I’ve been letting my hair grow. I’m currently at the shaggy unruly stage, way over the collar but not yet long enough to tie it back, so it’s kind of annoying. I could lie to you and say it’s because I like the look, or that I’m trying to recover the illusion of youthful virility (that ship sailed long ago), or it’s out of admiration for AC Grayling, or that I’m finally accepting the Biblical rumors that it can be a source of strength, but none of that is true. I think I’ve developed a mild tonsurephobia.
“Phobia” is too strong, though. It’s more of an aversion; I’m not afraid of barbers, I’m not worried about getting a haircut, a professional snipping away with scissors is not a concern. It’s more that every time I consider making an appointment, I veer away and decide it’s not necessary. Let’s not bother right now, OK?
My last haircut was last November.
I decided to try this other barber in town, a long-established fellow I just hadn’t gotten around to. I walked into his little shop and was brought up short: it looked like there was a corpse sitting in the barber chair. We’re talking Crypt Keeper here. Ancient, pale, wrinkled, cadaverous, bald. And then he opened rheumy eyes and in a phlegmy voice, told me “he’ll be right back”. It turns out one of the local senior citizen’s homes shuttles their residents to this barber, and the guy was like 95 years old, had almost no hair, but he still cared enough about his appearance to get a regular trim of what little he had. That is entirely admirable, and certainly there is nothing wrong with the elderly getting a haircut, and this gentleman was commendably active and alert and friendly (except when he’s napping while waiting for the barber to get back from an errand) despite my initial impression, but…holy intimations of mortality, Batman. I feel an entirely irrational dread now everytime I think about visiting the barber.
Then…it was last November, remember. I had another reason to develop an irrational association with events of that month. I also associate that orange abomination who came to power then with his pink cotton candy floss of a hairdo. His obsession with that fake pile of creepy fibers on his head repulses me. Hair care? You can get carried away.
And then there is the Nazi haircut, that high side fade that has become the recognizable tonsure of the “alt-right”. There’s the Trump sons’ greased up slicked back hair, the used car salesman/sleazy banker look. This is a bad year for hair styles. It’s as if barbers and hair salons are in a conspiracy to make all their clients look like ugly fascists.
So it has come to this, and here I am. If you expect to see me and encounter something like a dishevelled, graying werewolf, you’ve found the right person. Don’t be afraid, I don’t bite. At least, I don’t bite unless you’re wearing a MAGA hat.
It’ll probably be this way at least until the next election.
There’s a reason my hair is 43 inches long. Although, I’m often tempted to shave my head. Except I’d look like a skinny nazi with a funny shaped skull. So that’s out.
chigau (違う) says
Not getting a haircut until the next election could become a thing.
Like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playoff_beard.
You need an attitude adjustment about haircutting. Whenever I am having my hair cut, I always seem to envision primate grooming behavior. Think of yourself as a silverback having one of the lower ranking females picking through your hair for whatever it is they find.
chigau (違う) says
The neighbours would probably be friendlier…
Yeah. No. Bad idea.
There’s something to aspire to, just gotta find those low ranking females.
Dionysus of Syracuse, the famously paranoid Greek tyrant, was alleged to have taught his own daughters to cut his hair and to have singed his own beard off with a hot coal because he was definitely not going to let a stranger with a sharp piece of metal anywhere near him.
This might explain why Trump is so fond of Ivanka and has to hide the colour of his actual skin with layers of thick orange paint.
chigau (違う) says
All tyrants must have those problems.
Someone must prepare the food, clean the clothes, drive the car, fly the plane…
who can they trust?
Even family is not safe.
Jeff Flanagan says
You’re not alone. I stopped cutting my hair in protest the moment a clown was made President. It seems like a good time to go counterculture. I want to look as different than the fascists as possible.
My last haircut was about 25 years ago. Don’t sweat it.
Good for you, PZ. At 68 I’ve lost much of my hair, and I can’t see spending $21 at the barber’s for a job that now takes maybe 5 minutes. I’m letting it go, too.
Quarterly haircuts seem to work best for me. Unruly I can deal with, it’s when the hair gets long enough to tickle my nose that I go back to the barber and have it cut back to a couple inches on top.
Fashionable I may not be, but comfortable I am.
Oh, and maybe you should update your profile picture.
PZ Myers says
Update the picture? TOO HORRIFYING.
Also, I’m becoming ancient & decrepit. Crypt-keeperish, only hairy and well-fleshed.
Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says
After I retired, I cut back on shaving my facial hair to a couple of times a week. I needed to be clean shaven on the job as I had the possibility of needing to wear a chemical respirator with short notice, and facial hair made for a bad seal, and potential health problems as a result.
Now I’m back to being clean shaven daily due to sleep apnea treatment.
