a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

This past Monday, I went to get a haircut. I generally keep my hair short, but not that short, but this time I told him to take out the razor and set it at half an inch.

The result is the shortest my hair has been in at least 30 years. It's a buzz cut, I guess. I never knew a half-inch was that short.

I think I've had a phobia about really short hair since I was a kid, when crew cuts were de rigeur. My dad started turning grey in his early 20s -- and started going bald shortly afterward -- and I guess he figured that if he couldn't have hair, we shouldn't either.

Or maybe he was just a child of the conservative '50s.

Anyhow, by the time I was old enough to be able to decide how long my hair should be, the answer was "not short". In high school, it was sort of semi-long and messyish, not that I cared much; I really didn't spend much time on my appearance at all (which may be one of the reasons why I had no real social life, other than going to the roller rink on Friday night with the guys and wistfully eyeing girls from afar. Yeah, we had a roller rink).

I parted my hair in the middle for the longest time, until my mid-20s, when a friend of a friend gave me a haircut in Manhattan. I told him to cut the hair with the part in the middle, and he looked at me and said "no".

So I shrugged, defered to his expertise, and let him shift the part to the side, where it has remained ever since.

But I like the new short-short look, and I thought everyone would be shocked, but no one really noticed except one guy in my writing group, who'd independently had pretty much the same thing done to his hair, as had a third guy in the group.

(A few days later, most of the New York Mets -- my favorite team -- got buzz cuts as a team bonding thing. There's definitely something in the air.)

Now my problem is the gray. I've been going gray for years (though not as quickly as dad did), and the sides of my head (what little there is left there) and my goatee is the worst. In fact, you can hardly see the goatee, it's so gray.

Argh. I'm not that old, I don't feel old, I don't want to look old.

I've been considering dying it, but I'm not sure I want to be that guy.

Though if no one notices the buzz cut, maybe they won't notice a subtle dye job either.

If I do do it, I expect everyone here to keep my secret.


At 1:09 PM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with dyeing your hair if it will ease your anxiety.

Eric Dane and George Clooney make the gray thing hot. Most men don't.

Do what you must to survive.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

I'm not worried about looking hot -- I'm happily married. And the gray doesn't look that bad.

I'm just concerned that, in a writing industry where age isn't prized, if I start taking meetings, my gray hair might really work against me.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Cathy Krasnianski said...

In the May 6th edition of the Los Angeles Times' West Magazine, there was an article on this very subject. If you can get you hands on one, you must read it. if you cannot locate a copy, let me know and I'll email it to you.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Thanks for the heads up Cathy. I found it online.

And... yikes. Because it confirms my worst fears.

For anyone interested, the article is here:,1,4272847.story?coll=la-headlines-west&ctrack=1&cset=true

Anyone have any pointers about dying gray hair?

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Cathy Krasnianski said...

Unfortunately, I am an expert on dyeing gray hair. I did it on myself for almost 15 years, as I started graying quite early on. I have since stopped, but have been considering it for the very reasons stated in that article.

It's simple really:

1. Buy the dye.
2. Read the directions.
3. Apply.
4. Sit back and admire the loss of 10 years from your face.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger annabel said...

Just For Men has both hair color and a brush on gel for dying facial hair. My step-father uses it.

At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Ron said...

I just dye my pubic hair.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Allen said...

Go for it, but write a good spec first (not implying yours are bad)

At 6:33 PM, Anonymous alan smitty said...

Let a pro do it. Go to a salon.

If you really want to look younger, start lifting and working out. Get skinnier with a high pro/low carb diet. Coloring in your gray isn't going to be much use by itself.

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Ron said...

get ready for the westside: start doing lots of coke.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Scott, I looked in the mirror the week I turned 42 and saw that most of my goatee had gone full gray. Off it went. I'm down to just the stache. My wife's girlfriends heard about this over the phone and made cracks about Magnum, PI and 1978, but they saw me in person that weekend and got...very...quiet. The stache works.

I stayed away from Grecian even after it was suggested to me back when you were still in NY because my father had used it, but I think the next trip to the drugstore may find me searching that aisle.

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parted in the middle? Do you play little league soccer?

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous win said...

A good mystery writer is like a magician - misdirection.

That works very well when it comes to personal grooming.

My recommendation would be to wait with a color job. Let your hair grow longer again.

Then cut it and simultaneously colour your hair/stash/goatee.

The comments will be about the short hair and not the colouring.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Stella said...

Even simpler solution: just shave off the goatee. 'Cuz you really don't want to be "that guy" either...

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous steverino said...

Oh, I got a story for you.

I had my mop cut last week, and short seemed to be a big improvement.

SO, the next day I was going to work when I noticed how many women were glancing at me in modest ways.

Usually I inspire no such interest, but I thought as I trudged to my editing desk, "Maybe its the haircut, maybe its the disntiguished gray of my hair, maybe just maybe I'm growing more handsome (handsomer?)as I age."

Then as I was crossing a narrow footbridge, a young woman heading towards me started blushing and smiling. She covered mouth with her hand and started to chuckle.

As she passed I looked down at myself and noticed the bottom buttons of my shirt were undone and my fat stomach was hanging out. It had been hanging out for 90 minutes on the bus, one the train and on the street.

At 12:01 AM, Blogger IQCrash said...

I think you're sexy just the way you are.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Scott, you should add a link with a picture of your new dew.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Scoopy said...

The S.O. says that goatees are in... but I never listen to the S.O.'s advice. But are they in? If so, keep it. If not, lose it.

Then, get some Penguin shirts and the Swifty Lazar frames that everyone's wearing now. You'll bewitch the town.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Brett said...

The day I start caring about my hair is the day I'll know I've finally Gone Hollywood and need to be euthanized by any who still care for me.

My fave haircut recipe:

"Number two on the sides, scissors up top, and make it short.You got ten minutes, then I'm walking—done or not. Commence."
Follicular B (who's done the buzzcut before and scared both kids and nuns with the results...)

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous ron said...

"Number two on the sides, scissors up top, and make it short. You got ten minutes, then I'm walking—done or not. Commence"


There is no need to brag about your rude condescension towards female prostitutes who I'm sure do their best to deal with your bizarre sexual peccadilloes.


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