October 27, 2010

Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Fohawk

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I find it quite ridiculous that despite the copious amount of barbershops and hair salons, it is absolutely, without a doubt, physically impossible to get a descent haircut in Ithaca.  Every time I get a haircut here, I swear on everything good and holy that no matter how desperate I am, no matter my mullet state, I will never again allow the butchers of Ithaca to grace their inadequate scissors with my hair.

I recently lost my seemingly nonexistent resolve yet again, decided that it was just hair after all and went to get my hair cut in Collegetown.  I walked into an incredibly pretentious hair “salon,” sat down and asked the barber to cut my sides really short and leave the top relatively long so I could have a fohawk when the mood suited me.  For some inexplicable reason, if you ask an Ithacan barber to give you a fohawk , they’ll look at you as if you had used the terms salon and barbershop interchangeably (they are exactly the same thing, barbers need to relax).  This barber was no different and midway through my experience after I apologized for being so picky with my hair, the barber stopped, looked at me through the mirror and said, “It’s one thing to be picky and it’s another thing to disagree with a professional haircutter.  Fohawks are not the kind of style that we generally debase ourselves to at this establishment.”  I’m convinced that this particular barber had taken his lunch in the alcoholic form. Either way, I will say it again, barbers need to relax.

The truth is though, that Ithacan haircutters are not the only ones who believe that the fohawk is the most ungodly thing to happen to hair since the rat tail. The fohawk, short for faux hawk, is derived from the classic 80’s rocker hit, the Mohawk. It is similar to the Mohawk, except that the sides of the head are just kept shorter then the top and not shaved off, while the top is generally wider and not as long as that of a traditional Mohawk.  It has become very popular over the last few years and has been donned to various extents by the likes of David Beckham, Adam Levine and Jude Law.  So why then do many consider the fohawk to be the biggest hair related sign of an asshole known to man?  For some, the fohawk is the cowards attempt to emulate the anti-conformist nature of the Mohawk, while not being willing to go through with it all the way.  Others see it as a sign of the hipster attempting to separate himself from the norm in an incredibly pretentious manner.  The rest just think it looks really, really stupid.

As for myself, I have to admit that I hesitated to jump on the fohawk wagon for some time.  At the very least, this particular hairstyle causes attention, whether positive or negative, and will frequently be commented upon by anyone who sees you with it.  When I went home after getting my first fohawk, my mom started to gag, while my sister started screaming and told me I was no longer her brother.  Pretty harsh reactions to a haircut.  Some of my friends’ responses were not much better and I believe the word “tool” was thrown around for quite some time.

Eventually I came to really embrace the fohawk and I now stand by it full heartedly. I realized that if I began to act based upon the reactions and thoughts of others, my individuality and self respect would forever be compromised.  More importantly though, I was really bored with my hair and there are not a ton of interesting things you can do with straight hair that doesn’t involve a tremendous amount of upkeep.  I wake up about five minutes before I hightail it to class and I do not have time to start seriously dealing with my hair beyond a quick glob of product and some rapid hand movements.  Admittedly, I also do like that it makes me stick out a little and it is a good conversation starter.  It’s always a fun time explaining why you intentionally decided to form your hair into such an admittedly ridiculous shape, especially when your talking to your parents more conservative friends.  Finally, ever since Bebop rocked something very similar to a fohawk in the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons, I have thought it was the coolest possible thing you can do with your hair.  Considering Bebop was a thug and an actual hog, I don’t think his hair was intended to be emulated.  My four-year-old self seemingly missed that part.

In the end, like many things, the fohawk is all about being yourself and doing whatever it is you choose to do with uninhibited confidence.  If your not self-confidant and over think it too much your going to become uncomfortable and your not going to have an enjoyable time.  The fohawk done properly is a lot of fun to wear and adds spice and even a little bit of style to your appearance.  True, the amount of random people under the wings of alcohol who have initiated fights with me has greatly increased since the commencement of my fohawk stage .  But if hair is not worth throwing a couple of punches for, then honestly, friends what is.

Original Author: Noah Plaue