For my day job I spend a lot of time in Shoreditch, east London. Shoreditch is the capital of the hipster culture. It is the epicentre of beard. Shoreditch is to beard what Cornwall is to pasties.
I don’t really have a beard. I have a face with hair that is just as old as the last time I shaved. I mean, I don’t cultivate a beard. I just use clippers to cut the hair every 10 days or so. After day 9 or 10 it gets scratchy and I have to start the growth process again. It’s just a part of my body that grows and then gets cut and then grows again. If I have a beard then Tony Blair has morality: sometimes there and sometimes not.
But I also have hair on the top of my head. It goes down the sides and round the back too. My dealings with this hair are similar to those with my beard hair. It grows, then it’s cut. Repeat. A friend recently recommended how I could cut my hair a little bit differently to improve how I look. It was a minor alteration, so I gave the instructions to my barber, who incidentally supports capital punishment.
Even though I don’t have much time for either my facial hair or the hair on the top of my head, other people have been paying them attention. These are people who are not even part of me—not connected to my body in any way—but they’ve got opinions on my body. That’s fine and lovely I guess. But it leaves me in a quandary when I think about what my life would be like if I made an effort to design the various bits of growth on my head and face.
I visit the barber far less frequently than I shave my face. So here’s the rub. Am I supposed to coordinate?
It is now three weeks after the last barber visit. My head-hair is probably the perfect length right now. (Of course I’ll go another two months before seeing the barber again, to make sure I don’t spend too much money on something as boring as hair.) But my facial hair is getting scratchy. It’s well over a week since the last purge. I’ll probably grab the clippers tomorrow morning and sheer it all off. I’ll be pressing the restart button on my face.
And then—oh crap!—everything will be out of sync. I’ll have brilliant head-hair, let down only by my clean chin. I’ll be top-heavy. Mr Potato Head with a hat and no shoes. I’ll be a strange modern man: hair but no beard. Kids in Shoreditch will eat me for breakfast. No, worse: they’ll tell me to go and hang out in Clerkenwell or Canary Wharf. Oh crap. I don’t want to have to go to Canary Wharf. Not even for cancer surgery.
Do people who care about their hair and their beard actually coordinate? Do they plan their lives to make sure they get both to be the right length at the right time? Only for weddings and special occasions? Or all the time?
I’m totally confused. I’m a modern man who uses Google Calendar to plan his life. I even colour coordinate events in my Google Calendar. I set reminders. But this idea of coordinating bits of my body is terrifying. How can I walk down Shoreditch High Street with these thoughts in my pretty little head?