When Justin Bieber made the momentous decision to allow someone to cut off his famous locks, MTV called it "the haircut heard 'round the world."
So Riptide wasn't surprised when we heard that the precious pelo had sold for $40,668 in a charity auction. We were, however, higher than Kathy Griffith on an eight ball of Charlie Sheen when we discovered that a tuft of Bieber fever was headed to Miami Beach.
Long story short, we headed to Lucky Strike last night to check it out. The horror! The horror! Here's what we found.
Our first observation: Divorced of its dreamy Canadian pop star context, the $40K filaments look like... umm... pubic hair. Sorry, but they do. There's no skirting that fact.
Expensive pubes, for sure. Encased in a plastic cube with the signatures of Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres (the original recipient of the hairball) on three sides, there was no mistaking this mini mop for the crap that collects under your bed when you don't vacuum.
Well-guarded pubes, no doubt about it. Three hulking pube-sentinels stood at attention, as if some evil genius was about to steal the Biebz's DNA and clone an army of pastey white pro-lifers. In fact, that was the worst fear of Jonathan Sharvit, managing director of the Stone Rose, the Miami-based men's clothing company hosting the fundraising event.
"The last thing you want is to see someone running down Lincoln Road with Justin Bieber's hair," he said, explaining the security guards.
But where were the throngs of tweenagers we expected?
Sharvit explained that about 120 people -- nearly all girls -- showed up to have their photos taken with the superstar's split ends. Riptide had arrived at the tailend of the event, but one valiant Bieber fan remained: 10-year-old Sara Saiovici. Dressed in a black Bieber shirt and sporting a pink "Baby, Baby, Baby" wristband that she had bought when the singer came to American Airlines Arena this winter, Sara had found her happy place.
"It's awesome," she said of the event, showing us her photo with the life-size Bieber cut-out and hair cube. "He's awesome. Everything about him is awesome."
If Bieber's recent, right-leaning revelations had upset her, Sara didn't show it. Nor did Sharvit attribute the mild turnout to the pop singer's controversial quotes about abortion and pre-marital sex.
"Honestly, I don't think those girls care what he thinks about abortion," he said. "In fact, they probably agree with him since most of them want to have his baby."
At first, Sharvit said he wasn't sure where the Bieber clippings would go when the event ended. But eventually he opened up about the famous follicles' next stop.
"I'm the one taking them out of here," he said: $40,000 in a cardboard box. "I've got to keep them safe." And no, he said, he wouldn't open the cube, or smell it, or try to make sweet love to it. So stop asking.
A block away, Bieber's fellow Canadian performer Vlad Shvartsman -- known as "Mellow Cello" -- played Bach's Prelude to Suite No. 1 to passersby on Lincoln Road. His tip cup couldn't have contained more than $5.
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"Is that what all the yelling was about?" he asked when informed of the Bieber fundraiser. "I don't listen to any of his songs. I'm not really tuned into the pop scene," admitted Shvartsman, who trained behind the Iron Curtain at the Moscow Conservatory before moving to Montreal.
"Apparently, he's a talented musician," he said, as if willing himself to believe. "He's got to have something special, otherwise there would be a million of him."
Riiight. Does that mean Shvartsman would be willing to add "Baby, Baby, Baby" to his repetoire to drum up more tips?
"No way am I learning any Bieber," he said. "I'm not not going to be a slave to what people want to hear."