| 17.9°C Dublin

Flicks, quiffs, mullets ... every man's had a haircut from hell

Close

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was rumoured to have urged all male university students to copy his haircut. Photo: Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was rumoured to have urged all male university students to copy his haircut. Photo: Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was rumoured to have urged all male university students to copy his haircut. Photo: Reuters

HAIR today, gone tomorrow. The rumours that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was demanding that all male students get a haircut exactly like his caused a stir.

The "un haircut" raises a lock or two of my own hair when I consider the life-long trauma of the Male Haircut.

My early experiences were not good.

As a nipper, going to the barber who wielded a knife as expertly as any slaughterhouse technician was no fun.

I can remember him whistling, head craned like a bird, as he took hair and flesh with equal aplomb.

There Will Be Blood would have been a suitable film title. Little cut marks ran around my skull like a would-be Christ figure.

Worried

These blood trails were met with glee by my school-friendly "hoppers", otherwise known as head lice.

Thankfully, at that age, I wasn't too worried about how I looked.

This is in stark contrast to our current generation of seven-year-olds for whom an emergency supply of hair gel is as important as a back-up Xbox when they go on holidays.

There were good times on the Male Haircut journey.

I remember once being put in a big leather swivel chair, raised to the sky in Messianic glory, up there with the big men. The heady heights and the smell of Brylcreem and Brut were intoxicating to a child on the cusp of adolescence.

When I hit my teens I became more and more aware of this other manifestation called girls.

Suddenly the mirror, an item which I mocked my brother and sister for spending so much time in front of, became both my best and worst friend.

I would flick a piece of hair across my brow, sure that I was indeed a latter day Brad Pitt, even though my hair was almost jet black.

Other times, the mirror mocked me unmercifully, screaming that no matter what amount of water or diabolical agents I doused my head with, I was and would always remain an ugly looking excuse for a human being.

At 16, the Male Haircut Crisis hit hard. I went to a brand-name hairdresser's because at the time I had a serious crush on a girl who lived nearby, so my hair had to be right.

My curly locks were by now down to my shoulders – I had been listening to a lot of late Beatles and had acquired a pair of John Lennon glasses which rendered me blind.

I assured the trainee stylist that I was ready to leave my rock days behind me. As I sat into the plush chair, I felt like a king.

Mullet

"Would sir like a tea or coffee?" Yes indeed, sir would love a cup of tea. This haircut was shaping up to be the best. I told the trainee stylist that I did not want a Chris Waddle mullet style, or a perm style so beloved of the then Liverpool football team.

No one had told me that the trainee stylist had graduated from the Auschwitz School of Hairdressing. I believe you could see more of my skull than any MRI could ever offer up.

She cut with a fury and intensity that even Sweeney Todd couldn't match. Truth told, I was sheared bald as a sheep.

She put the mirror behind me to give me a look at the back. I was too stunned to speak. Besides, what could she do – stick it back on?

It was summer and I remained indoors for a period of months. Eventually my skin, skull bone and a respectable amount of hair grew back.

So when women laugh at Kim Jong-un's haircut demands, spare a thought for all us males and the years of struggle we've gone through. We men are hair today and gone tomorrow.


Privacy