Friday, July 10, 2015

Hazarding one's head

For untold years in Virginia, as
an expatriate from California, I
have implored my barber(s) not to
release me, looking like a "Vir-
ginia goodboy." The default hair-
cut in Virginia is that creature;
and little so reinforces the ag-
ony of that archetypical tonsor-
ial image as hyper-paying a self-
absorbed stylist to ignore one's
requests. I have this on my plate
again this weekend, and I'd rath-
er skip the whole miserable folly.

What explains the permission we
give, to barbers' apparent arro-
gance, but that it represents
their scars of being commanded by
our nannies or grannies, before
we knew what was happening, to
reduce us to little acolytes for
Hallmark card fantasies of "real
boys"? Do they, for all their af-
fectation of expression, equate
it with toying with means to a
prescribed end?

Or have we all, even as na-
turalized Virginians, been
hauled across some Lethe of 
drudgery, which no commission 
of ours can breach? Why was it 
not this way at the St Regis, 
when I was in college; why was
it not this way on the coast
all those years? What is it a-
bout Virginia; or do I describe 
one of those pervasive, little
catastrophes of a culture where
we are shaped against our grain,
as perpetual mannequins of stag-
nant pastilles?

Bertold Zahoran
Tim Feldhaus

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