independent

Monday 11 December 2017

Hard truth is it's hair today, gone tomorrow

SHEA TOMKINS

I RARELY FIND reason to sympathise with the monstrously talented being that is Wayne Rooney. In a nutshell, he is a strapping young man enjoying rude health and currently bulldozing his way through the Premier League dream.

He has a left and right foot that earn him millions each year and a wife and kid that, from the distance, appear to adore him. It's fair to say that Rooney has pretty much everything going for him, except that it is, a full head of hair. Proof for the theory that there are some things that even €250,000 a week can't buy. Or can't it?

Last week, the Manchester United striking wizard tweeted some images of the results of his recent hair transplant. The scars remaining on his head after the procedure suggested he endured pain. Judging by his eagerness to introduce the rest of us to the new crop of follicles, he obviously deems the discomfort well worth it. Vanity, after all, feels no pain.

I met a young girl from Limerick a few years back that had one rule when it came to men and hair; any man that took longer than her to fix his hair in the morning would immediately get the flick. In her opinion, men are not supposed to care.

The cycle of an Irishman's hair-life generally runs as follows. As a kid, it towers like a haystack, until the child's eyes can no longer be seen. Then, and only then, is he brought to the barber. During his teenage years he allows his hair to grow long and shaggy, until the novelty wears off, as he nears his twenties. From the late twenties onwards, it's usually a short back and sides plus a tidy-up on top, or blade one all over. All carried out with minimum fuss, and a newspaper on the lap.

Rooney, through his latest escapade in personal grooming, has proven that some men care more about their appearance than others. Bearing this in mind, I present to you five different male celebrities that are remembered for their trend-setting hairstyles. Perhaps you, or someone you know, followed their examples, back in the day.

Jason Priestley: In the 1990s Priestley, through his role as Brandon Walsh in Beverly Hills 90210, resurrected the James Dean look for a new generation of quiffers, while Luke Perry was his able sidekick. Mothers shook their heads in despair as their boys sprouted unruly sidelocks, and once again the Elvis look was back in fashion. The downside to this look was the amount of gel and blow drying involved; not practical when a herd needed milking before catching the school bus. A matter the residents of Beverly Hills didn't really have to worry about.

Kurt Cobain: It may be hard to believe now as he sits, clean shaven, at the kitchen table supping on a Latte and poring over the daily newspaper, but there's a strong chance that the middle-aged guy you are co-habiting with was once a grunger. Greasy hair, split in the middle and stopping at neck length, this look was inspired by the former Nirvana frontman. If there was ever an image to sum up teenage angst or apathy, then this was it. The flop mop also helped to conceal yellow-headed spots.

Eric Cantona: The shaven head. On February 15, 1995, I decided to have my head shaven for the first time - what bad timing. That night, English soccer hooligans tore up the seats of the old Lansdowne Road during a friendly with the national side, and fired bits of the stadium at each other for kicks. With this new thuggish look I fitted right in, as those around me never let me forget. Cantona's shaven head was replicated by thousands of Manchester United fans; the ultimate tribute to a true terrace favourite. The closest good boys and yobs come to having something in common.

Liam and Noel Gallagher: Brit Pop exploded in the early 1990s. However, it wasn't until the Gallagher brothers arrived on the scene, in the summer of 1994, that mainstream Britain adopted the brushed-forward look in its hoards. It subsequently caught fire over here. One of the most annoying haircuts you might see on a chap, and a style that only really the Gallaghers could carry off with any sense of authenticity. Authentic, that was, if it hadn't all been done before.

YOU CAN BET ON IT! David Beckham: Where do you start with Beckham and his many hairy reincarnations? I suppose the most memorable, and ridiculous, was the Mohawk, which died down just as quickly as it was raised. You get the feeling that there's life in Mr. Posh's mop yet and when he eventually returns to Britain (more than likely later this year), the Beckham image machine will roar into its last throes of life.

In a move that suggests Irish people will actually bet on anything, Paddy Power has organised a gambling market for the this year's Leaving Certificate. A modernday take on the age-old problem of cheating, they offer 7/4 that a student will be caught 'chweeting' (ie using their phones to tweet for answers). They have girls at odds of 1/20 to outshine the boys results-wise but it is the market that speculates over which county will produce the cleverest person, that makes for most interesting reading.

Dublin is favourite to give us the next Einstein at 3/1; Kerry at 7/1; Wexford 14/1; Wicklow 16/1; Louth 20/1 and Carlow at 50/1. And what colour will the brainiest student have? Brown is evens, while blonde comes in at 8/1, with pink holding it up at the bottom of the market, at 25/1. Has Paddy Power bought into the saying that blondes have more fun, even in their late teens? Worth a tenner, I think, just to find out.

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