I keep my hair really short because it’s practical. Being a curly-haired mophead may be cute when you’re fifteen years old (and it impresses the girls!), but as an adult whose time is more important than a well maintained mop, I find it so much easier to cut it off and eliminate the need to deal with it in the first place. A #3 on the top and a #2 on the side, please! And no sideburns. As I sat in the barber’s chair today, it occurred to me that getting a haircut is in many ways a metaphor for renewal and starting fresh.
The barber buzzed away and the clippings dropped to the floor. I started feeling better, like I was getting rid of a problem. By the time I stood up and briefly admired my new look in the mirror, I was in mood elevation mode. I walked out of there refreshed and ready. All of this because of a haircut?
Yes. Because of a haircut. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, or maybe I unconsciously tend to stop for a haircut when I’m already in a good mood anyway. Yet, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve never seen anyone leaving a barber shop with a frown on their face. Is this is why women like going to their hair dressers so much, and sometimes spend several hours there? Do they know something?
My standard haircut takes mere minutes. Guys do not linger in barber shops for hours and hours. We quickly take care of business and leave. The end result is clean cut and trimmed, with a new attitude on the side. A haircut is not just a basic personal grooming habit. It is often part of a ritual, a preparation for something bigger: A wedding, a high school prom, a new job, entering the military, going on vacation. Something good almost always follows a haircut, and even when it is not a prequel to a big event, we still have the satisfaction of feeling cleaned up and fresh as we go forward with ordinary life.
The more infrequent something is, the more special it will be. The good feeling that comes from getting a haircut might not happen if I went to the barber every week. It might not be the haircut itself but whatever comes after it that makes us subconsciously associate going to the barber with feeling a good vibe. The anticipation that something positive is about to happen oozes into our psyche; the bad attitude has been cut down and left on the floor to be swept away.