Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hair Helmets

Why are homo sapiens obsessed with their head hair? The obvious answer would seem to have a biological/evolutionary explanation. A healthy head of hair is an indicator of yute and overall good health. In spite of our relatively large, highly developed brains that enable us to do amazing things such as visit the moon and, well, brain surgery, we're still the playthings of our DNA. Our DNA is all about survival, reproduction and driving us to mate with (or at least, watch, often goofy TV shows and movies about) superior looking specimens of the species.

I get that. And I would remind you, and myself, that no matter how smart we might think we are, or, how above or over all that sort of thing we might think we are, we're not. Caution: Ignoring, or worse yet refusing to acknowledge your inner infidel, may be hazardous to your health (and life and job and relationships and...).

Big But.

Everywhere I look I see hair helmets. Creations, constructions and colors further and further removed from anything Mother Nature's Hair and Nails, LLC has ever produced. The Donald is our national poster child for this cult, and make no mistake, it is a cult. How else to account for something that generates such dedication, time, and expense?

[Aside: Speaking of the Donald, his orange complexion would seem to suggest he's an Oompa Loompa. No, seriously, think about it. This would also explain why a man who will turn 70 years old in June has hair that seems to vary in color from washed out blond to almost Peep yellow. This could be the result of constant coloring to hide his naturally green hair.

Now, Oompa Loompas are generally short in stature and the Donald is tall. This begs more than one question. Is he a native Loompalandian with a glandular disorder? If so, this would seem to disqualify him from becoming president. If he is a native Loompalandian, was he ever naturalized? If not, does he have a green card? Was his father or mother born in the USA and married to, or at some point hooked up with, a native born Loompalandian? If so, doesn't this place the Donald in the same situation he placed Senator Cruz in when he suggested that Mr. Cruz might have eligibility issues?

Most importantly, why are none of the rabid watchdogs of the press trying to get to the bottom of this mess? But that's not what I want to talk about, so let's move on.]

My definition of a hair helmet is a much broader than the traditional conception. That is, a television news anchorperson whose hair looks as though it's made out of fairly rigid vinyl and would only move ever so slightly in a tornado. Or come completely off, like a, well, a helmet and possibly become a dangerous, sharp-edged projectile.

My definition: A hairstyle, regardless of color, rigid or otherwise, that crosses a fine line whereupon said hairstyle becomes the first thing you notice about someone, you can't help but being aware of it at all times, rarely flattering.

A beacon of hair, if you will. A hairstyle that causes its owner to resemble a floor lamp without a shade.

The fine line I mentioned is determined by the amount of contrast, or the lack thereof, between a given hairstyle and the overall look of the subject. For example, a rigidly coiffed, blue haired, little old lady with minimal makeup and a conservative outfit works just fine.

However, a little old lady with minimal makeup, a conservative outfit, and waist length, elaborately curly, grape Kool-Aid colored hair -- not so much.

So, how did we go from being understandably influenced by our DNA to hair helmets? I propose two reasons. First, a significant downside of living in the information age is the fact that we're more exposed to advertising, both overtly and subliminally, than ever before. A great deal of advertising is dedicated to pushing products for managing our manes. Second, our head hair, at least theoretically, provides a means for anyone to compensate for the genetic crime of not being as attractive as professional pretty people that are so attractive that they can make a living from it, often just by reminding us that we can't. But -- with the purchase of the right health and/or beauty aid -- we may not have to wither away empty, alone, and childless, after all.

[Another Aside: About advertising. I, like most people, find most advertising, to be a pain in the butt. I'm amazed that it's even possible for an hour of alleged programming on broadcast TV to include 20 minutes or so of advertising, but not from a legal standpoint. The viewers, not The Gubmint, should determine what's acceptable. The viewers hold all the power, literally, in the palm of their hands: CLICK! What amazes me is that anyone puts up with it, considering there is no shortage of alternatives.

However, I'm a grup and a sexy seasoned citizen so I know there is definitely no such thing as a free lunch. Yes, we're knee deep in adverts, and it's not possible to be engaged in the modern world without encountering them hither, thither, and yon (don't that sound way cooler than here, there, and everywhere?).

Yes, they're often annoying, stupid and downright offensive. But they provide us with no shortage of often annoying, stupid and downright offensive content at everyone's favorite price -- free and no charge. Occasionally, they're the only portion of the content that ain't annoying, stupid and downright offensive. Were I less empathetic and attuned to the feelings of my fellow homo sapiens, I would say that whining about advertising is like bragging about how you vote in every election with one breath and then complaining about the quality of political incumbents with the next. But I'm not, so I won't. And Besides, that's not what this column is about.]

Sorry, what was I talking about? helmets...the Donald (alpha male)...advertising (environmental input) that easily exploits fundamental biological drives...

Wait a minute, is the only difference between us and all the other animals on the planet just a matter of degree?

Sheesh, this got depressing fast, and I didn't even see it coming. This is going to require a part two to explore what, if anything, does set us apart from the rest of the animals.

Anyway, I've got to run, I've got an important appointment and I have to do my hair.

Have an OK day.

©Mark Mehlmauer 2016

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