George W Bush, that defender of democracy and the new world, is known to split hairs when it comes to issues ranging from energy consumption to the war in Iraq. But now it seems he has taken his calling literally. At a press conference at Camp David where he and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed journalists, the BBC’s political editor’s hairline — or rather lack of it — came in for Mr Bush’s attention. Uncomfortable questions from Nick Robinson elicited a rather politically incorrect response from Mr Bush who asked him to cover his bald head as it was getting hot. No, Mr Bush did not answer Mr Robinson’s query, but brushed it under the rug, so to speak.
Now, with this latest hare-brained statement, Mr Bush is likely to incur the hair, sorry, ire of many who are touchy about their lack of crowning glory. Yes, we have all been told that bald is beautiful but then how many of us look like Yul Brynner or Sinead O’Connor? No, most of us strive with might and mane to keep our locks intact spending a fortune on hair products. All this may not quite gel with everyone but let’s face it, the hair industry would not be quite so energetic if bald was the way to go. For those of us who live in the hair and now, unlike Mr Bush who seems to float about in cloud Cuckooland, the very shedding of a single follicle is a source for alarm, especially after a certain age. The colour of your hair, its texture, its length, its style, these consume us with the passion of an Alan Greenspan sniping and styling the interest rate at the Federal Reserve. First to the colour — gentlemen prefer blondes, we are told, blondes have more fun. While many may say hair, hair to that, the darker shades are up in arms. Fun is all very fine, but are blondes not slightly less smart upstairs than those with darker hair tones? Of course, this has become something of a truism after Marilyn Monroe became the icon of the blonde ambition. Your face may be your fortune but your hair is a dead giveaway about your temperament. Platinum blonde is icy cool, redheads fiery tempered, brunettes compassionate and intelligent and grey is for wisdom. So maybe John Lennon was not right when he said, “It doesn’t matter how long my hair is or what colour my skin is…” Or Bill Cosby when he said, “Grey hair is God’s graffiti.” And to mangle Groucho Marx, then “God can keep it.” We of the greying brigade shall live to dye another day.
Mr Bush must know what he meant by that remark to Mr Robinson. After all he is the man who said of his Vice-President, the hirsutely challenged Dick Cheney, “I didn’t pick him because of his hair, I picked him for his experience.” Turns out he was neither hair nor there on that one. On which hairy note, we’ll leave you till you hair from us again.