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Michael Smerconish Headshot

The Smerconish Guide to Shear Ecstasy

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Dear Britney:

Welcome to the club.

As a charter member, I'm often asked for advice by those contemplating the switch. I have guidance for you that could also help others who are considering coming out. (Judging from that photo we've all seen of you getting out of a car, I know you need a little advice about shaving.)

First, some have suggested that you had intended to get a "Brazilian" and that you simply got your body parts confused. I hope not. I want to believe that you're earnest about making the switch, and not trying to use the community of the follicly challenged as a foil to wrest Anna Nicole Smith from the headlines.

Our lifetime of suffering has only recently ended. For years, before we shaved it all, we in the cue-ball club were the brunt of countless jokes and outright discrimination.

We're those who in college were voted "hairline most likely to recede." In the movies, it's our lookalike, the bald guy, who's always cast as the white-collar criminal. See an overweight man in a commercial? Bald. Same with the guy who gets the condition they're talking about when they say "if this lasts for four hours, call a doctor." El Baldo. Picked last for sports, has a hard time getting some, and is always the final person hired? Mr. Baldypants.

But the tide has turned.

Like Samson's hair in reverse, we draw strength from the loss of our manes. And we're laughing all the way to the bank. No more shampoo. Or conditioner. No need for a rug. A convertible never felt so good. Our bad hair days are over. No more tangles, indeed.

My second point: White guys, and, apparently, white chicks, can shave their heads but still need to keep it real. We'll never look as cool as when a black guy does it. If you're white, there's a thin line between looking cool and looking like that weird guy who dances in the Six Flags commercials. Samuel L. Jackson vs. Kojak? Grace Jones vs. Sinead O'Conner? I rest my case.

Third, not everyone can do this. You need a smooth, well-shaped noggin if you shave. Who hasn't seen a real-life egghead, a scar or some unidentifiable growth? Take George "the Animal" Steele. There's a guy who should have let that hair run up his back and down his chest.

As with waistlines and dresses, sometimes those who should be covering up are the first to take it off. They ruin it for the rest of us. I can't tell from the footage on "Entertainment Tonight" or the photos in US Weekly if you qualify. You're generally perceived as being hot, so I'll take for granted you pass the shape test.

Fourth, get some sun. I shaved my head on a bet after a few cocktails in January. Big mistake. Then again, the beaches near Philly don't open until Memorial Day. I recommend some No. 30 sunblock at first. You don't want to start peeling up there.

Fifth, you need a mirror in the shower to keep things in shape. I recommend the steam-free kind you can get at a place like Sharper Image. Don't even try this at a sink. Shaving your head at home in the sink is one step up from the hobo who does his grooming at 30th Street or Penn Station - and two steps up from anyone who has ever used a Flow-bee.

Sixth, you used shears - big mistake! You need the right lather, and I've tried them all. My favorite: Helan Natural's Vetiver & Rum Sapone da Barba. I get it at smallflower.com. Made in Italy, and it's the best - $12 for 3.5 oz.

Finally, we're not "skinheads." Please use your celebrity to redirect the word choice. We've retained the same PR pros responsible for converting "stewardess" to "flight attendant," and "garbageman" to "sanitation worker." They advise the use of the terms "the de-maned," serviced by a "shearing professional." Spread the word.

So take off that wig. Stand tall. You're not alone. Still, you may want to leave the grooming of your children to K-Fed.