Yeah, that was a real bummer of a time in everyone's life. It's a pain that a lot of us have gone through: we bring our old lady home with us and, probably at our mom's behest, she starts thumbing through the ol' family scrapbook and there she stumbles across the grade-school pictures. And, lo and behold, right there in the middle of your glorious elementary career, is that god-damn bowl cut.
Quick tangent: let's make it clear that we are talking about the bowl cut, the unfortunate mid-90s hairdo, not the bull cut, where you just stand there looking huge and intense (see below) until they chop your nuts off.
Back to the bowl cut. The bowl cut seems to have positioned itself in all of our lives at the point where the cuteness of our childhood was starting to ramp up into the awkward, unprepossessing mien of prepubescence before collapsing into the downright unsightliness of our teenage years. The bowl cut is the beginning of the end, where the serene, delighted days of our non-age began to submit to the cruel crumble of the human condition's veneer.
Enough of that shit. Let's take a closer look by backing off a little bit and looking at haircuts similar to the bowl cut in reputation and style and a little bit about what it means to have that haircut.
Now, the mullet gets a bad rap. I blame this on the movie Joe Dirt. That fucker David Spade did to mullets what Upton Sinclair's The Jungle did to the meat-packing industry: highlighted all the bogus, grotesque bits while glossing over the awesome fun parts. They're there, trust. As the above picture entails, a mullet doesn't automatically confine you to pumping gas from dawn to dusk before returning to your trailer to check out some NASCAR and mystery stories. No way. A mullet can be classed up to the point where you can even rock it alongside a bow tie. Holy smokes, a bow tie. However, some of the mullet's stigmas are well-earned and right on the mark. Bow tie or no, if you have a mullet you probably like to drink 40s of Icehouse.
A sick buzzcut.
Chances are if you are over the age of 18 and sporting a buzzcut, it's because you have come to grips with your aging reality and have chosen the buzzcut over the impending, certain embarassment of going bald ('sup, Doug). To this I say: more power to you. Better to shear your gourd down to a dignified chrome-dome then face the embarassment of stumbling out in public sporting a lame-ass comb over.
Yikes, that's the kind of look that could give The Undertaker nightmares. Also, if you pair your buzz with an imposing Fu Manchu (a la Travolta, above) people will probably think you are the kind of guy who writes these kinds of books.
Next, a flattop.
Dudes sporting flattops are earthy, hardworking types who like to wake up early in the morning to go out to the barn to show the animals who's boss before putting in 12-18 hours tilling up the soil in a cabless tractor in the brutal summer sun/merciless winter cold. They are interested in sports but not overly so, they go to a nice Protestant church, respect their parents, are faithful to their spouses, hug their children at least once a week, and...yep, the below photo confirms it...
...they are crazy about the stars and stripes. That's a paragon of mid-American machismo right there, make no bones about it. The flattop is a haircut that so perfectly embodies the spirit of the American system that they based Guile from Street Fighter II off of it. The body and karate moves are minor details.
So what about the bowl cut?
Well, when you see a picture of yourself with a bowl cut, what does it make you think about yourself? Like, really deep down? When I look at that picture of the 4th grade Lightweight with his blonde bowl cut, coke bottle spectacles and Chipper Jones jersey, I know that all that the bowl cut's universal symbolism is, unchangingly, the following:
1) You needed a haircut.
2) Your mom didn't have any free time on her hands.
3) However, she did have a pair of clippers...
...and a salad bowl.
4) Ah, shit, now you have a bowl cut.
To conclude: the bowl cut sucked then and it sucks now.
In the haircut family it's the underachiveing, overconsuming, non-hygenic, mouth-breathing bottom feeder of a cousin that shows up without being invited and stays way too long, very nearly ruining your life and causing you to shudder when you look back at that awful time.
And it makes you look like a mushroom.