A close shave with the law in Texas
Keeping the boundaries of paranoia firmly in place, and in a bid to deter the... er... Taliban from trying to join the Texas police force in the good ol’ US of A (like they would), in 2005 the authorities there banned facial hair for officers – dubiously on the grounds that in the event of a ‘tourist’ attack, gas masks would not fit snuggly over an over-hairy chin.
This was a surprising enough move given that the average Texan male tends to be wedded to a Tom Sellick-esque top lip caterpillar.
And now, it seems, it has come back to bite the force on the behind (the law, that is, not the pre-Butterfly organism)as a quartet of fuzzy-faced Texcops are suing the force because their status and pay have been diminished.
The lawsuit argues the ban disproportionately affects black officers as it is unfair on people with a skin condition known as pseudofolliculitis barbae, which affects those who shave and causes rashes, ingrowing hair and severe irritation – something Guru knows all about, having shared a bathroom with Mrs Guru for the past two decades.
Rebutting the claims, the Texas police force has argued that it allowed the men to wear a bag on their heads to counter the problem – those open-minded Texans have always been fond of wearing hoods, after all.
However, turning up to patrol the streets with an ill-fitting facial sack would clearly diminish the high level of respect generally afforded to the non-white community in the southern states.
Which pretty much upholds the officers claim of loss of status.
That, and the fact the condition primarily affects men of an afro-caribbean origin, suggests to Guru that the officers have every chance of winning their case as this is a clear case of facial harassment.