I got my hair cut yesterday. For me, haircuts are usually a trip I make about every three weeks. Sometimes I “feel” like I should get my hair cut more frequently, say every two weeks, just so that it never really looks any different and so I always look “clean cut” and fresh.
When I arrived at the barbershop yesterday, there were a few guys there waiting, so I had some time to myself to either watch the TV they had turned to an NFL preseason game, listen to the conversations the barbers were having with the clients, read one of the magazines on the coffee table in front of me, play on my phone or just sit there and think quietly.
I started my wait time by playing backgammon on my phone until the battery died. There was about 7% left, so I was able to get through one game before if finally turned off. Since I didn’t have that as an option any more, I just sat there staring through the TV more than actually watching. Mostly I was just making it look like I was paying close attention to the commentators when I was really just daydreaming and let various thoughts wash over my mind like gentle waves at the beach.
Dirty Thoughts to Consider
Something that came to mind as I was sitting there was how I always consider reading the periodicals on display for people to peruse when in a public waiting area. Sometimes there are some interesting or new or very niche magazines in the stack of too many to count which really piques my interest. Just as I reach out to grab one and think there’s something I might like to read, I stop myself dead in my tracks…and I think about how many bacteria and virus cells might be living in those pages.
Have you ever thought about how many people touch those things in their life in the stacks or on the common table? Even greater than the number of people thumbing through the pages of People, Time and the Wall Street Journal are the number of hair particles, dead skin cells and more types of bacteria than you really want to know about. That’s why I don’t read magazines in public waiting rooms – too much of a risk at getting myself sick.
Take it One Step Further
Think about how few people wash their hands on a regular basis. Or even how many people actually wash their hands after using the restroom. I work in a public facility and am constantly disgusted about how many men DON’T wash their hands after doing their business in the restrooms. They finish up and walk right out. Eww. Now think about that guy and at least 20 more that day alone that got their hair cut before you that didn’t wash their hands and then come along wanting to see how J-Lo’s new bikini body is looking just as much as you do. Gross.
Here’s my advice:
Don’t read public magazines. If you do, wash your hands immediately after doing so.
Back to Daydreaming
So I’m sitting there, daydreaming, waiting to get my haircut thinking about why I’m getting my haircut. So I think to myself, “Self. Why are you here? For whom are you getting your haircut?”
I look at myself in the mirror only about maybe 10-15 minutes a day, tops. A few minutes in the morning to brush my teeth and shave and a few minutes in the evening to brush and floss again. That’s it. Not all of the restrooms I use throughout the day have mirrors in front of the sinks, so if they do, add another few minutes for hand washing after I use the restroom during the day.
That means at most, I look at myself in the mirror about 20 minutes every day. That also means that I am NOT looking at my self about 98.6% of the time. Accounting for a good night’s rest of 8 hours, I’m only awake for 16 hours. 20 minutes out of 16 hours is 2.9%. That means that on an average day, I’m NOT looking at myself 97.1% of the time. To say this differently, other people have the potential to be looking at me 97.1% of the time.
So why am I getting my hair cut?
Answer: So everyone else who looks at me thinks I have an awesome haircut.*
But it’s not REALLY for everyone else, there are a few reasons why I like getting my haircut.
1- I like my hair short. It’s easy to clean, easy to maintain and allows sweat to easily escape my head, allowing my body to cool itself more efficiently.
2- I like how it feels getting my haircut. For at least 20 minutes every three weeks or so, I have to sit in a comfortable barber’s seat and remain still. Except for the guy trying to talk to me over loud clippers, it’s a somewhat peaceful, meditative experience. I also like how it feels to have my haircut. It’s sort of like a weird head massage in a way. And if I sit really still. close my eyes and focus, I can actually feel my hairs being cut. It’s a really cool feeling.
3- I want to look presentable and professional to other people, based on what I consider to appropriate social norms for hygiene.
Aw ha! Now we’re getting somewhere. Number three above is me trying to please other people because I want to be accepted in the social circles in which I’ve placed myself. People are judgmental. They judge books based on their covers. It’s true. It’s nearly impossible to not do that. We’re always trying to assess new things and people by our senses and for most, the first sense is vision. We judge what we’re looking at just as soon as we see it. If I never got my hair cut and had dreadlocks that smelled really bad, in some situations, it wouldn’t matter how wicked smart I was or how intelligently I speak (see what I did there), I’d be written off completely. Not by all, but most would scoff at my appearance and turn the other way. In other social circles, I’d blend right in with dreadlocks and be welcome as an insider. It’s all relative.
We’re conditioned as children as to what’s acceptable in society and what’s not, and sometimes that just depends on where you come from…For the most part, there is a standard of appropriate appearance and hygiene and everything outside of that is “different”.
So why do I get my haircut? I just want to fit in like everyone else, while at the same time expressing my own uniqueness within that construct. Groomed might be one HR standard for hair guidelines. Vague enough to allow some creative expression, but firm enough to enforce.
I like getting my haircut. But sometimes the pleasure of the experience is diminished by the necessity of having to do something for other people that I just really don’t want to do.
You didn’t know a haircut could be such a psychological conundrum did you?
And get a haircut!