Hair: The First Sacrifice Every Dumb Boot Makes For His Country

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A recruit from Hotel Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, receives his initial haircut at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Dec. 12. Recruits receive haircuts immediately after arriving to create uniformity.

A recruit from Hotel Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, receives his initial haircut at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Dec. 12. Recruits receive haircuts immediately after arriving to create uniformity.

The first haircut is a pivotal moment for any boot. I remember waiting my turn on the assembly line in 2008, cast under a strange new spell of panic and obedience that would soon feel familiar, wondering, “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”

Standing on that assembly line waiting for my head to be manhandled felt like a rite of passage. I was about to serve my country, god damn it, and if it meant giving up my beautiful locks, then that’s the sacrifice I had to make.

Now I know my hair wasn’t anywhere near the biggest thing I lost when I joined the Corps, but it will always be the first thing, as I surrendered to my new strange life as a Marine. We produced a video to express the loss every recruit feels when he first goes under those steely, unforgiving blades.

Here’s to the more naive versions of ourselves. We had no fuckin’ clue what we were in for.