Dear Terrence,

I didn’t recognize you at first. I saw a clean-cut young man standing at the back of the room, no hair hanging in his eyes, and I thought, “New student!” Little did I realize at the moment that it was you.

I really didn’t want to say anything to you about your choice of hairstyle earlier. After all, with your anger management issues and your chronic lack of effort and motivation, you have enough issues to deal with. But it had occurred to me to say to you, before you head off to high school — yes, you know as well as I that, even though you’re failing every single class, you’ll be place in ninth grade because no one wants a middle schooler driving to class — that you could make a significant change in people’s first impression of you simply by cutting that hair. The curls and waves didn’t really look cool; they looked unkempt. It takes a certain attention to detail for a man to wear his hair long and look decent: you didn’t demonstrate that attention to detail, so you just looked like a thug. I know that’s part of your image and everything, the tough-guy thug thing, but it doesn’t do much for the first impression you make on people in authority. That near-buzz trim you got over the break greatly improves that first impression.

You likely feel insecure without that hair hanging in your eyes. You can’t hide behind it, and I suspect that leaves you feeling a bit vulnerable, though I know you’d never admit it, macho as you are. Still, what you take to be a feeling of vulnerability others will see as a certain kind of self confidence. And that always helps.

Your Teacher


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