It happened again. You rolled into work on a Monday and immediately noticed Debra’s new, extremely unflattering haircut. She smiled at you with the tenuous confidence of a woman with a risky haircut, her eyes obviously nudging you for a response.
“Wow!” you said, unsure how to follow it. The silence fell on both of you and the rest of the day you felt guilt, shame, but also relief at your roundabout honesty. But what about the next time Debra gets a haircut–or, God forbid, Cheryl?
What are some more creative forms of feedback you can give when the bangs just aren’t working? Lucky for you, we have compiled a short list of neutral reactions that can be applied to not only Debra’s ugly haircut, but endless ugly haircuts in the future!
1. “It’s Shorter!”
Stating the obvious with no complimentary follow-up is a foolproof way to let Debra know you have noticed her haircut, but feel emotionally unequipped to discuss it. Simply exclaim obvious facts such as: “It’s shorter!,” “Wow, less hair, huh?!” or “You really did it!” and she’ll get the hint.
2. “It Must Be Haircut Season!”
Jerry got his hair cut last week, then Tanya, and now Debra. Wow! Let Debra know you’ve noticed the haircut train is running, and she’s sure part of it! They sure are doing it, cutting that hair. Luckily, Tanya and Jerry’s haircuts flattered their face-shapes and didn’t incorporate an ironic rat-tail, so you’ve only had to navigate one ugly haircut.
3. “Do You Miss It?”
Feign genuine concern for Debra’s well-being by asking if she misses her cropped locks, the back of which you often stared vacantly at during yet another brainstorm session in the conference room, those locks which were violently shorn by her desire for “something new.” This reaction serves as a friendly distraction from your deep discomfort with change in general, most specifically, change in Debra’s hair.
Tell Debra her haircut is incredibly edgy, so brave and truly affirming her as a creative at heart. These descriptors would normally serve as compliments, but in the case of Debra’s awful haircut, calling her brave with no affirmation is a subtle way of saying: “I wouldn’t have done that if I was you!”
5. “What Made You Decide To Cut Your Hair?”
Is she going through a breakup? Did she watch The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo and feel inspired to get a knockoff look? What ghost haunted her until she made this decision? Ask her all these questions as a way to appear interested, without being forced to lie or be straight-up critical!
If all else fails, and you find yourself in a bind with Debra, Cheryl (please no, don’t do it Cheryl), or any other ugly haircuts in your life, the last-ditch response is to pretend you didn’t notice the haircut at all, and when it’s brought up say: “I thought you had lopsided hair this whole time!”
Bronwyn Isaac has experienced more bad hair phases than Debra can ever aspire to.
Image by wikimedia