What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Monday, January 21, 2008

On the Aerodynamics of Hair

This post is in response to a request from Frederic, who is a gentleman (as well as a scholar) known for combing his hair in the shape of a fin.

What do aviation engineers, swimmers, and race car drivers have in common? They all appreciate the importance of aerodynamics. Aerodynamics involve the travel of liquids and gases across a surface. Poor aerodynamic design means high drag and high friction, which make plane trips more expensive and slow down swimmers and racers.

But maybe people don't realize the effect of aerodynamics in their day-to-day lives - unless they're in a strong wind and feel themselves being pushed over. Aerodynamics effect you every time you get up to walk by increasing the effort it takes to move. If your profile isn't sleek, air will push against you rather than slide past you, meaning you aren't walking efficiently.

I realized this one day when I walked up a flight of stairs. As I lay gasping for air at the top, I realized that I was not doing everything possible to reduce my effort load. My hair (which had grown quite nicely since that unfortunate incident last year, thank you) was really slowing me down.

Now you'll remember that I vowed (after said unfortunate incident) never to cut my hair again. I had stayed more or less faithful to my vow. I tend to stay more or less faithful to all my vows. More or less. Note the word less.

Moving on.

By now, my hair was almost where I wanted it. Another month or two and I could have tied it behind my neck and been all: "Look at me. I'm awesome." But I decided that fashion choice wasn't nearly as important as aerodynamics. The hair had to go! And I had other reasons, too - the desire to have some sort of jarring physical chance to separate myself from 2007 (which, for those of you who are new to FCN, was a tough year); the lack of a mental filter to control my impulses; running out of hair gel - deep stuff like that.

So I wended my way to the old Vietnamese place at the corner. It took about five minutes to convince the barberette that I wanted it all off.

"Zero? No! No. Your hair so nice. And it so cold outside! You freeze. No. Really? All? [LAUGHS] Oh, no. But you so handsome now! Such nice hair. Shave it not handsome any more!"

Eventually she consented, and, after ten minutes and five different buzzing machines, my hair, which I used to be able to pull down to my mouth, was gone forever. I went to the nearest men's restroom expecting to have a good cry over the loss of my hair. Instead, I found I couldn't stop giggling. Losing the hair was a bit of a relief. It felt awesome. And I liked the way I looked. I decided that if shaving the head felt so good, there was no reason to stop.

An hour later, I had shaved my face, which had previously held a badly maintained Richelieu ripoff. Now I was getting aerodynamic. Bring the wind and the rain. My head wasn't going to stop it. But I figured that, having started, I might as well finish the job. Shaving my eyebrows proved harder than I thought. The eye reacts negatively to having something so close. It was kind of like putting contacts in your eyes for the first time. Only instead of contacts, it was a razor. But the final product was definitely worth it. I felt almost wind tunnel ready. There was only one thing missing.

So I shaved my eyelashes.


Anonymous said...

Upload a picture!!!!!

Matthew said...

I second the motion. You're amazing.

Anonymous said...

Proof, of what? That most of what you say is lie mixed with truth?

Ah well, I can take it as long as it is funny.