Presumably recovered from years of getting punched by Mike Tyson, the Wasington Post’s Robin Givhan explores the most important criteria for President Bush’s nominee for UN Ambassador ; a decent haircut.
Bolton (above) sat across from his questioners with a thick, dull slab of hair positioned diagonally across his forehead. It is tempting to say that he has a sloppy schoolboy’s haircut, but that would malign studious young men and suggest that they are dismissive of propriety and the importance of making a good public impression. Looking back to Bolton’s school days at Yale, one notices that he was better groomed in his younger years. In his 1970 class book photo, Bolton essentially has the same haircut, but his locks are not drooping over his forehead as if he’d stepped from the shower and shaken his hair dry in the manner of an Afghan hound. His tie also appears to be straight. Thirty-five years ago, his shirt fit. (Perhaps it is the same shirt?)
That tidy 1970 haircut — no long hippie locks for Bolton — has evolved into a bureaucrat’s hairstyle, one that is willfully dismissive of the value of a polished appearance — a kind of intellectual style-snobbery. In “Fahrenheit 9/11” Paul Wolfowitz was so appearance-conscious that he used a bit of saliva in lieu of gel to make sure that he was looking presentable for a television appearance. Bolton seems unlikely to spit-comb his hair for anyone.
It has not been lost on observers, least of all the late-night comics, that there is an incongruous relationship between Bolton’s impenetrable blanket of hair and his equally lush, but white, mustache. A more vain man would — ill-advisedly — dye his mustache, trim it down so that it did not look like it should be attached to geek glasses and a rubber nose, or shave it altogether. But not Bolton. It sits there in all of its 1980s “Magnum, P.I.” glory. But Bolton is not Tom Selleck and so the image is more likely to stir thoughts of Wilford Brimley and walruses.