in search of an artist  

ideafilter 37M
45 posts
9/6/2006 4:28 pm

Last Read:
9/10/2006 2:09 am

in search of an artist

In terms of haircuts for me, there's not much to it. I was born with a pre-receded hairline. My mom called me her "little man" not to be cute so much as because my hairline and rather pronounced facial features made me look, quite literally, like an older man. But - as with most things - I grew into it and my features fit me quite well now.

I'm still pretty lanky with a runner's build, standing at 6'2. Not that I'm looking forward to older age, but I have a feeling that's when I'll really come into my own in a Patrick Stewart/Ian Mckellen type way. I'd include Sean Connery in the list, but hey, let's be real: I'll never have anything on that sexy accent of his.

But back to the point. Haircuts for me are a pretty straightforward affair. I keep it pretty short and there's not much to cut. For the past few years I've just used the clippers and done it myself, but quality control in the back is tough with my girlfriend out of the picture. So more recently I've started looking for a decent local barber.

Today I found a pretty cheap one down the street and went in. And here I was reaquainted with an old frustration. I tend to think of all professionals as artists, whether they're cleaning cars or painting on canvas. But my instinct is that those professionals whose job it is to help us look our best should strive particularly to find a sense of artistry in their work. But the moment I sit in the barber seat the first thing I hear is "How do you want it cut?"

My reaction: "You're the artist. What do you think?" You'd be surprised by the range of reactions I get from this. Honestly, I don't think many people ask their opinion. But I feel it's important to ask, and a significant part of my decision whether or not to come back to a stylist has to do with their artistic 'vision.' The woman today had none. Just a trim was as much imagination she could muster. Artists see potential in any canvas.

It makes me sad to think of a stylist spending a career more as a servant than an artist, asking others what they want and making it happen rather than offering alternative artistic visions; glimpses into other possible looks, whether or not they're taken.

And by the way, to the guys with thinning or receding hairlines - please do not comb it over and pretend you still have a full head of hair. It's embarassing. Just embrace the truth of it and, if you like, shave the rest off. I promise you won't regret it.

What a random rant. Thanks for reading.

ideafilter 37M

9/6/2006 10:45 pm

That's exactly what I'm talking about. Encourage artistic passion wherever you can. Love the results! Thanks for commenting!

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