Hair Today, Dye Tomorrow

Hair Today, Dye Tomorrow

I’m not a punster; I am somewhat reluctant to foist my leaden and wholly obvious jests on an innocent public. My daughter, however, is both irrepressible and gifted. I’d give her credit for some of her best, but the loosely meshed trawling net that passes for a brain has perfected an easy-in, easy-out memory cleansing swirl that leaves me wondering why I am standing in front of the toaster. Recovering witticisms? Not today.

You have to believe me when I tell you I have heard some crackerjack puns, none of which are accessible at the moment, but uncertain imagination informs me that a good pun elevates the speaker and her audience. Puns clearly have their place, but is that place in the naming of hair salons, dog grooming boutiques, and tawdry motels? There are, of course, the good, the bad, and the unspeakable at play on business signs. Let’s start with the building blocks: Salons have two rich sources, hair and the tools used to do something with hair. Dog groomers have dogs, their breeds, their body parts, and things that dogs do. Motels and restaurants, well, I guess the gloves are off when it comes to them; anything goes. 

The number of “Dew Drop Inns” in America is both incalculable and inevitable. “Auto Stay Here”, “No Place Bedder” “, just sad. I came across a pretty nifty motel somewhere in the southern Berkshires of Massachusetts, “The Arms of Morpheus”. Classy, classic, and intellectually challenging enough to demand immediate check-in. Well done! Slicker and sadder motel spawn in somewhat the same vein – “Cupid Villa”. Once seen, not forgotten, however, an unwanted conundrum raises questions not worth asking. 

Let’s get back to hair with a slight jog into unnecessary and overwrought celebrity hair talk. I haven’t thought much about “The Slap Heard Around the World”, although a quick scan of those banned from the Oscars (all men) raises more doubts than certainties – Adam Kimmel (registered sex offender), Richard Gere (practicing Tibetan Buddhist who criticized China, Harvey Weinstein (serial rapist), Carmine Caridi (pirated Academy scanners), Bill Cosby (serial rapist) and Will Smith (slapper). Of the many unanswered questions jostling for space in my shrinking brain, why Chris Rock, whose documentary, Good Hair, a treatise on how Black women have perceived their hair, a documentary sparked by Rock’s three-year-old daughter’s question -”Why don’t I have good hair?” – that Chris Rock, would take a shot at Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia? 

Fine. Unanswered questions abound.

An incomplete list of salon puns would fill this space and spill into the next five editions of the Impractical Cogitator, but even a slight foray into the world of salon wit demonstrates the fluency of language. As I begin to gather some of the most evocative examples, I have to wonder why other enterprises wallow in bland uniformity.

The obvious and inevitable place to start is with “hair puns”, a genre I did not imagine exploring, and yet …

Hair Today, Hair Today and Gone Tomorrow, Hair and There, Hairphernalia, Hair Loom, Hairanoia, Hairway to Heaven, Thairapy, A Breath of Fresh Hair, Heroes and Hairoines, Millionhairs, Vanity Hair, Hair When You Need It, Hairforce One, The Hair Port, Hairs Johnny, Hair Apparent, Hair-O-Dynamics, Hair We Are Again, Hairely Human, Hair-O-Space, The Gang’s All Hair, and an oddly personalized greeting – Fancy Meeting You, Hair!

Not even close to finished with that category, but, wait! There’s more.

A couple of generative homonyms, “sheer” and “shear” throw open wide the gates of invention. So, “sheer” can mean diaphanous, essentially see-through, and also unmitigated/utter (The sheer brazen dishonesty of some politicians is stunning) and precipitous (They faced the sheer face of the cliff with some distress). Obviously, “shear” is the action of clipping off the wool of something, well, wooly.

Let’s go!

Shear Madness, Shear Heaven, Shear Joy, Shear Luck, Shear Delight, Shear Determination, Shear Chance, Shear Variety, Shear Amazement … and so on. Of course, true wit is not confined by standard usage, thus, Shearlock Homes. 

The following enterprises are real, do exist, are open right now, and charge for whatever services they provide:

Che Bangs – Probably not a shout out to Che Guevara, maybe invoking Ricky Martin’s She Bangs. Bangs being associated with hair?

Lunatic Fringe – So, crazy good? 

Hair Today, Dye Tomorrow – Always good to suggest mortality in any commercial venture.

Anita Haircut – Let’s hope someone named Anita is involved at some level.

Julius Scissor – OK, let’s give credit for a classical reference, but knowing the general state of cultural literacy in the republic at the moment, can’t we assume this will be confused with Orange Julius?

Jack The Clipper – Not as off putting as The Rape of the Lock (mock heroic poem by Alexander Pope), but close, close. 

Equally menacing? I’ll Cut You.

Headonism – This one is interesting. The pitch is in the class of services located in faux boho, self-deprecating, pricey, shabby chic niche neighborhoods. West Hollywood – “WeHo”? Mission District? Wicker Park? Not my neck of the woods.

I live in a small town that presents three major styling options: The Hair Loft, peterdominic salon and spa, and Hair Gallery at the Mill. I don’t know Peter or Dominic, but they seem to share (and maybe shear) nicely. This is or was farm country, so the Hair Loft is like “Hay Loft” but … you know. I think of a “gallery” as an exhibition space, but whatever they do at the Mill is probably not what I might expect.

My son cuts my hair. I sit outside on a stool as he torches up the clippers, starts at the front and sweeps through whatever vestiges of hair I bring to him. Should he wish to go public, there seems only one appropriate name left.

Hair’s Looking At You, Kid.

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