Monday, November 29, 2010

Backwards and forwards

I confess a personal prejudice against the bob, especially the kind that's long in front and short in back (to see pictures, check out this link to Victoria Beckham).

I'm sitting in the salon chair when I notice all the girls at the counter have this kind of bob hair style. Even now, my stylist Jeff is clipping away at the back of my head. Uh oh. I clear my throat.

"A lot of people wear their hair long in front and short in back these days," I say.

Jeff pauses. "It's a popular style. But that's right, you don't like it, do you?"


"What is that, anyway?"

He stares at me in the mirror. I'm thinking. Do I have a good reason, or merely a blind prejudice?

"Okay, I have a theory. But you may not like it."

"I don't have to agree."

"Fine. Here goes. It feels asymmetrical to me. Not unified. As if a person is showing one superficial face to the world, but in the back, there's another, different person. It's almost as if there's a second face in the back of a person's head. Just part the bangs back there, and you'll glimpse it. Like the two-faced Janus."

"My God, you've taken this to a whole new level," Jeff says (clip clip clip).

In the mirror, I study his arm, coated elaborately in a tattoo. "It must be generational," I reflect. "As a child, I imprinted on hair that's long in the back and short in front. That's my normal. All that neck feels wrong."

Now Jeff is excited. "I get it! You're a fan of the mullet."

"The mullet?"

"You don't know what a mullet is?! Hockey Hair? The Canadian Passport? There's a ton of names for it. The Kentucky Waterfall. Ape Drape."

I make a mental note to look into it. Sure enough, the mullet earns an entry on Wikipedia. For further edification, visit this "history of the mullet" that dates back to the Sphinx.

We're one month shy of 2011, and I am reassured: There will always be something new to try. For now, however, the back of my neck remains curtained by my hair.