in ultimately decide what type of haircut is best suited for you. Even the shape of your head is a crucial factor.

Apparently, I fall under the "straight-flat hair growing out of a long head" category, which limits me to a total of two styles.

Although my limited selection makes deciding on a haircut style less complicated, it also encourages a phenomenon I call the "hair time warp."

Because some people only match a certain type of hairstyle, they have the tendency to stick with it (their motto: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.")

Before they know it, they've had the same hairstyle for more than 20 years! This is why a lot of mean, old school teachers look the same to all their former students (Class of '69 student: "Does Miss Helga still have that permed beehive do?" Class of '99 student: "Yeah, and she still wears a hairnet.")

I fear being trapped in a hair time warp and crave a different haircut from time to time. Like most people, I need a change.

Unfortunately, deviation from one's usual hairstyle often leads to disaster. Trying a new hairstyle is extremely risky because you have no idea how it will look on you. It looks good on that model or celebrity, but you're neither, so the chances that you will look the same are virtually nonexistent.

Even if, by some miracle, I manage to escape with a somewhat decent haircut, I still have to endure the traumatic post-haircut phases.

During the first phase, I have that "I just got a haircut 20 minutes ago" look. People ask you if you just got your hair cut two weeks after the fact.

Once my hair finally decides to grow, I enter the much-anticipated "optimal" phase. For two entire weeks, my hair actually looks good! Then, sometime between the fourth and fifth week, my hair grows out of control. I have entered the third or "Damn, I need another haircut" phase.

During this phase I feel the urge to cut my own hair because I refuse go through that demoralizing process again. However, my inability to use scissors and a mirror simultaneously leads to irregular patches of hair, bald spots and sometimes the loss of blood.

In the end, my futile attempt to maintain my haircut fails and I'm back where I started: In a hydraulic chair with a bib around my neck.

Jason Fong is a 1998 graduate of McKinley High School
and a sophomore a t the University of Oregon.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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