Friday, March 07, 2008
And, speaking of human enhancement, do not, gentlemen, dye your hair. The matter of male hair dye has intruded on almost every conversation I have had recently. It even came up in relation to Nick Cave's new album. Each of my interlocutors has retreated, traumatised, in the face of my vehement opposition to the artificial colouring of the ageing male's hair. It doesn't matter with women - they start dying their hair soon after they're born. For them, the process has been normalised. Older rock stars like Cave are expected not to look quite right. But a hair dyer who is neither female nor a rock star is an abomination. They never look right. This is partly because they always get the colour wrong. I have seen wealthy, prominent grandees who look like Duracell batteries - copper-coloured top - and ordinary drones with lined faces surmounted by improbably black mops. Some think they can mitigate the worst effects by 'leaving a little grey around the temples'. This, of course, makes matters worse by establishing a stark and deeply implausible contrast. But chromatic ineptitude is not the only issue. Dyed hair always, for some reason, makes men look older, an effect that rapidly descends into grotesquerie as the years go by. Also I cannot get over the rather old-fashioned idea that it is not a masculine thing to do. Men should face the body's rotting with a heroic chin, a glass of whisky, a good book and a wry smile, not with a bottle of Grecian 2000.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:25 am