bskewl

Wharts and All: Blogging the Full-Time MBA Program at the Wharton School

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Disobedient Barber Triggers Quarter-Life Crisis [Edit 2]

While traveling through the outback of Ohio on business, I stopped into a small-town barbershop to have some of the jungle atop my head trimmed back, just a little. First mistake.

My thrice-repeated instructions to "leave the length alone, just even it out" apparently never registered with the geriatric who wielded the clippers. Before I could stop him, he cut a swath right through the middle of my manly mane. I yelped, but he didn't even turn off the clippers as I voiced my displeasure in words that would make a Brooklyn cabbie blush. Second mistake.

Let me tell you something I learned: no matter how much swearing you do, you will not look tough when you've got a gown around you and a big patch of scalp showing through on one side of your head. Should you ever find yourself in this situation, just let it go. Let it go, or the old men and rednecks who tend to hang in and around barber shops will have a very merry chuckle at your expense.

I guess he thought I was some kind of sissy and that he was doing me a favor by imposing an extreme buzz cut on me. He probably believed he was saving me from a life of faggoting and gallivanting about in my Sodom to the Northeast.

What does this have to do with business school? I could spin this into a parable about the customer always being right (except when he's wrong). I could talk about educators who—like the barber—believe they know what's best for us and who sometimes impose their will on us to our detriment.

But what this really represents is a loss of youth and an important transition. My hair was a visible "fuck you" to the business establishment because it wasn't the norm. It was my rebel signature. Now, however, I look like every other cookie-cutter corporate sonofabitch when I put on my suit and tie for work.

Unsavory choices from here. Do I attempt to wear my identity on my sleeve via some other visual (Tattoos? Versace? Nose piercing?) Or do I just let it go, and acknowledge the fact that I've inched that much closer to the demographic that people my age were once warned never to trust?

Next thing you know, I'll propose to a girl. Or turn 30! Or both. All of this on top of a corporate job and an MBA from Wharton might be too much for my rebellious heart to take. I feel like I've fallen asleep on a moving conveyor belt that's steadily bringing me closer and closer to violent, malevolently glinting machines that will chop me up, melt me down and pour me out into a Wharton-shaped mold. The conveyor belt will then carry me past Dean Harker's station and he'll pop me out of the mold, brush me off, slap an "inspected by PTH" sticker on my ass, and shove me out the door. I won't be a new man. I'll be a new old man.

Edit 1: redid last paragraph to make it less sucky
Edit 2: minor words added and removed

32 Comments:

Blogger britchick said...

I'd go with piercings - cheaper than Versace and less permanent than tattoos. And IMHO there's nothing like turning 30 for bringing out your innner rebel (although I did the conventional and settled thing in my 20's, which might explain it.)

3/16/2005 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger bskewl said...

Well, thankfully I'm still a few years off from my third decade of life, but I will have to look into this piercings thing. Problem is, the piercing i most want to get is also the least visible. I need a statement that says, "I'm not dead yet!"

3/16/2005 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous tanya said...

Great post! Made me laugh:)
However, you can always make a statement with your clothes! Think about it:)

3/16/2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger chanakya said...

they can make you wear a coat and tie, talk consultant crap, and shorten your hair. what they can't touch is the attitude that you have in cartloads.

in the end, it can be even more fun when you look like you fit in at first glance.

3/16/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger FMGirl said...

what's wrong with being 30? and it's officially not 30 anymore, it's 20-10 And I have a secret for you - lean in close here - your hair will grow back. I know the 3-4 months to grow it out will be hard, but you can do it. I believe in you.

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