10 reasons you should stop being so irrationally upset about your hair being repeatedly set on fire

  1. Because having your hair set on fire once is upsetting, and twice is an unfortunate coincidence, but after the third time your hair was set on fire, perhaps you should have asked yourself what the common factor was in each of these so-called “hair set on fire” incidents.
  2. Because fire is good. Fire is our friend.
  3. Because Webster’s Dictionary defines “fire” as “a state, process, or instance of combustion in which fuel or other material is ignited and combined with oxygen, giving off light, heat, and flame.” I see neither light, heat, nor flame, but merely a progressive singeing, reddening of the scalp, and a sulfurous smell. Your hair is therefore not on fire by any definition of “fire” of which I am aware.
  4. Because the end result of having your hair set on fire is not having any remaining hair. Meanwhile, men suffer from male pattern baldness, yet who gets irrationally upset about their plight? The deck is stacked against them.
  5. Because until we have the results of the forensic examination and several signed affidavits, we really have no way to be certain whether that’s just a Brazilian blowout gone horribly wrong.
  6. Because some people prefer their hair bright red, and they deserve respect and not shaming.
  7. Because that man’s head is cold and he says that if someone set his hair on fire he would take it as a compliment.
  8. Because if we just start putting out every fire we see without going through a calm and measured deliberative process in which we consider all the facts at hand, we will eventually be unable to cook food or smelt useful alloys.
  9. Because you really ought to be used to it by now. It’s just the way life works in an oxygenated atmosphere.
  10. Because my hair has never been set on fire.

29 thoughts on “10 reasons you should stop being so irrationally upset about your hair being repeatedly set on fire

  1. dontpanic

    So many potential referents; not going to inquire which in case the trigger is yet another that I haven’t encountered today.

  2. Crip Dyke

    I love this, Chris.

    The one I’m having trouble with is male pattern baldness – I suppose it’s just a random change of topic “what about the men” response, but maybe it’s something else I’m not seeing. My intuition is telling me there’s more there I haven’t figured out yet.

    I didn’t follow you home when you left Pharyngula, but that was out of lazy habit. I’ll be checking in more often now.

  3. Tethys

    Hi Chris!
    Thanks for the welcome giggles. Spot on as always.

    Might I add my own?

    11. How can you be sure that your hair was set on fire? Maybe you should stop walking around looking cold if you don’t want people to try and warm you up.

  4. minniethefinn

    Also, if you don’t want your hair on fire, you shouldn’t wear it untied or dry. Or use hair spray. That stuff is inflammable, and you should know better.

  5. Caerie

    I just don’t see how we can expect anyone to tell the difference between those who want their hair set on fire and those who do not.

  6. cicely

    Crip Dyke: Possibly the “male pattern baldness and nobody cares” bit refers to “men sometimes get raped/harrassed, too, but where’s the outrage” that we get thrown up at us every so often?

  7. AlexanderZ

    Depressing. All the more the depressing because when I saw the title in my inbox I had assumed this might be a light-hearted post like your extroverts\introverts one.
    Nevertheless, I think it’s a very effective counter argument to rape-culture apologists: There’s a good chance they’ll at least read a few points before their build-in denial mechanism kicks in.

  8. EJ

    14. In Africa people sometimes get their whole bodies set on fire. Objecting to your hair being on fire is just an example of white Western privilege.

  9. Lady Mondegreen

    Fire IS our friend. Fire is a beautiful and a natural thing. You rad-anti-hair-set-on-firists just hate fire. You’d like for us all to have to sign forms in triplicate before we can strike a match.

    Loosen up, fireprudes.

  10. Beatrice

    He just doesn’t know how to talk to people, so he sometimes accidentally sets their hair on fire. It’s not his fault, people should really be more clear about not wanting to have their hair set on fire.

  11. Mercurius

    While I too would like to see an end to hair-setting-on-fire, we have to accept the fact that there are arsonists out there and so, sadly, hair-setting-on-fire will always be with us (and by “us”, I mean “you).

    Fortunately, there is a lot that people who don’t want their hair set on fire can do to minimise the risks: Keeping your hair covered and staying at home is a good start, although admittedly not fire-proof (no pun intended), as some arsonists are also house-breakers. Even so, if you place a fire-extinguisher in every room (and make sure you know how to use it!), keep buckets of water near places where hair-setting-on-fire is more likely to happen (for example, the bedroom, bathroom, living-room, hallway, kitchen, spare-room, basement, patio, yard or garage), that should help a lot. If you find that leaving the house becomes unavoidable, it’s prudent to carry a fire-blanket and preferably arrange to be escorted by a fire-fighter (a crew is better!) in their fire-truck.

    If you are following my empowering advice (go, girl!) and are still unfortunate enough to find yourself in the presence of an arsonist, remember to explain to them that you don’t want your hair set on fire. Use a calm, reasonable tone as anger may provoke them. Actually, now that I think about it, it might be best to scream, struggle and fight. But that may make the flames worse. So keeping still and quiet could also be good, but that could also be misinterpreted. I’m really not sure what to suggest here. But really, if you’ve got into a situation where an arsonist is around, you can’t expect me to help you out of every bind you get yourself into now, can you? This sort of learned-helplessness and victimhood in the presence of arsonists is only contributing to the problem, IMHO.

    These are just a few simple ways that you can empower yourself and stop being a victim of having your hair set on fire. You’re welcome.

  12. Brownian

    When I was a wee lad out of highschool and still had Soupdragons hair, I used to grease it up with Brylcreem and stick my face right into campfires to light my cigarettes, therefore only the weak are at risk of hair fire.

  13. Graham Jones

    The Lord God gave Man fire that he might have dominion over animals by setting their hair alight. And He made men hairless that they might not hurt themselves in the process. But He left some hair on men that men might remember who was boss. And He spoke unto mankind, saying: you will respect me by shaving your heads.

    But many men were disobedient and grew their hair long. Women were usually the worst offenders. Also some non-existent but nonetheless evil gods told men to grow beards. And when He saw all this, the one true God was filled with stupendous petulance. And He shouteth: if men will not fear me, let them fear fire! And He commanded the godly to set alight the hair of unbelievers.

    It is irrational to disobey the one true God. Skinheads with flame-throwers are the only truly rational people on this sad planet. All hail the Lord!

  14. Beatrice

    Were you wearing some kind of head covering when your hair was set on fire?
    No? Mhm.
    So you let your hair just waft in the breeze, inviting people to set it on fire.