(Hawk or no hawk? That’s the question.)
I was in high school during the height of the "grunge" music scene, and like many guys my age, I had long hair, was in a band and had earrings. That was 17 years ago and I’ve since cut my hair, quit the band and mysteriously while I was at jiu-jitsu class one evening, my earrings disappeared.
After a bit of questioning, the truth came out. "You’re not a kid any more," my younger wife explained to me as if I were ancient. "You’re almost 34. You don’t want to be "that guy."
By "that guy," she meant the guy we’d often elbowed each other in the ribs about while walking through the mall or while eating dinner. You know the type: mullet, dangly cross earring, leather cowboy boots and head to toe denim and leather. Dressed exactly like he did in high school…35 YEARS AGO.
Needless to say, the "missing" earrings have not been located.
When photos and video surfaced last week of former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell getting his iconic mohawk shaved off for charity, I couldn’t help but wonder if "The Iceman" will become "that guy" or will he say, "Enough is enough" and grow out his hair into a more age appropriate hairstyle for a 40, 50 or 60-year-old?
For years his mohawk defined him almost as much as his knockout power as a fighter, so the question is, will he lose the do when he finally walks away from fighting for good?
It’s not just about not wanting to be “that guy.” Chuck, who is still arguably the most recognizable fighter in MMA history, has been “the man,” for so long that he may want to blend into a crowd and enjoy retirement in relative obscurity – something a mohawk and head tattoo won’t allow him to do.
Scott Epstein, who spent a lot of time with “The Iceman” while they both worked as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 11 and while training him for his UFC 115 fight with Rich Franklin, told me a few weeks ago that Liddell can’t even go to a 7-11 without being swarmed by autograph-hungry fans. I can’t see anyone besides Paris Hilton and Spencer Pratt enjoying a lifestyle like that.
Through the magic of computer technology, we have generated some possible hairstyles that we could see the Iceman effectively pull off that would allow him to live a life more ordinary and eat at IHOP or use a public restroom.
Here they are in no particular order:
The Midlife Crisis: He may be a math teacher or your dad after he and your mom split up, but we all know this guy. With his unbuttoned shirt and copious amounts of cheap cologne, he fancies himself a player.
The Creepy Uncle: You know the guy. He comes over at Christmas and tries to hang out with the kids in the basement and offers to sneak you some liquor.
The 80′s Rocker: Trans Am: check. Canadian tuxedo: check. White high-top Reeboks with massive tongues: check.
Mom’s New Boyfriend: He’s the cool guy who drives a jeep and always calls you "buddy," "big guy" or "pal." He always has a moneymaking scheme that involves a small loan from your mom and a six-pack of Schlitz.
The Ex-High School Athlete: 15 years ago he was dating a cheerleader and was king of the school; now he’s an alcoholic plumber who still wears his HS football jacket to the liquor store, despite the fact that he’s 35 pounds heavier than he was when it fit him.
The Widower: He’s in denial that he is getting old and figures baldness and wrinkles are nothing that Grecian Formula and a spray tan won’t fix. He smells of peppermints and Polydent and uses slang from the 60′s like "groovy" and "foxes."
The Playboy: No matter how old he gets and how many years removed from his UFC heyday he will be, for some reason this is how I picture Chuck enjoying retirement.