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Archive for Friday, September 26, 2008

Hairstyles provoke confusion, scorn on the Web

September 26, 2008

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It is anybody's guess how people will respond to a particular column - or IF anybody will respond.

But my previous Net Worth has generated a fair amount of feedback. Most of it has little to do with the content. Rather, it's the accompanying photo that did the trick.

For that particular column I took a current picture and uploaded it to Yearbook Yourself (yearbookyourself.com), a site which allows one to visualize being a member of any high school class between 1950 and 2000. To illustrate the piece, I included a faux photo of me morphed into a 1976 yearbook, complete with long surfer-blond hair and wearing a turtleneck-with-blazer combo.

Apparently, few people absorbed the words that escorted the picture. As of last count I've received comments from four complete strangers who weren't kidding when they said it was fun to see my high school yearbook photo.

Um, hello.

While I did have longer hair in high school, it hardly resembled Andy Gibb. And I certainly didn't have a full beard before I was old enough to vote. In fact, I was 10 in 1976.

But these ongoing hirsute encounters got me thinking about the amount of Web sites dedicated to hairstyles.

How to change one's hairstyle, celebrity hairstyles, bad hairstyles, how to change a bad celebrity hairstyle - all these topics are easily found online.

Among the highlights:

¢ It may be old news, but there are still more sites dedicated to mullets than any other bad cut. Some of the more popular are mulletsgalore.com, mulletmadness.com and ratemymullet.com. The short on top/long in back style also generates the best nicknames. Favorites include the ape drape, Kentucky Waterfall and the Missouri Compromise.

¢ Mullets only place fifth on a cnn.com list of "A History of Bad Hairstyles." Trumping mullets are mohawks, pompadours, beehives and queues- but, oddly enough, not Donald Trump's look.

¢ With a motto that boasts "target.observe.ridicule," the site thephatphree.com selects 50 folks to honor in an article chronicling the worst hairstyles of all time. Former Purdue basketball coach Gene Keady and "Night Court" star Markie Post represent some of the inspired choices.

¢ Similarly, blender.com offers an even more specific article titled "The 13 Worst Hair Trends in Music." Poison, The Cure, Kid 'N Play, Disturbed and Loverboy all find themselves on the list. Mulleted artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus place predictably high.

¢ One would think the Web possessed dozens of sites dedicated toward allowing folks to see themselves with the latest hip hairdo. There are ... but all that I found have a catch. Most (such as virtual-hairstyles.net) require registration, so they can bombard users with ads for brand-name hair-care products. It might be less problematic to simply hire a police sketch artist.

This leads to my suggestion of a market that no one has cornered. Somebody please create a site where a viewer can try on history's worst hairstyles.

- Entertainment editor Jon Niccum explores facets of pop culture that have established a unique niche on the Internet in Net Worth.

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