By Anne T. Donahue
New photos of Harry Styles have just dropped, and the news is official: he has buzzed off his hair.
Are you shocked? Were you prepared? Was this where you saw his trajectory heading in the wake of his tour ending or in the wake of that new Taylor Swift song or as he careened into his thirties? Is this what you, or any of us, assumed would happen when he was accused of wearing a toupee? When the TikToks abounded about his impending baldness? Could our younger selves have predicted that in the year of our lord 2015, when his hair was long and ponytailed, and accompanied by four other One Direction members, that one day he would have no hair at all?
These questions are rhetorical. What has happened is not a tragedy. What has happened is fine.
To start, let’s get serious: Harry Styles as an objectively wonderful face, and he could grow a rattail and somehow, we’d all survive. Add to this the liberation of shaving one’s head; the transformative qualities, the lack of product and heat styling tools necessary to get a start on the day – the ability to cut one’s hair at one’s own house with absolute ease. Add to this his obvious unattachment to a trademark vibe; his ability to take the plunge and do a thing we pray Princes William and Harry would do. Who can be mad at a bold, aesthetic choice? The only thing any of us can be mad about is that we (me) can no longer stare transfixed at his photograph and say “That hair” in the same voice as Lucille Bluth.
But that’s fine. That’s why Guy Fieri exists.
Obviously, it speaks to a profound lack of fun and/or free-wheeling celebrity news that I’ve chosen to embrace the wild world of Harry Styles’ new haircut. After all, think about what we’ve all had to work with lately: Taylor and Travis (okay fine), Jacob Elordi being tall (sure!), and the aftermath of Bravocon (I wasn’t there, thus it is not my concern). We needed a pop culture shake-up that wasn’t a divorce or Patrick Dempsey being named the Sexiest Man Alive. We needed something so trivial that we could gather ‘round and congregate accordingly, hemming and hawing as to whether this handsome man could carry off a buzzcut.
Of course he can. Why couldn’t he? Why couldn’t any of us? But that’s not that point: by shedding his locks, Harry Styles stepped out from the shadow of his famous persona and chose to sit quietly with himself. He, I’m assuming was decided, would be enough. (Kenough.) He has evolved from the boy in the band to a film studies TA debating whether or not to cover Kubrick for his Master’s thesis. He is Paul Rudd reading Nietzsche in Clueless. He is Jess from Gilmore Girls, but not insufferable.
So I welcome this new brick in the foundation of celebrity discourse. First, because it’s harmless and trivial, and both of those things are core elements of celebrity news. And second, because I welcome this daring incarnation of a man who could not carry off an American accent to save his life in Don’t Worry Darling and may or may not have spit on Chris Pine.
We didn’t know how good we all had it. And while some of you may use that turn of phrase to wax poetic about Harry’s new aesthetic, I urge the masses to remember that no matter your leanings, T-Swift’s bleached shag and lived to tell the tale.
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