There aren’t many choices in the lives of the average Marine. Once you join the Corps, free will and all of those other great liberties you grew up with as an American go right out the door. Every Sunday, however, you find yourself making one of the only choices you have: what haircut do you want?
Granted, there aren’t many things to choose from as a male Marine, but each one has its own subtle sense of identity attached to it. What haircut you choose on the weekend says a lot about you; and in a world where everyone dresses the same, it’s often the only thing to say about you at a glance.
The Low-Reg is the favorite of most infantry Lance Corporals simply because it offers you the most hair. This has given it a somewhat “rebellious” nature, as most people consider it the official “shit-bag” haircut. Needless to say, there is no realistic correlation between performance as a Marine and hair length, but you’d have a hard time convincing a Staff NCO of that. This haircut often looks kind of ridiculous–especially in uniform, where it gives rise to the infamous “duck-bill” while wearing the 8-point cover. As Abe mentions in the strip, it’s less about how it looks, and more about what it stands for: getting away with as much as you can.
The Medium-Reg is my personal favorite, as it offers you a decent ‘do without sacrificing too much of your beloved hair. It generally looks clean in uniform but has enough hair to be styled in civilian attire without looking like a total tool. I rocked this haircut, even as the creator of “Terminal Lance,” simply because I liked to stay off the radar completely rather than being on it as a shit-bag. This haircut allows you to look like you give a little bit of a shit and still enjoy your life.
This haircut is the favorite of most Staff NCO’s and officers, actually. The High-Reg is just higher than the Medium-Reg, but without being as far gone as the horrendous “High and Tight” (see below). Staff and officers love this haircut because, even if they’re relatively relaxed people, they have to give the impression that they’re more motivated than their subordinates (even if they’re not). A Staff NCO with a high-reg is probably a fairly normal person in real life.
This is the quintessential “Marine” haircut, and it looks terrible on everyone. The only people that get this haircut are boots, Staff NCO’s that have succumbed to “Staff NCO Syndrome,” or boot Staff NCO’s. This haircut is also why Marines are called “Jarheads,” as it makes the back of your head look like a jar (or something). The higher and tighter, the more boot it tends to look.
I don’t make these rules, this is just how it is.
Despite the general theory of higher and tighter is more motivated, people that shave their head completely bald are not necessarily motivated people. “The Bic,” as it’s known, is usually done by people who simply like the look it gives them, and it is also an easy haircut to self-maintain. Often, Marines will shave their head simply to avoid paying for haircuts every week. There doesn’t seem to be any known correlation between motivation and completely shaving your head. It’s also the haircut of choice for guys that are noticeably balding, since it generally looks better than letting your whispy, thinning hair grow out.
There are a couple of other haircuts not illustrated here, such as the “Moto-Hawk” and the flat-top high and tight. These were not illustrated as of press time because they look fucking stupid.
Also, I know I wrote a blog post similar to this a few years ago, but decided to revisit the subject with a more illustrated guide and comic strip.
Lastly, I just want to throw it out there that we have some women’s wear in the Terminal Lance Store now! Check it out, ladies.