Subject: Physical appeal

Thanks, Bud V., whose note Mrs. LAF found in a box this month.  Yes, I would like to respond.

Dear zxtime@aol.com:

Thanks for writing.  Sorry I’m nearly sixteen years late.  I am in receipt of your critique regarding my “presumed afro” and its impact on your viewer reception.

At the time you wrote this note — January 1995 — my haircut (“hairstyle” would be too strong a word) was a peculiar eraser-shaped gravity-defying pile that lacked the shape expected in your stereotypically square-jawed TV reporter.  It isn’t surprising that it upset you.  Presumably, your letter reflected the feelings of thousands of other viewers.  One could conclude that this channel-switching look may have singlehandedly accounted for WAGA’s inability to catch WSB in the ratings in the 90s, a permanent legacy that continues to this day.  Sorry about that.

Regrettably, this “discord,” as you call it, continues.  Though the hair has changed color in the last sixteen years — close inspection of the above photo would reveal the first gray strands — its unruly character hasn’t.  Neither has my discipline to cut it effectively and regularly.

Bob Forehead

For the last ten years, an elderly man with hand tremors has cut my hair in a storefront behind a barber pole.  He charges $14.  I usually give him a twenty; it’s still a bargain compared to the $40 I paid for the haircut shown above, coiffed by a charming woman named Gina at a Buckhead salon that offered shampoos and head massages as well.  Though the exchange rate has improved and the hair is cut shorter now, the quality is currently very spotty.   This means that each 21st century haircut results in a moment of hell-raising by Mrs. LAF, who denounces the haircut, the shaky-handed barber and my general inability to make sound decisions.

This blowback now frequently results in haircut procrastination, thus yielding  wiry old-guy offshoots from the ears, brows and neck, and a freakish, spiked  Einsteinesque look that seems to only lack the mustache and the brainpower.  In other words, zxtime@aol.com, the discord continues;  the lesson goes unlearned, despite your gentle suggestion to the contrary back in the mid-90s.  WXIA is now saddled with a bad hair day that has gone on for more than two decades in Atlanta TV.

Thanks for watching back in 1995.  Perhaps you are among the viewers slowly switching to WXIA, where you can find top-notch, stress-free haircuts among the likes of Jerry Carnes, Ross McLaughlin and Ted Hall.  Please feel free to use my appearances on TV as an excuse to grab a soothing beverage from another room.

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About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

8 thoughts on “Subject: Physical appeal

  1. Clark In The Dark

    If this is the ONLY missive you ever got regarding your perceived tonsorial misdeeds you are lucky. During my dozen or so years at WAGA, I compiled a thick file of gripes about my overall appearance (makeup, clothing, distracting earrings, etc.) But most of the diatribes were aimed at my hair … too long, too short, too much hairspray (admittedly, I called it Helmet-In-A-Can), not enough hairspray. Outcry peaked during the ill-advised Perm Era in the late 80’s. I probably could have gone on the air advocating the violent overthrow of the government and no one would have noticed because they were all fixated on my damn hairdo. (Grudging props for creativity to the guy who sniped that while the look may have worked for Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, my springy locks were a fatal DIS-traction!) Anyway, you are not alone in hair woes, dear LAF … and they’re never enough to make me reach for the remote.

    Reply
  2. arky

    I remember getting several complaints for wearing an overcoat that was a size too small. I didn’t have the heart to tell our friendly viewers that my near-poverty-level wages wouldn’t permit a more expansive wardrobe.

    By the way, my current elderly-barber-with-tremors only charges $10. I’ll give you a reference, Doug.

    Reply
  3. Cheeto Crumbs

    I can’t decide if that ID badge photo could be a mugshot from county or should be accompanied by an article informing us you are the half-brother of comedian Michael Richards. Maybe a bit of both.

    Were you angry or just confused by something when they took that picture?

    Reply
  4. Mr. Bear

    Barber shops, as opposed to “cutterys” or salons, are one of the bastions of conservative thought. I go to the one at Peachtree Battle, but the real den of inequity is at Paces Ferry and Northside Parkway. There is one barber there that knows many local politicians on a first name basis, and being a fly on the wall there means getting the inside dope on all sorts of stuff. During the Viet Nam unpleasantness, the Viet Cong regularly infiltrated military posts in the barber shop, which was the nexus for all sort of intelligence raw material.

    But, back to conservative thought. I once asked the barbers at my shop if there were any liberal barbers. The response, to great laughter, was “Yeah. They’re called stylists.”

    Reply

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