Of the rat tailPosted: February 1, 2011
You’re strolling down the cobblestone streets of Barrio Palermo at, oh, say 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. You manage to dodge a gaggle of drunk German girls stumbling out of one or another of the wholly unbearable dance clubs that speckle the neighborhood. Suddenly, there he is, a vision in horn-rimmed glasses and a pearly-buttoned Western shirt. He is walking towards you, this man, the loveliest Porteño hipster you have ever seen. Thrilled, you make furtive eye contact in the hopes that he will (unlike anyone on the planet, ever) randomly strike up a conversation with you, you poor American girl walking by on your lonesome way home. But, alas! Though he looks in your direction, maybe even returns your coy glance, he passes by without a word. Just as he does you turn to watch him go, a melancholic ache deepening in your black heart. But wait. What’s this? A special little surprise delivered unto you by the gods; a small but priceless consolation for letting the man to whom you were surely fated to wed slip through your fingers. He has a rat tail. Yes, he does. He is but one more Argentine with this most heinous of haircuts.
I cannot now nor will I ever be able to explain why they do this to themselves but oh so many of them do. Porteños love the rat tail. This style is a far, far worse offense to their otherwise dashing good looks and breezy charms than would be the standard L.A. hipster mullet. It is the sort of haircut that can, in fact, induce nausea in a foreign onlooker. But it is heartening to know that if you live and die alone in Buenos Aires, you’ll have avoided ever having run your hands through such a greasy, ugly, disastrous assault on reason and reasonable aesthetics.