Yesterday Kish and I were at an event, and seated two rows ahead of us was an old guy in his 60s with long gray hair. I mean, really long hair. It cascaded past his shoulders and shoulder blades, and the longest strands probably reached the middle of his back.
And, like seemingly every human being who has long hair, he couldn’t keep his hands off of it. As he put his arm around his lady friend with his right hand, he would use his left hand to do the casual hair-flip-off-the-shoulders move that teenage girls perfected in high school. Sometimes he would smooth down the hair, which had the oily sheen that you often see with long hair, and other times he would gather his gray locks in both hands, like he was going to put it into a pony tail, only to let fall like a sheet of gray, hairy rain behind his seat.
This guy obviously thought that he was just about the coolest person in the place with that long gray hair.
Other people, though . . . not so much. The poor woman sitting right behind him had to deal with that scraggly gray-haired waterfall, with all of its fidgety flips and drops and adjustments, intruding on her personal space. I couldn’t help but notice that, when she shifted position to cross her legs, she very carefully maneuvered to avoid having her shoe or pant leg make contact with even a single gray hair fiber.
Why? Because most people don’t want to touch or interact with other people’s long hair. And while we might tolerate it in self-absorbed high school girls or members of heavy metal hair bands or Indian gurus or photos of gunfighters from the 1880s, when it’s one of those old guys who is desperately clinging to pretensions of youth, all a polite person can do is roll his eyes and wonder at some people’s apparently endless capacity for self-deception.
Unfortunately, the old guy long hair look is all too common. Aging Baby Boomer guys just can’t tolerate the notion that they aren’t young anymore, I guess. They can’t control most of the ravages of age — but they can control the length of their hair. They want people to understand immediately that, even though they now look like their grandfathers, they are still cool and at the cutting edge of society, and they think long hair communicates that. But of course, it doesn’t. Long hair on an old guy doesn’t look cool. It doesn’t make them look young, either. Instead, it’s kind of pathetic.
C’mon, Baby Boomer guys . . . you’re old. Stop embarrassing yourselves! It’s finally time to act your age.