Splitting hairs won't help you get ahead in life

December 08, 1996|By Dave Barry | Dave Barry,Knight-Ridder Tribune

Today's Topic is: Your Hairstyle

Is your hairstyle important?

To answer that question, let's consider the starkly different career paths of two individuals: Albert Einstein and Tori Spelling.

Tori Spelling is a top celebrity and highly successful television star, despite having the natural acting prowess of a Salad Shooter.

Why?

Because she always has a neat, modern hairstyle. Also, her father produces every show on television except the test pattern. But her hair is surely a factor.

In contrast, Albert Einstein -- despite being a genius who not only discovered the Theory of Relativity ("E equals H2O") but also prepared his own tax returns -- never so much as appeared on "Hollywood Squares." He auditioned repeatedly, but the talent coordinators always turned him down.

"What was that on his head?" they'd ask each other after he left the studio. "A yak?"

So we see that hairstyle is very important.

This is true even in the animal kingdom. Baboons, for example, spend countless hours grooming each other, applying conditioners, combing fur over bald spots and using all the other little styling tricks that make them the confident, successful and cosmopolitan creatures that they are, equally at home on a rotting zebra carcass and a rotting giraffe carcass.

It is no different with humans. If you have a lunch meeting with an important potential business client, you are definitely going to make a strong impression if you reach over and pick a live insect out of his or her hair. But it also helps if you have a nice hairstyle. Unfortunately, a lot of people -- and here I am thinking of women -- hate their own hair. In my experience, when a woman looks at herself in a mirror, even if her hairstyle is really nice, she sees Chewbacca.

Men, on the other hand, tend to feel positive about their hair. Even if a man has a grand total of only four hairs left, he will grow them to the length of extension cords and carefully arrange them so they are running exactly parallel, 2 inches apart, across his otherwise stark naked skull, and he will look at himself and think, "Whoa, these four hairs are looking good."

But whether you're a woman or a man, you should know the basics of hairstyle management, as presented here in the popular Q and A format:

How can I have really nice hair?

If you look at the models in commercials for hair-care products, you'll notice that their hair is thick, glossy, lustrous and manageable. What's their secret? It's simple: They were born with nice hair. That's why they are professional hair models, whereas you and the late Albert Einstein are not.

Should balding white men shave their heads, the way many African-American men, such as Michael Jordan, do?

No. It's not fair, but the simple truth is that balding African-American men look cool when they shave their heads, whereas balding white men look like giant thumbs.

Why is it that some older women, when their hair starts to turn gray, instead of dyeing it back to whatever natural-looking shade it originally was, decide to dye it roofing-tar black or traffic-cone orange, which are colors normally associated with Halloween?

Apparently it is some kind of sorority initiation.

What is the best way to style my hair?

You are asking the wrong person. I've been trying for more than 40 years, with absolutely no success, to get my hair to form a simple part. All I want is a basic straight line, such as can be found on Al Gore, the vice president, and Ken, the doll.

So every morning, right after my shower, I attempt to style my hair with a brush and a hair dryer.

I cannot begin to tell you how hilarious my hair thinks this is. You've heard of "free-range" chicken, right? Well, I have "free-range" hair. It laughs gaily and dances in the blow-dryer breeze, humming "Born Free." When I'm done, it looks exactly the same as when I started. It is no closer to forming a part than Dom DeLuise is to winning the Olympic pole vault.

In conclusion, what is the one word that describes the key to a successful hairstyle?

"Hat."

Pub Date: 12/08/96

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