Issue # 64
January 26, 2002
I've Changed the Way I Part My Hair!

By Rich Wilhelm

I've got a very special and important announcement:

I've changed the way I part my hair!

I find this to be a tremendously exciting change in my life, so I wanted to tell you all about it, since the next time you see me, you'll inevitably think to yourself, "Something's changed about Rich. Has he gained/lost weight? Gotten a tattoo? I don't know but something is different."

I did this with very little premeditated thought. I'm taking chances again and, frankly, I love it!

It happened two mornings ago. I stepped out of the shower, looked at my face in the mirror, and thought to myself, in much the same way famed singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow once did, "A change would do me good." But, what?

After standing there for about six hours, it finally occurred to me. My hair. I'd do something different to my hair.

Given the history of my hair, this was indeed a daring thought. I've rarely ever changed my hairstyle and when I have, the results have usually been catastrophic. In fact, since I can count on one hand the changes my hair has been through, let me lead you through them now:

1965-late 1970s--The Dad Cuts My Hair Years. During my childhood, my dad cut my hair, using a standard issue '60s-era electric clipper and a pair of scissors to get the details. I've got no complaints from those years. I don't remember having any hair trauma as a child, though I think I was a pretty squirmy customer for my dad. Father/son bonding aside, I think both of us were usually happy when the latest cut was complete.

1978-1980--The Unfortunate Disco Haircut Years. I'll admit it. I was unduly influenced by the disco music phenomena that swept the USA during the last few years of the Carter Administration. However, since I was too young to actually go to Studio 54 and party with Halston, Bianca, Andy, and the rest, I had to be content to listen to my Village People albums at home and go to our very occasional school dances, where I could distinguish myself as being one of the only boys in my class who would dance along to the fast tunes. Oh, and my hair. I could begin to part my hair down the middle (rather than on the left). So, as Donna Summer is my witness, that's what I did, for about two years. These were not Dad cuts, but they weren't barber shop cuts either--during this time my mom was taking me to the stylist where she got her hair cut.

There are many embarassing photos of my disco cut, and maybe I'll post one here someday. But anybody who knew me in ninth grade would certainly remember it. In a perverse way, it was the best hairstyle I could have had at the time, since it went so well with my brand-new, oversized glasses, my acne-pockmocked face and my "heroin-chic" thinness, which was 15 years ahead of its time.

Circa 1986--The "My God, What Have I Done?" College Perm. After disco faded, I reverted to my "short, parted on the left" standard. This lasted throughout the rest of high school and through my first two years of college. But, then...

It's almost too horrible to relate.

I wish I could say that I got really drunk one night and woke up with a "body wave" perm, but that would be a lie. I was stone cold sober when I got a body wave perm during college. I was apparently out of my mind, but not under the influence.

I think the basic idea was just to get a little life into my reliable, but unexciting hairstyle. So I got a body wave. The sad thing is, there's no way to deny it, since it was recorded in my newspaper column photo in the Temple News week after week for at least two semesters.

I was also heavily involved in hair mousse at the time. Let's move on now, I just can't talk about this anymore.

Late '80s-Early '90s--Post-Perm years. During this time I returned to normal, though my hair was probably a little longer than it had been. Donna tells me that when she met me in late 1990, my hair was pretty much the way it is now, but longer and little shaggier.

There was one Bad Haircut that happened within the first couple years of getting married. An over-enthusiastic stylist gave me a "bowl" cut once, shaving the back of my head and just generally making me look like a high school football player. Which is fine, if you happen to be a high school football player. Embarassing, but it grew back after a few months.

Mid-'90s--The Karl's Haircut Years. For a few years, I went to an old German barber on Rising Sun Avenue. He gave me the standard haircut, but cut it so short that even my dad made fun of me. I liked Karl though--I got the feeling that, in some good ways, his shop had not changed much since he had opened it, whenever that was.

This brings us up-to-date. Since moving to Phoenixville, I've experimented with a barber or two, but have discovered that the folks at the local Hair Cuttery really cut a nice head of hair. So, I've been sticking with them, and with my traditional cut.

All that changed two days ago, when I looked in the mirror and decided that a change was in order. So I just did it. I parted my hair on the right.

I'm happy to report that, so far, this hairstyle change has met with gratifyingly positive reviews. Donna thinks it's fine. You know, it's a nice change, but nothing too radical. I also announced at lunch with my co-workers yesterday that I had changed my part. Each of them said that they'd noticed this change, but had not commented, since they weren't sure whether it was intentional, a particularly bad case of "bed-head," or whether I was interpreting "casual day" to mean "casual hair day" as well. I think my co-workers planned on perhaps commenting on it, after a week or so, when they figured it was an intentional hairstyle change and not some "one day only" anomaly. But, once my co-workers knew the hair change was intentional, their comments were also quite positive.

I have to say also, that I'm still in an experimetal phase about this, and will be until I say to the next person who cuts my hair, "Part it on the right this time." When I do that (and I'm increasingly confident that I will), then it will be an official hairstyle change

Since I am, as I said, so thrilled by this big change in my life, I felt like I had to write and tell you all. But that's not all! I also "burned" a new mix CD, I've Changed The Way I Part My Hair, which I'm going to post on the Art of the Mix website (www.artofthemix.com--you can look up mixes I've posted under my "mixer name," which is "DJ Jimmysdad"). It's got great hair-related songs on it like Elvis Costello's "Baby's Got a Brand New Hairdo," Beck's "Devil's Haircut," and Prince's "She's Always In My Hair," as well as Sheryl Crow's "A Change Will Do You Good." It's just another great way to get the word out that I've changed the way I part my hair.

I hope you like The New Me!

(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print a hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2001 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing, please let me know so I can sue you or something.)

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