Crazy Hairdressers & Evolutionary Theory

I hope you understand the seriousness of the situation when I say that my hair stylist for the last few years — the wonderful Holly at J. Allen — is moving away next month. I adore Holly. She’s the only hairdresser I’ve had as an adult that: a)doesn’t do something weird with my hair that makes me want to wash it immediately upon leaving and b)isn’t completely batshit crazy.

For awhile there, every stylist I saw turned out to be a little too crazy for comfort. There was Joseph, a sweet small-town gay guy who was fabulous at first but then had back surgery and found religion. To be honest, he was always kind of crazy. The first time I saw him, he told me in a whisper that he was "a little bit psychic." His religious conversion came after he was able to pray away his back pain (or could it have been that the surgery was successful?). He could talk of nothing else and was a bore on the topic of my immortal soul. I stopped going there.

The next stylist had probably better remain anonymous, since his salon bears his name. Anyway, things were so far, so good — until the topic somehow came around to evolution. He was one of those "I cannot understand how people believe that we came from apes, isn’t that stupid?" types. How this is polite conversation to make with a client I still don’t understand. I believe my response was a horrified: "Oh, I don’t know. I could show you some pictures of politicians that would convince you." I stopped going there.

Anyway, the NYT has a fascinating article today on the latest insights into just how humanlike chimpanzees really are:

Chimps display a remarkable range of behavior and talent. They make and use simple tools, hunt in groups and engage in aggressive, violent acts. They are social creatures that appear to be capable of empathy, altruism, self-awareness, cooperation in problem solving and learning through example and experience. Chimps even outperform humans in some memory tasks.

I plan to bring up this article for discussion early on in the appointment with my new stylist, just in case she’s hiding some sort of anti-science proclivity. Which pretty much guarantees she’ll think of me as the crazy client who talks about chimps and evolutionary theory. Oh well.

The price of a good haircut is ever steeper.

p.s. Christopher — in this instance serving the role of guinea pig — reports that evolution was not mentioned during his haircut.

3 thoughts on “Crazy Hairdressers & Evolutionary Theory”

  1. I had a student tell me yesterday that she didn’t believe in evolution because apes have hair all over and it’s so obvious that humans don’t. I stared at her and blinked for a couple of moments before pointing to the door and saying, “Oh, you really have to go to another class for that.”

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