The long and short of hair

I haven't got time for this. Haven't got time for breakfast, let alone a leisurely lunch. And I definitely haven't got time to write about hair cuts.

It's the new job, see. Up at six, home by five, then kids to wrangle, dinner to microwave, school lunches to think about then bed and do it all over again. I'm time poor and I have to prioritise. In the morning do I spend time eating breakfast and making lunch or do I fix my hair up fancy? Time is money and all that and who wants to waste time primping? 
I'm a short-hair kind of a guy; always have been. So I don't have to spend that long anyway - straight out of the shower, a couple of passes with the towel and voila! Perfection! A little bit of product now and then to give it a bit of a twist but that's about it.
And most of the men on the train in the morning seem to do the same. Neat hair is the norm on platform 2, and by the look of many of the guys, so's a big breakfast. But look closely and there's something more to many of us than a lack of length. Maybe there's more to short and neat than just short back and sides. Maybe there's short hair that can be business in the day, and a party at night. And maybe I need to find out a bit more about it.
So Sunday found me and a plus-one at Australian hairdressing's night of nights, the American Crew 2012 men's competition. The creme de la creme of the country's sylists had descended on Melbourne's drafty Docklands for the night and you could tell. There was a lot of great hair in the room. And moustaches. And lots of pictures of great hair, too. Seven hundred or so photos of guys with cool - and some not so cool - haircuts. Sent in by salons from around the country which hoped to be one of the lucky 20 with a shot at the big prize - a trip to the US for some photo shoot thing or other.
And most of the pictures were of cuts cut from the same cloth. Sure there was the odd surfer guy with the beard and the long hair, the occasional dreadlock and a few - thankfully a very few - with the tousled footballer out on a Saturday night look. But out of the 700 or so tastefully shot black and white shots, most were of cuts that were short, with a bit of length and weight on top. It's hair that can be fiddled around with depending on the mood, the time you got out of bed and if you've any product left.
Take a look at the gallery. Ignore the cheekbones. These are haircuts that work for work and can be played with for play.
A friend was in a top salon the other day, and was asked whether they liked to wear their hair neat or messy. My friend was stunned - it was the first time they'd ever been asked that question and it really helped them to focus on what they wanted and describe it to the hairdresser. Messy hair needs more product and more knowledge. Neat hair is more straightforward. And the experts agree.

''The look for the upcoming season is organic, versatile hair that can be worn in different ways,'' says Jo Smith from Toni&Guy.

''With the GFC you have to be aware of what the clients want. A sharp, geometric cut requires six-weekly appointments if not more. On the street, men are all short now - a 1930s style with a fringe that can be adapted in different ways, whereas three years ago they were wearing their hair longer.''
So unbeknownst to me, I've got a cool hair cut. Who knew! Short hair, easy to manage hair, easy to adapt hair seems to be the way to go.

What about you - is short and flexible your cup of morning tea? Or are you headed to work unbreakfasted but with a well-groomed, artfully tousled longer look?

Men's grooming essentials: read more