The real horror of war

by Jessie K on May 18, 2012

People think the worst thing about being married to a soldier are the long deployments and threat of death in war.

It’s not.  It’s this haircut…

The military buzz cut, a hairstyle so severe and unattractive the only people who love it are Dolph Lundgren wannabes.

Why am I posting such unattractive pictures on what is supposed to be a pretty website, you ask?

It’s because I want you to step inside my reality and see what I have to look at when Jake comes home from work tonight.

This ginger haired soldier is not Jake, but Jake gave himself this exact haircut last night, retribution, I suspect, for my gentle but repeated recommendation that he trim his scraggly sideburns….a wife’s prerogative, right?

Jake stepped into the bathroom as a normal man and stepped out looking like he’d inserted his head in a pencil sharpener.

“Jake, why is there a coaster on your head?”  I asked.

“What?” he said.

Such innocence!  Such fine acting! It’s not enough for the man to leave me alone for a year while he goes off to war but then he makes me relive the battle inside my own home, inside my own head. Hold on, I think my PTSD is flaring.

“Why must you wear your hair like that? Why? WHY?  There is no Taliban in Virginia.”

“You told me my sideburns were too long.”

“I didn’t tell you to decapitate yourself.”

“What’s wrong with a buzz cut?”

What’s wrong? What’s wrong?  THIS is what’s wrong:

This is what’s wrong:

This is what’s wrong:

(is this man even human?)

It’s not that the buzz cut style itself is so hideous,  it’s that the guys who give it to themselves — soldiers — generally have an “all or nothing,” “go-big-or-go-home” approach to life, an outlook that doesn’t lend itself to nuance, careful styling or procreation (if they’re not careful).  They attack the clippers like they would an enemy combatant.

In order to do a buzz cut correctly, there should be a gradual tapering of hair from crown to nape. (Did you hear that, Jake? I said GRADUAL TAPERING.)

Good buzz cut…

Good buzz cut…

Good buzz cut…

Still.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much.  Knowing how clipper happy he is, at least Jake didn’t exit the bathroom looking like this:

Bad buzz cut. Very bad buzz cut.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

HomesteadJen May 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm


Oh my, I just laughed so hard library patrons are staring.

After a bad buzz cut several years ago, my husband (who is not military, and has NO excuse) gave me the clippers. I can now do a decent cut as well as a rockin’ faux hawk (for the kids). Maybe that would work as an alternative?

Lindsey May 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm


Do you think it would work if you told him if he doesn’t stop shaving himself, you WILL stop shaving yourself?

Megan L from TX May 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm


Oh dear can I sympathize with you!
I met my husband right after he got back from Army Airborne and Army Ranger schools. He had no hair – zip. My friends and I thought he was a Hari Krishna when first we spotted him. He went on to serve in the Army (both active and reserves) for 15+ years – with the accompanying styling ‘do). It is now many years later and he is going bald…but as he likes to point out – it’s more hair than when I met him!

maria May 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm


When head lice invaded the school I must admit I actually gave my kids–bad buzz cuts. Luckily hair grows amazingly fast…….and at least your Jake has a good head. My Jeff did some work on a military base for a couple weeks and came home with what I call the landing strip. Jessie! You have seen Jeff’s head! He is the poster child for large craniums of America! A military buzz plus Jeff’s head is a sad, sad and some what terrifying sight.

Chin May 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm


A coaster on your head! A landing strip! Big craniums of America… You two are crackin’ me up!! Love the pics, ESP the good buzz cuts :)

Paula S. May 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm


You have my total complete sympathy about the military haircuts. I was a teenager in the sixties and have never been able to comprehend men who voluntarily shave their heads, either totally or military style. It really grosses me out.

I understand the necessity for it when living in unsanitary conditions in a war, but any other time, no.

