STOP! PUT DOWN THAT SHAMPOO BOTTLE! YES! I’M TALKING TO YOU! WHO ELSE IS IN THIS BATHROOM?

Whew. That’s better. Sorry to have barged in like this. But I felt it was my duty as an American citizen, with a key to your bathroom, to prevent you from making a major fashion faux pas this holiday season, something you will truly regret and could make your neighbors point at you and hold their stomachs and make oinking noises: I am talking about washing your hair.

NO! NO! NO!

Washing your hair is a big taboo in the fashion world this year. Clean hair is dead, history, kaput — at least according to USA Today, America’s newspaper, which recently ran an article headlined: “Hip Hanks Of Hair Get Down and Dirty.” Clean is bad, explained the writer. Dirty is good. Dirty, greasy, oily hair. And I think we can believe this because USA Today, no matter what you may think of it, is as fine a newspaper as at least two or three supermarket tabloids.

USA Today says the dirty hair look is being pushed by a number of “hot” celebrities, including Johnny Depp, Christian Slater, and Mickey Rourke. I am not sure who these people are, but I think the first two have their senior prom this weekend, while the third is that guy from “Diner” who does films about making love to beautiful women who are obviously attracted to head lice.

Anyhow, these are clearly great men, who have invented a great concept, although it is possible they just overslept. You never know. But according to the article, “The greasy, unkempt look is the ’90s version of the ’80s Don Johnson beard stubble.”

Don Johnson, by the way, is no longer in fashion. The rumor is he uses a cream rinse. Here’s mud in your . . . hair?

Now, I must admit, I, too, fall behind in the fashion world. Sometimes way

behind. Actually, if you were looking for one word to sum up my idea of good grooming, that one word would be: “Where are my socks?”

But for this, I blame my youth, which was mostly spent in mud holes. The kids on my block — many of whom are in prison today — felt it was very important to hide in a mud hole when our mothers called us for dinner, so we could punch each other in the arm and say “We’re not going for dinner, we’re staying in our MUD HOLE!”

Eventually, our fathers came and dragged us home, and dropped us in front of our mothers and said “take care of this.” Which is where I really learned about fashion. Because my mother would sit me down, gaze into my eyes and say
“YOU SMELL LIKE A GOAT.”

And make me wash my hair.

What I should have said was “Mother, please. Dirty hair is avante garde.” Unfortunately, I didn’t know what those words meant. Also, I would have gotten slapped across the jaw.

But now, USA Today tells me that not only is clean hair old news, but some very hip people are actually “buying new styling products designed to make their hair dirty.” This includes something by Sebastian International called Molding Mud, which costs $15 for 6.5 ounces. Molding Mud “has hair- bonding fibers that create a heavy, stuck together look.”

Funny. So did the mud in our hole. Of course, all we ever did was roll around in it. Meanwhile some French kid was thinking “Hmm. I could sell zis for $15 for 6.5 ounces. I must call Pierre.”

Wrinkled, ripped and dirty ‘

Now, some of you might say “Wait. This is stupid. How can I walk around with smelly, dirty hair?” To which I say: “Mickey Rourke got Kim Basinger, didn’t he?”

Besides, I see this “unwashed look” as a part of a major fashion trend over the last 10 years, which is designed to make us all look like one of New York’s homeless people.

Think about it. First came the wrinkled clothes concept. Everything was supposed to look as if you’d slept in it. Then came the holes-in-your-jeans concept. Then came the unshaven look. Then the no-socks look.

And now, of course, dirty hair. Or even better, mud in your hair. Actually, this reminds me of the way we used to look when we came home from school after a good game of tackle football. Wrinkled, ripped and dirty. Right now, there is some fourth grader out there making a fashion statement.

Of course, pretty soon, this can only lead to its exciting fashion conclusion, one that I’m sure Mickey Rourke and Johnny Depp are working on at this very moment, since they’re obviously not showering. Here it is: You throw out your soap, your combs, and your toothbrush, shed all your clothes, then wrap yourself in something simple and colorful and wrinkled. Like, maybe . . . a newspaper?

I have just the one in mind. Only 50 cents. I’ll even throw in some mud, free of charge.

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