For many years I did not go to a barber but hacked at my own hair, or let my wife cut it. However, now that I am retired I decided to indulge in this luxury. My only complaint about the barber whom I now patronise is that he plays pop music all the time which jangles my nerves but apparently soothes his, or at least acts as a prophylactic against that most painful of all human activities, namely thought. He did at least turn the volume down for me without my asking him to do so. He is obviously a sensitive man, alive to the unspoken wishes of his customers.
As was only to be expected in the circumstances, our conversation soon turned once the volume was down to one of the most pressing questions of the day, namely the nature of Donald Trump’s hair. Was it real, was it natural, was it implanted, was it a toupée, what exactly was it? The barber said that in all his career he had never seen anything remotely like it. He did not believe that it had come about by any of the usual ways of cultivating or dressing hair.
We agreed that it looked ridiculous (not exactly an original insight). The old man in the chair next to mine who until then had been discussing with his barber his career as a former schoolteacher interjected that, however Mr Trump arrived at his hairstyle, it was very bad.
‘It is so bad,’ I said, ‘that it’s good.’
In effect it is Mr Trump’s logo, as recognisable as that of, say, Coca-Cola. He is instantly identifiable even from a photo taken of the back or top of his head, without any other context or visual clue. No one goes to a barber’s and discusses Marco Rubio’s or Bernie Sanders’ hair, though I suppose you might discuss Mrs Clinton’s face in a plastic surgery clinic (and elsewhere, perhaps).
From Mr Trump’s hair, it needed buy a slight leap to one of the greatest national emergencies of our time, namely the returning baldness of Wayne Rooney the footballer, despite the many thousands of pounds that he has already spent on hair transplantation. As Mr Blair said so memorably said at the outset of his career as Prime Minister, we are a young country. Can we seriously afford to have a balding man playing for our national team? Not, of course, that it is very good at what it does.