Someone mentioned head lice. That is another thing that totally freaks me out. When I was in first grade in 1957, a county health nurse visited the school ONCE and explained that she was checking for lice. Nobody had any, and that was the last I heard about lice until I had been grown and married quite a few years. I hear all this talk of people’s kids bringing home lice and I don’t know how people keep from going insane when that happens. I have visions of panicking and just burning the house down.

Chelsea May 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm


That last picture looks like the kid who used to torment me in fourth grade. I like to imagine he still looks like that 25 years later.

Janelle May 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm


Oh my gosh! How hilarious, your writing!!!! You never fail to crack me up! I throw my head back with thunderous laughter on some of your posts. This was one. I was laughing so loudly that I was afraid I was going to wake up my kids who are sick in bed tonight.

Allison May 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm


Oh shoot, look at those steps in the side of that kids head….wonder if he sported a rat tail too! LOL

Cynthia in Denver May 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm


OMG!!!! I laughed so hard I fell of the couch!!! My husband gets the same cut, even though he’s been out of the military a decade now!!! It’s so bad I went to his barber and told him EXACTLY how I expected it to be done. I got a call from the Mr. Couple weeks ago….. “Did you talk to Ron about how to cut my hair?”. Yes. I did. “will you please tell him he can cut it my way?”. Nope. I love Ron!!! I went with the Mr. Last week to see Ron and he ut it My favorite way!!! When Mr. said that wasn’t quite the way he wanted, Ron looked at me and asked for my approval!!!

Isabelle May 19, 2012 at 1:04 am


Ahahahahahahahahahaaaaaa!!! And the strange thing is, all militaries all over the world end up with the same cut! Why why why???

Kara May 20, 2012 at 1:51 am


I think you just get used to it. Mine shaves his bald now. His hair is slowly receding anyways, so it’s the way to go for him. He did have a similar cut as seen above when we were dating. He looks much better bald. Even after he gets out of the military, I don’t see him getting a different haircut. There’s something about a big bald guy though.

Amy May 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm


Around military bases, they have all kinds of tiny barbershops, usually filled with older Asian women, who give these haircuts. I know the haircuts are cheap (usually around 7 bucks or so), but what some of those guys walk out with is just pathetic. I’m convinced some of them don’t even see the back of their heads. The official name for this disastrous haircut is called the “high and tight.” There is another, more tapered look called the “fade.” It’s a more gradual cut so you don’t end up with the coaster on the top of the head! It actually looks quite nice although, I must say, I think my husband could pull off the last look you posted!

Joanne from Colorado May 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm


I’m totally with ya on this one! May be you can offer to trim for him the next time? Does he really know how you feel about it? Ha

Sherry Lee May 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm


Jessie K. I can relate. My husband is a former Marine. (He served in the ’80s.) Even after all these years, he insists on getting his hair “cut” when his hair is exactly 1/8 of an inch over the top of his ears. He’s ridiculous.

Chava May 24, 2012 at 7:45 am


LOL I cannot lie, I found this through Dolph Lundgren LOL 😀

I agree, military buzz cuts are the worst. My husband had to cut his long 90s hair to join the Finnish Army and he hated it all the way lol!

Now he prefers buzz cuts LOL! (I leave it long, no Jar Head here 😀 )

Chuck November 26, 2012 at 10:00 pm


I find it curious that only women have commented, so I decided to represent the masculine viewpoint.

I currently wear a military style haircut, called a high and tight horseshoe flattop. It’s an extremely severe flattop in which the sides, back, and top are all shaved down to skin, leaving only a “horseshoe” of hair. In fact, I’d be quite uncomfortable with hair as long as Jake’s. And no, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the military.

My flattop is a high-maintenance haircut, though, needing trimming at least weekly to look perfect.

Please understand that the severity of the military haircut is part of its appeal. And, the perception that it takes a “real man” to wear one successfully.

PyroRo January 6, 2014 at 9:22 pm


I will understand the severity of how flat and funny it looks.

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