Rob Grigjanis says
My last haircut was in November 2004. I swore it would stay uncut until Bush and Cheney were in jail. Maybe I’ll keep the beard uncut until Trump gets his just desserts. Nowt like a futile gesture!
Gave up years ago and started shaving what little was left. Watch out for that first summer in the sun. Hats required.
I sawed about 15 inches off my hair at just past 2 AM on November 9th of last year. That’s when the election results were announced, here. I almost went with the bald of mourning, but stopped myself for the same reason as Caine mentioned in comment 1.
I used to go to the barber in my home town every couple of months for a haircut. It was $7 for the works, which included shaving the back of your neck with a straight razor, if you wore your hair real short (which I did). Alas, the barber was getting on in years, and the last time I visited him he had a pronounced shake in his hands. I left the barber with a nick in my ear and a dime-sized patch of skin missing off the back of my neck. I decided that I’d try growing my hair out.
Alas, the past few months it seems that nature has decided to shave my head for me, so I’ve been looking into hats. So far, I haven’t found what I’m looking for – I’m thinking tall, with a wide brim, something that says “I left my thumbscrews in my other cloak.”
Duth Olec says
I just get a haircut once a year, partly to save money and partly for other assorted reasons.
Vucodlak @ 17:
We have a wide variety of hats chez Caine; what you’re looking for is a top hat. There are a number of different varieties. Mine is a 1940s basic, medium wide brim, medium height, black. Haunt etsy and ebay for vintage hats. Something will pop.
The top hat goes beautifully with my full length black velvet gothic coat, also vintage. Top hats are quite nice, because depending on your mood, choice of clothing, and whether you wear it straight or angled, it can be quite jaunty, or inform people you’re scary as fuck.
Rich Woods says
The last time I set foot in the barber’s was when I was 15. That was late in 1979.
I can’t help but think about the amount of money I’ve saved since then.
My last haircut was 16 years ago. And that was to raise money for Amnesty International (a bit north of 2000€). And that was my first in around 20 years.
And then there’s the beard, which I usually describe as a hedgehog being swallowed sideways…
I do trim the mustache once-ish a year or so, mostly because I’m unkeen on filter feeding.
Caine @19 that sounds like a great look.
I didn’t realise there was a name for it, but I do have tonsurephobia, I haven’t had my hair cut by a hairdresser since I was a friend’s bridesmaid in 1984, and that was only a trim to even up the left side with the 4″ shorter right side. I realised I was atually frightened of hairdressers when, about ten years after that trim, I needed some change for the lauderette and went into the adjacent hairdresser to ask for some, walked in, opened my mouth but nothing came out as I looked around at the women staring at me then turned and fled, shaking, out the door. If I need to look professional I put my hair up in a knot, it stays knotted very well and looks pretty good. Mr Jazz hasn’t had his hair cut since 1989, the last time he went for a job where having long hair might be a problem. It has no doubt saved me a lot of money, but I am genuinely frightened of hairdressers, and I can’t really explain why.
johnson catman says
I started cutting my own hair in 1983. At first, it was just with scissors and whatever stuck up over my fingers as I held my hair between them. I worked outside at a job where my hairstyle did not matter, and besides, it was 1983, so the look was fine. It wasn’t too long before I bought my first Wahl clipper at Wal-Mart. It lasted quite a few years, and with the snap-on thingies, I started clipping my hair at one inch, and my beard at one-half inch. I shave my own neck with a safety razor. After that clipper quit working, I bought a real professional Wahl at a beauty/barber supply store, and I still use that one. I, too, have saved tons of money, and I can clip my hair and beard and trim the edges in 15 minutes. It is not for everyone, but my hair is cooperative and not unruly.
Behold the great American makeover of 2016: https://satwcomic.com/makeover-of-2016 !
Until it’s long enough for a braid, you may try a bandana, tallow or a headband.
Pierce R. Butler says
When the friend I bartered with for haircutting moved away about 12 years ago, I tied it back into a ponytail and started looking for another barter-barber opportunity (in utter futility).
Mysteriously (to me, anyhow), without any further trimming, the ponytail is only about three inches longer – though I still have to shear the beard every couple of months to forestall lugging a personal hedge around everywhere. Any other 60-something males out there experiencing the like?
I started loosing my hair in my mid 20’s, about 20 years ago.
Best thing that could’ve happened.
I now have a Jean-Luc Picard cut but not white in colour.
No shampoo required (just use the soap that I use for the rest of me).
Quick rub with a towel and my head is dry.
Been using the same clippers for over a decade and cut my hair about once a month.
Got sick of paying a small fortune for a 4 minute haircut and an expected tip.
You do know that with a litlle trim you could be Euron Greyjoy?
Not sure if thet helps your phobia, but the resemblance is striking…
Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says
My parents cut my hair to a 1/8 inch when I was a kid so it was simple to handle, and I never saw any reason to change it. Been cutting it myself that way for decades. Now its mostly gone and no one really cares cause they never knew me with hair anyway. No barbers, no hair care products, its brilliant. As a added bonus, I’ve been told a few times I have a nicely shaped head.
