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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hair: A primer for men

Women, you might want to just clip this column out of the paper right now and immediately duct tape it onto your man’s Sports Illustrated/Wall Street Journal/remote control/tool box.
When it comes to women and their hair, men need to realize a few things. And I admit that I’m stereotyping here, but for all intents and purposes, I’m talking about myself and I’m going on the hopes that I’m not the only one out there in the world that feels this way.
First of all, women like change and we like things to coordinate. There are few of us who are not this way, and it can easily be determined by taking two rudimentary measurements. Simply take the number of shoes the woman has and multiply it by the times she has rearranged the furniture in the house. From this, subtract the number of times she has gone to the grocery store without looking first in a mirror and changing out of her sweats and then add 15 points if she changes her purses seasonally. If this number is surprisingly high, the woman likes change.
And any woman that likes change likes to get her hair worked on by a professional hair dresser. We are constantly force fed before and after photos in magazines and television ads, where we see some homely women with no make-up, bedhead, and a grumpy frown miraculously transformed into an air-brushed supermodel in a matter of millimeters. While we know that these photos are designed to make us feel like that homely woman, we still long to be that beautiful “after” photograph and somehow believe it’s even possible.
I mention all of the above to demonstrate that going to the salon can really be a big deal. Huge, even. Some women even page through hundreds of magazines pages, looking for the perfect style. They clip photos of celebrities and models and keep them in their wallets until they finally get into the salon chair and proudly hand it to the beautician.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
There is also a matter of pre-primping before we even go to the salon. Men, if you’ve only frequented barber shops operated by gray-haired men with well-trimmed mustaches, let me tell you something. Beauticians always look good. Great, even. They are fashionable, cute, and their hair is always PERFECT. So for me, at least, walking into a salon in my normal everyday momwear with my flat hair that I didn’t have time to comb with gray bits sticking out here and there is unthinkable. I have to un-before-picture myself a little, and strangely enough, that means fixing my hair before I walk in and they wet the whole mess down.
Sounds crazy, I know. But it’s how the world works.
The style and cut and color if you’ve got those sorts of resources and needs then become the focus. Beauticians stare at your face and assign it a shape. (They’re not all round, you know.) They size up your neck, your ears, your eyes, and examine each feature you pray isn’t a major flaw to get the style of your dreams.
Scissors fly, razors buzz, and blow dryers hum. And when it’s all said and done, every woman longs to have changed into that after picture. They whip us around and show us the back and sides and convince us we need to spend big bucks on products, which we do because we know they’re probably right. They did just perform a miracle and made us look a thousand times better than we did when we walked in.
So when we come home, notice. Tell us how great it looks, how nice the lines are, and how great the new products smell. Never ask us the cost. We will thank you for it and we will be exceptionally happy.
We will be even happier, however, if you help us move the couch against the opposite wall, and rewire the TV so that it can go in the other corner.


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