Crise de Cheveux

“I love it!” Said my Mother. “You look so Italian.”

But Mom, we’re Greek, remember?

“It’s very boy-ish,” said another friend.

“It’s a mane! You have wonderful hair,” says the exuberant Mrs. E. .

“You’re not wearing your glasses,” an actor friend noticed. “You really should, you know.”

I’m in the middle of a full-blown style conundrum. I’ve reached that age where people prefer me with glasses rather than without and with longer hair, rather than the classic “short-sides-and-back.” I suppose the glasses and hair distract from my rapidly expanding middle-aged waist.

So, I’m torn. Those of you who subscribe to the horoscopes will find it no shock that I am a Gemini and chalk it up to a split personality. And, to some extent, that’s true.

Certainly the longer hair is easier to deal with. Yes, it requires more work at first, but then it’s off to the races and don’t give it a second thought. Longer hair also seems to look better with the two-day beard. Perhaps the stubble (I refuse to succumb to the full-blown Barry Gibb) makes me look less feminine. It is a more “up-to-date” look for a guy who has never been concerned with fashion.

I don’t really have a public persona — no client meetings to attend, speeches to give, that sort of thing, so the hair/stubble isn’t a career killer. But I’ve always been clean-shaven and more neatly groomed. Well, since college anyway. Besides, I prefer the aesthetic of the “golden age of men’s wear,” the 1930’s. I even envy the man in the grey flannel suit as played by everyone from Fred Astaire to Cary Grant, Gary Cooper to … well John Hamm.

So I’m torn. There’s this kind of a look (And that is a very fair representation of the length of my hair at the moment…..) that people (women, really) find appealing on me.

(All photos of Mr. Dempsey via

Which leads me to this side of me: our man in grey flannel.

Grant as Roger Thornhill via

Grant as Roger Thornhill via

The French would call my frustration “mal du siècle.” I think it’s more a “crise de cheveux.” And the fact that I’m even thinking this deeply about it is vaguely distasteful to me. Maybe there’s a middle ground…

Gary Cooper as Atticus Finch via
(image via

(Via Foxnews/AP/Chris Pizzello

(Via Foxnews/AP/Chris Pizzello

What do you think? Is elegance always to be attached to a certain timelessness? Or is it possible to modernize? We have such a tenuous hold on adulthood as it is (an executive at Droga5 is quoted in The New York Times as saying his staff “dress like teenagers with money.” Like that’s a good thing?)

Where do we draw that thin line?

Now playing: “Pencil Thin Moustache” by Jimmy Buffet.

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