Hey man,

Now that you're living alone for the first time in seven years, you'll might start noticing new things about yourself, and about how people are generally.

You might also start doing things to yourself. Especially since you're living alone, finding sanctuary from a failed marriage.

First you really need to trim that damn shaggy granola beard. Oh and unless you're trying for a, um, floral designer look, you'd best cut off the pony tail.

Hrm. Looking a bit too much like Commander Riker, you think? Try a goatee for a day or so. Oh, wait, it's 1993, and 77% of men in this neck of the woods have a goatee. Nevermind, shave it all off then! No beard. Are you beginning to see that shaving's not so bad if you add some luxury to the routine?

Shave in the bathtub... buy the best razors... learn how to shave really well... It's a good skill to master.

So, considering the time period and all, you're bound to know at least one person who practices piercing. Wouldn't it be fun to have a huge pirate earring, instead of that silly Celtic knotwork thing you picked up in Boulder?

So get a piercing! This is starting to get fun, huh?

Notice that your musical tastes are changing too? How odd!

Oh: you know how baseball caps always bugged the shit out of Her? Why not order that nubbly black wool baseball cap from the J. Peterman catalog? For your birthday! You can wear it everywhere -- it goes so well with all your new black turtlenecks -- and people will recognize you: "You know that one cute boy with the cute fuzzy baseball cap...?"

Still shaving in the tub? Great! Now of course no one will ever notice (unless by some miracle you manage to get laid) but you should try shaving "down there" ... just for kicks. It's easy and fun! Oh sure, it gets itchy after a few days, but you'll grow to like the extra sensation. Trust me!

Hey: Now'd be a great time to get a tattoo. It's been four months since you moved out... Cool! You know what? You've really become a pretty slick package. I mean sure, you were perilously close to grunge for a while between haircuts. But it was lame and you knew it. It's not easy remaking yourself. Not many even try to go from hippie to hipster. Fewer still succeed.

The hat though... too dorky, no offense intended. It's served its purpose anyways. Put it away in a closet for a couple years. It will be a good reminder of this time. A good reminder too about adornment and identity.

Think about how strange it is: Back when you were a hippie I was afraid you'd lost track of something important about people -- the uniquely human drive to create a self. Under the guise of living the simple life you stopped actively being you.

There's nothing so wrong with being natural, don't get me wrong.

It's just that people smell better with a little splash of artifice.