Boy, is my hair wrong for this assignment.
I have really, really short hair. When the Hollywood studio heads got scalped, I knew it was only a matter of time before I followed suit. In matters of personal grooming, Jeffrey Katzenberg, above, is my God.
But short hair doesn’t work here in Kansas City. Matrons are giving me a wide berth at the mall. Kids stare at me. Security guards are giving me hard stares. This hair cut worked ok in Boston and Seattle but here it is some kind of flag of protest, or confession of imbalance. Let’s keep an eye on this one, the locals say. Plainly, he’s a nut bar.
It reminds me of research in Shanghai about 10 years ago. Every time I turned around, I would catch a woman checking me out. In this case, the object of their attention was my clothing. Shanghai was once and is once more the style center of China. Women there are happy to gather fashion news from any source, even a slightly geeky Westerner. I was happy to be a “diffusion agent.” They also serve, who merely get dressed and go out. And frankly Shanghai is one of the few places on the planet where an anthropologist can serve at all.
But in Kansas City, I am apparently too far ahead of the curve, too “out there.” This is not the Shanghai of America but the Cheng Du, happy to wait a little longer to get the news. Here my Hollywod hair is just plain odd.
For God sake, someone tell Jeffrey.