8B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, April 11, 2002
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The Michigan Daily - Weekend Mag
ANDY TAYLOR-FABE - THE EUPHIOQUESTION
SMOKING IS COOL
DECONSTRUCTING THE UNALTERABLE
2 and 4 month
Smoking is cool. It is a universal truth,
and there is nothing that you or anyone
else can do to change that. Accept it.
Critics will say that smoking kills millions
of people and is highly addictive, and they are
right of course. Cigarettes have a strangle-hold
on most smokers and have caused countless
early deaths, horrible, debilitating diseases
and burn-holes in that sweater that you just
However, when the hell did health and
responsibility have anything to do with
"cool"? Nothing is more attractive (especially
for teenagers) than disregard for your personal
well-being, self-destructive behavior and reck-
less contempt for authority. A cigarette
becomes an extension of the big middle finger
to adults, teachers and anyone else who tells
you that smoking is bad.
To determine the causes of the inherent
coolness of smoking, we must look to the pub-
lic figures in popular culture. Picture
Humphrey Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon,"
shoulders hunched, hat cocked to the side and
a cigarette dangling loosely from his lips. Or
recall Miles Davis in a dark room, clutching a
cigarette between two fingers as he holds his
trumpet. Or Bob Dylan circa 1966 with a tan-
gled mess of hair, sunglasses and, sure
enough, a cigarette. Or even a young Mike
Wallace in the '50s, bringing us the news with
a thin, gray wisp of smoke rising from his
side. These icons, among countless others,
have defined cool for us, and there is nothing
that medical science or commercials or our
parents can tell us to change that. (One might
then argue that it is smokers, not smoking
itself, that are cool, but that is just a superfi-
cial, semantic argument, and we are losing our
It's not that there are no cool non-smokers,
but as much as you don't want to admit it, that
cool non-smoker would be even cooler with a
cigarette. That is not the most popular opinion
ever expressed, but deep down in places you
don't talk about at parties, you agree with me.
The problem is that it doesn't work that way
for everyone. Picture the typical 13-year-old
suburban kid, standing outside a convenience
store with some of his grubby friends, trying
his hardest to exude coolness and convince
everyone around him that he does not have an
acne-ridden disaster area of a face and a vocal
pitch that fluctuates with no warning, and is,
in fact, 25 years old with a car, possibly a gun
and definitely some beer. The cigarette isn't
fooling anyone, and his C.Q. (cool quotient)
Actually, I take that back. Even that kid is
We must also consider man's obsession with
fire. From the first time that a primitive
human harnessed the unruly element, he has
been captivated with the glowing red flame
and the smoke that accompanies it. Cigarettes
are like a portable inferno, and the dragon-like
power to breathe smoke using this mystical
wand of fire is an attractive prospect for many.
Another fire-related perk is that you have an
excuse to carry a lighter, which has many
other practical, scientific uses, e.g. burning
things you find on your living room floor.
Smoking also becomes cool by .default,
since there is nothing as powerfully uncool as
anti-smoking advertising or spokespeople.
From the sanctimonious, faux-guerilla "Truth"
ads to squeaky-clean rock stars who endorse
healthy living, there are few things as lame as
anti-smoking propaganda. Even the most avid
non-smokers find themselves wanting to grab
a pack and light up when they see the pious,
handheld camera commercials showing youths
sticking it to the tobacco companies.
A prime example of how non-smoking seri-
ously detracts from the C.Q. of our leaders,
institutions and role models is the recent re-
vamp of James Bond. In the 60s and 70s,
James Bond smoked as many cigarettes as he
downed martinis, but with "Tomorrow Never
Dies," the sophomore effort from Pierce
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Nogginz provides a laid back
atmosphere, creative styles
By Will EI-Nachef
Daily Arts Writer
"Hold on a sec, I'm going to go
through and texturize you," is one of the
more common phrases you'll hear at
Nogginz, winner of the Best of Ann
Arbor survey for the sixth year in a row.
If you don't know what it means to get
"texturized" don't worry because half of
the other clients are probably wondering
the same thing. The other half, however,
is knowledgably requesting it. If you've
wussed out and only gotten your hair
done while on visits back home, Nogginz-
will seem foreign compared to your
hometown barbershop or beauty salon.
Gone are the old men getting their ear
hair trimmed while grumbling about the
NPR news that's being broadcasted in a
crowded room; gone are the aging beau-
ticians past their prime trying to convince
you that perms WILL make a comeback
(is there a better example of a passe
Instead, Nogginz plays rock music,
caters to the college crowd, and mostly
employs college-aged cutters, some of
whom have nose and lip peircings. "We
have a totally different target. We're tar-
geting the campus. That's why I love
working in a campus salon --I'm cutting
my age group, I'm listening to my
music," said Nogginz cutter Corrine
Another reason Nogginz appeals to so
many students is its dual
barbershop/salon feel and its ability to
cater to both sexes. "Technically we're
cosmetologists. But this salon actually
has a cosmetologist license and a barber
license," explained Foytik.
Andrew Patterson, a LS&A freshman,
is pleased with his experiences at
Nogginz, "I've gotten my haircut there
three or four times from them. Every
time it's been nice... They changed my
style one time-I liked it. She just started
cutting my hair and said, 'You know, you
should try something different."'
Patterson isn't alone in trusting the
Nogginz cutters to give him a new style,
though. From what Foytik had to say, it
seems that many clients come in and
leave the haircut style up to the stylist.
Nogginz cutter Stephanie McQuarrie
defines this as "Creative freedom.
Someone who comes and gives you a
rough idea of what they want, but tells
you to do what you think looks
good...It's a three dimensional art"
Students also appreciate the informal
atmosphere. "It's laid back, and college
kids work there so it's cool. You can have
nice conversations,' said Patterson.
"People tell their hairdresser every-
thing. Oh yeah, dude, they spill their guts.
You'd be surprised with the shit people
will tell you... I love it. I end up telling
my clients a lot of stuff I shouldn't, too,"
expanded Foytik. She added, "I've had
clients ask me for all kinds of advice, like
sex and things like that. I've had guys ask
me about going down on girls, like what
feels better, what techniques they should
use. And then I tell them- at least what
"Pretty much everyone here is really
easy-going... But there's a fine line
between being professional and, well you
know what I mean; she concluded.
However nice the atmosphere,
Nogginz's merit ultimately comes down
to the product. Despite the Best of Ann
Arbor award, not all clients are satisfied.
"I didn't think their haircut was of the
greatest quality and I thought it was real-
ly expensive... The haircut took approxi-
mately four minutes," criticized LS&A
junior Ben Goldfein.
"I asked if they could do corn-rows,
and out of the ten people working, none
of them could do it! I don't trust anyone
in Ann Arbor to cut this mane, anyway.
It's a flowing beauty. It's an artwork and
it needs to be worked by a master and not
some Nogginz bum," complained
Engineering freshman Mike Affeldt.
Foytik justified the corn-row deficien-
cy, "To have like one person request it a
year wouldn't pay for our training [to
learn that hair cut]"
But, contrary to the above complaints,
the masses voted otherwise in the Best of
Ann Arbor survey. Foytik maintains, '"'I
think we put out a pretty smooth ass hair-
cut. We don't take appointments, it's
walk-in only. You just sign in, and it's in
Just don't ask for a bievel.