What makes a buzz cut? Is a full head of hair required? We ask ourselves these questions today as Prince William unveils a new haircut that both is a buzz cut and isn’t one. It’s confounding, and I love it.
The Harry Potter enthusiast unveiled his new head at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where he greeted children and staff and displayed a terrifying level of confidence, both dazzling and confusing onlookers as their minds expand and contract rapidly to identify the style, for which there is no precedent. (Some Twitter users have called the shear an homage to Prince Edward, who, upon closer inspection, has the same hair as William pre-buzz, probably because they are blood relatives. This is a stretch and I will not allow it.)
The why behind the cut atop the Prince is pretty clear: He's been weathering a slow descent into baldness for the better part of his adult life, so the buzz seems to broadcast that he has accepted his fate. To men everywhere who find themselves in the same boat—a boat populated by men rapidly losing their hair—the buzz also broadcasts an important piece of grooming advice: Lean in to the bare scalp look when you have no other choice. Now you don’t look like a guy who is balding! You look like a guy who might be in the military, or a premier league club. Please show some respect.
Prince Billy had two options: 1) Continue to grow hair and pretend nothing is wrong, or 2) accelerate the process to its natural conclusion by shaving it off. Those two, plus hundreds of other options because he is a handsome and wealthy Prince. He chose correctly, and on this day, we celebrate him.
The fact remains that we have no precise language for his new cut, as it bucks the traditional definition of a buzz but does not commit to true baldness. What do you call a close crop of hair that is bald on top? Some suggestions: The Prince William, the Royal Thrush, the Prince Edward Deluxe, the Kate’s Delight. What an exciting moment in grooming history for all involved.