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The Non-Expert


Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we give you the skinny on some of the best tress-work we’ve sported in the past, all relevant details included.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


* * *

Question: What are some good haircut styles in today’s day and age?

Answer: I am two years old, my feet bound, my sailor suit wrinkled and yellowed. The loading dock behind Kmart smells like killing fields. I am seeing the sun for the first time and I howl in horror. The swelling brand on my back reads rough trade. My hairstyle is known as The Crag, a bold look that only truly works on the fine, silky hair of the three-and-under set. Requires serious effort to get the anterior spikes to stay put. The single-minded message that compels the desired response: look, but do not touch. Sometimes I see it in a magazine or on basic cable and it’s like the past 28 years never happened and I’m back in that hole, using my brand-new cuspids to bite through the hemp twine around my wrists.

* * *

Three years in the making, it’s The Jane Child, unveiled at the office Christmas party. Ratio of amount of HR head I expected to get versus amount I actually get is 12:0. My body is superdeformed à la Final Fantasy VII thanks to heroic doses of testosterone in a failed attempt to grow hair to Crystal Gayle-length. Instead: luxuriant nasal growth that I’m passing off as a mustache. Also: you may as well call it public hair at this point. Shaved into the sides of my scalp are Maori symbols and a sort of improvised logo for Norwegian black-metal combo Darkthrone. There is a definite break in my memory between 9:30 p.m., when I’m pretend-whipping the janitor with my braids, and 2:30 a.m., when I’m in a Dodge Caravan, using vodka to disinfect the new labial piercing of my ex-girlfriend, whom I hadn’t seen since the winter formal and thought was maybe dead? In the tape deck: Meet Me in Margaritaville.


* * *

rough rapids of hair
chilling whitewater currents
it’s…The River Wild


* * *

My barber lost his legs in Korea. He’s only ever needed the one waiting chair. Three Playboy magazines from 1987—88 are carefully fanned on the side table. A beige plastic machine generates warm shaving cream. He will only do one of the 10 styles shown on the ancient poster taped above the cash register. He stares at nothing while I make my decision, which takes forever. I finally settle on The Junior Executive and am immediately filled with buyer’s remorse. He uses a straight razor on my sideburns and I get a good close look at his tobacco-stained fingernails. You ever nick someone with that thing? I ask, my voice cold. Only when they ask stupid questions, he says, his hands carved from blue-veined marble.


* * *

I’m working at Red Lobster and fucking the hippie waitress who’s trying to change the system from within. I wooed her by asking for an all-natural alternative to corporate hair-styling products. She recommends using a mortar and pestle to create a thick paste from fennel seeds. As a side bonus, it cures colic and stimulates menstruation. I humor her and to my surprise am able to create a hairstyle that was hitherto thought to be physically impossible, only appearing in illustrated books of Norse myths: The Hvergelmir. We analyzed it with a protractor and phrenological calipers and it all added up. We were astounded. I asked the hippie to leave my motel room so I could be alone with it. She thought I was kidding but then I kicked a hole in the TV set and cleared that up real quick. She gathered her rags and fled as I settled in for a weeklong contemplation of my own heretical beauty.


* * *

The little nieces want to play hair salon and I get to be the client since I’m the only family member not in chemo. I am offended by their lisping. They start with the braiding and their jelly-stained hands yank out mini-fistfuls of hair. I curse them, then wish them ill. Then one of them gets creative with a strange variant of a fishtail braid and suddenly I’m sporting The Lament Configuration. My hair writhes and tightens and the seas run red with blood. The little nieces shriek and try to run away but nothing can escape the throbbing evil they’ve unleashed—the fools!


TMN Contributing Writer Joshua Allen is a complex and exciting young man. He is a hard worker and always gives 110 percent. He is a people-person unless that person is a crab and not pulling their weight for the team. If enthusiasm and get-up-and-go are drugs, then he’s a hardcore drug addict. He’s pretty obviously an only child. He lives in Fireland, USA. More by Joshua Allen