Kim Jong-un with his fine head of hair (photo by petersnoopy)
Haircuts suck. You're forced to talk to a stranger about their day as they fail to listen to what you want and instead make you look like an X-Factor contestant who's been attacked in the night with razors. Do you ever think that maybe it would be better if we just cut out the aggro and everyone had exactly the same hair?
Well, great minds think alike, and it appears that the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un and I are very much on the same wavelength. He's so pleased with his do – and so sick of everyone else's – that he has apparently decided that every single man in North Korea is required, by law, to wear and enjoy the same haircut as him.
North Koreans don't seem too happy about the new rules. “Until the mid-2000s, we called it the ‘Chinese smuggler haircut’," one guy apparently moaned to the media. Which doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement. But everyone's missing the big question here:
What about the bald guys?
This is Tony Snesko. He is the founder of Bald R Us, a society of proud, hairless men who campaign against hair restoration and replacement industries. According to their website:
"The hair restoration industry has struck fear and anxiety in the hearts of millions of men who now inspect their pates from every angle, searching for any sign of hair loss and dreading each and every hair that collects on the shower drain. Don’t be misled by this 2 billion-dollar industry that is trying to convince you that hair is necessary for a happy life. Not only is it not necessary, it can be an overwhelming burden... Can you imagine Michael Jordan or Yul Brynner with hair? Don’t yield to their propaganda. Keep your money, keep smiling, and enjoy being the person God meant you to be – bald! You will be much happier."
I talked to him about what it would be like to live in a country where you had to wear a hairstyle that you physically could not grow.
VICE: Hi Tony. Have you heard about the new haircut law in North Korea?
Tony Snesko: A forced haircut? Whose hair are they cutting?
Basically every North Korean man now has to have the same haircut as their leader, Kim Jong-un.
[Really deep laugh] His hair is receding, I presume?
Well, he's got a pretty severe short back and sides situation going on but he's got a decent head of hair on the top. Would you say that's a fair law?
Well no, I think it's absolutely ridiculous. I think he must have a God complex. I can't even begin to understand why anyone would do that; he's probably the world's number one narcissist, I would imagine. That's shocking.
Yeah. How would you feel if they brought a similar rule into effect in America?
Listen to me: In the United States, we have lots of people who just shave their heads because it's a sign of male testosterone at work. We don't need shaggy locks to be seen as attractive. When my buddies at Bald R Us finally go naturally bald, we believe we've reached perfection. Everybody is going to eventually be bald but they're just a little bit behind in the evolutionary scale. Everybody's going to be bald; we just got there first.
What do you think the bald men of Korea should do? Hair transplants?
No, actually they should just have a Kim Jong-un wig, that'll solve the problem. They're in Korea, so it'll probably only cost a buck or so. I think that would be a great idea, actually. Let them wear wigs. That's the only time in my life I would recommend that somebody wear a wig and it has to be for North Korea. Otherwise our motto is: "Just say no to rugs, drugs, plugs and comb-overs." I guess Kim Jon-un just gave us an exception.
I guess he did. What would you do in their situation? Try a wig? A hair transplant?
Have you ever talked to someone who wears a wig? They itch constantly. And there's no way to scratch under the wig, so no, there's no way I would ever wear a wig. And as for the hair transplants... People lose their hair continually. Even people who've had transplants lose the hair that's been transferred to their head because that's what happens. So you have to continue to have transplants, like my brother, who's had five of them. They kept taking it from the back of his head and it's looking more like a yarmulke on top of his head. He's spent tens of thousands of dollars on these operations and he wears a hat all the time because he's embarrassed. I hate to break the news to him but he's getting to the point where he's not going to have any left to transplant and he's going to have to accept the fact that he's going to be as bald as his brother.
Not to mention the fact that a lot of people who get a hair transplant use Propecia. Now, if you read the side effects of Propecia, one of them says that it temporarily reduces sexual ability in some men. So are you willing to trade hair for sex? I don't think so. And then when they lose their libido, they end up taking Viagra, and if you look up the side effects of that it can cause blindness. So all these guys trying to get hair on their heads are either going blind or they can't have sex. Or both. What a life. Just shave it and get it over with.
If you did have hair, what style would you go for?
If I had hair, I would shave it. After experiencing baldness for the past 20 years, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I like running my hand across my head and experiencing a nice smooth pate.
Do you have any more advice for the bald men of North Korea?
Stay bald. Let Kim Jong-un fund their wigs.
– – –
Yes, there's a chance that this is bullshit. But it wouldn't be the first time that the DPRK has gone all fascist about hair. Until now, North Koreans have had to choose between a selection of state-sanctioned haircuts – 18 for women and ten for men.
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