Do Yourself a Favor, Lose the Ponytail
BY JUSTIN CASE
Something needs to be said. We’ve all danced around it for far too long, not wanting to hurt anybody’s feelings. Certain things work, and certain things don’t. Plaids and stripes come to mind—they don’t work. Fingernails on a blackboard don’t work either. Catherine Zeta-Jones on the other hand—let’s just say there are things we can agree upon.
One of the things that definitely does not work (and which at this stage in the progress of nations must be addressed) is that gray scraggly thing some post middle-age men try to pass off as a ponytail. Oh, the humanity. It ranks right up there with the comb over and the mullet—and you, the guys who wear them, are being called on your stuff. In case we’re not being clear, please get this—it doesn’t work, you’re not a nineteen year-old hippy anymore, your hair is thin and gray, and your ponytail doesn’t cover up that bald spot on the back of your head the way you think it does.
Sorry guys, but a little tough love is in order. Try adopting a hairstyle befitting your age and station in life. When you do, miracles will happen (get a haircut and you’ll see). People will come out of the woodwork to compliment you on how handsome and dapper you look. The sad fact is they’ve been wanting to tell you to lose the ponytail since 1986, but couldn’t bring themselves to do it. Don’t be surprise to find this publication left on your coffee table, perhaps on your breakfast counter, casually left open to the page you are now reading, a less than subtle hint that that anemic little pelt slithering down the nape of your neck should go the way of Brillcream and Hoola Hoops. It’s not only out of style, my friend, it’s out of the question.
Every rule, though, has it’s exceptions. Some will find solace in this, but not for long. Certain graying, over-fortyish men can have ponytails. One category, however, precludes you from being one of these people by time, the other most likely by race. Only two kinds of older men can wear ponytails with dignity—eighteenth century blacksmiths, and Indians. If you’re not one of these, don’t apply for a variance with the hair authority.
If you think about it, you will see how both of these individuals make a ponytail work. The blacksmith from the 1700s ties his hair in a miniature ponytail as he pounds hot iron on his anvil. His masculinity isn’t in question (nor his sense of style), as his hairdo is functional given the nature of his work and the shortage of barbers in his day. Others like him may also sport ponytails—Paul Revere, Thomas Jefferson—men of insight, men in granite, whose cosmic vibrations transmit through their slightly longer than usual locks.
Indians can also wear ponytails. One reason is, they don’t go bald. Their hair is thick and suitable to the ponytail, and they’re Indians for cryin’ out loud. Other Indians can wear ponytails too—Maharishis.
Unless you’re an eastern holy man, Native American, or Thomas Jefferson, you’re disqualified from wearing a ponytail after a certain age and bring shame upon yourself for doing so. But what’s that you say? Still reluctant to take the plunge? Still hanging on to the notion that if it worked for Jefferson it could work for you? Well, Senator, Thomas Jefferson was a friend of mine—and Senator… The point is, until they carve you in stone or put you on money, you can’t pull it off—sorry. So stop trying.
The advice from this quarter (advice to be heeded), is to stop mumbling that old Crosby, Stills, Nash song, Almost Cut My Hair, and just do it. Visit your barber for the first time in 30 years. Tell him you’ve come to your senses, that you’re coming in from the cold, that nobody likes you out there because of your hair. Tell him anything you like, man, but for the sake of all that is good and decent, get a haircut.