When I let my hair grow long I just end up looking like a wilted toadstool. So once a month I visit the old barber down the street. I told him he has to stay upright long enough for me to qualify for his pensioner discount. A quiet laugh ensued.
I should probably also point out that the article linked to does make a slight mistake in its etymology. “Tonsure” is not a Greek word meaning “to cut” (that would be temnein). It’s Latin, meaning “a haircut” (from tondere – to cut, clip or shear). So it’s one of those rare phobia words that combines Greek and Latin roots (like claustrophobia), rather than just using Greek. But, fair enough, we do occasionally combine the two in psychological terminology.
Though I would point out that “tonsurephobia” would just be fear of the act of getting a haircut. A fear of the barber specifically would be tonsorphobia.
Personally, I’ve never liked the idea of getting a stranger to cut my hair one bit. So I get my father to do it. He always has (apart from one or two occasions as a boy when my grandmother did it, though she was actually a professional hairdresser). I tend to get it cut roughly once every two years, so it goes from about half an inch to well over my eyes in the course of the cycle. Since I have no truck with the comb or the brush it also tends to get messier as the inches go on, but I’ve never really cared about that either.
Add another vote for counterculture. I vowed nary a hair cut on this 65-year-old head until the scalawags are voted out of office.
Are you going to end up with a pony tail and a bandana ?.
Why not try a Marine Corps recruit everything off ,as in the opening scene of Full Metal Jacket?.
While we are on the subject of Barbers ,do Americans Barbers when they have finished the haircut
say Anything for the weekend sir?, like British barbers used to .
That sounds like such an interesting style, I hate the fact that I live in Florida and can’t implement it. Dressing like that (including velvet gothic coat) can kill me by heatstroke in about 15 minutes for 9-12 months out of the year, depending on the year (and yes, global warming has made years with 12 months of oppressive heat more common).
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
Reminds me, I’m due for a trim.
I especially resent the Anime Nazis (re-?) appropriating the Hipster Youth haircut. I happen to think it looks good on me, it was fashionable for a while (in fact it’s still the default haircut for young Turkish men here from what I can tell, and so every Turkish hair dresser can do it in five minutes for 10€), and it’s easy to take care of at home with a hair trimmer. It was my standard haircut for a couple of years, but now I have to grow it out longer and it’s much less convenient.
Thanks for the advice! I’d been thinking something with a wider brim and slight inward and upward taper, but a top hat just might work. I’ll have to check out Etsy.
I’d almost resigned myself to making my own hat which, considering my complete lack of hatting experience, isn’t likely to turn out well. I’ve been saving an old sieve and some leather scraps, thinking “I might be able to hat with this,” but I suspect I wouldn’t have the courage to wear the result in public.
MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says
I have been increasingly unable to tolerate heat the last several years, so while my hairline has been receding a bit above my temples for the last ~10 years it is still way too thick overall to let it grow out much in Georgia. Because of that, it suffers a complete shearing every couple months by rechargeable clippers with a 5/8″ attachment that I bought over a decade ago for ~$25 and finally hacked in an upgraded battery last year. Also use those same clippers without attachments to shear the belly of Fluffenstein’s Monster every few months to lessen hairballs.
As for hats, I’ve been wanting something with a stiff brim large enough to completely shade my neck and shoulders while doing yard work – essentially a large diameter hands-free umbrella/parasol. Unfortunately, the most practical designs also feel like highly offensive appropriation when used by a pasty guy. Thinking I might try something a bit like the black helmets worn by security guards in Star Wars since the brim sweeps almost as wide as the shoulders and extends quite far to the back to provide cover for the neck and shoulders.
Just buy some electric hair clippers and cut it yourself. It will look amateurish but passably neat; certainly not alt-white naziish and will be much more comfortable than long straggly hair. No barber required. I speak from experience.
Ugh, why do Nazis have to ruin everything? The first time that I ever asked for anything other than a ‘short all over’ hair cut was before my wedding and I got one of these styles. I loved it and decided to keep it because it suits me really well, it’s also the only area in my life that I let myself enjoy a bit of preening.
@26—I am 56 and I’d say my hair definitely grows more slowly than it used to. I’ve got enough for a pony tail, but it used to go most of the way down my back.
I hate having my hair cut, plus my mental image of me has really longish hair. It’s all fine, other than at work where they get a bit antsy about it at times.
I’m pretty human touch averse though so I limit the trims to maybe twice annually (I’ve been married 19 years and my wife is still kind enough to warn me if she has to touch me. Yes, I feel bad for her, but it is what it is.).
Once I’m done with this job I hope to never get it cut again (the longest I went was 8 years between trims).