Ex long haired man’s path to a hair cut


I cut off my long hair (described in the previous post) for two reasons:

  1. It was life draining to maintain.
  2. I felt it symbolised many things I did not want to be associated with.

The first point comes down to the fact the male hair is thicker, coarser and harder to control. I wasn’t in the mood to poison myself with a styling products even if I could have afforded them. Consequently I was spending up to 45 minutes a day washing and drying my hair. All the maintenance didn’t eliminate the fact that long hair is miserable in hot whether. In winter, an improperly dried pony tail would freeze giving new meaning to the term cold shoulder.

It was the day to day hassle that got to me to stumble off to the barber shop. Yet the underlying assumptions and adjectives of having long hair were already grating on me.

Most of these are it built on the hippie stereotype from the flower power days. Arty is the most prominent odorous association — expanding to some association with the visual, musical or liberal arts. If he is in the shadow of 40 there is an expectation of some kind of beard. Politically the there are links with the left but without the inconvenience of socialist regimentation. Lately it has also come to mean some sort of activism. Often of the environmental kind.

Dress and grooming are obvious critical factors for differentiating long hairs. Neat expensive suits indicate the corporate side of the spectrum. Perhaps a millionaire, an IT guru, a designer of some sort (frequently fashion/inderior). Advertising is said to be a profession where pony tails are common as it hair styling.

Dishevelment points in the other direction: a lower rung in the ladder of academia, impoverished activism, and of course The Arts. Long hair is practically a uniform of musicians and artists irrespective of success, fame or talent. It is a proclamation of a commitment to “higher” things as opposed to the superficialities such as hair cuts. At the dregs dishevelled long hair is a sign of less than harmlessly eccentricity, flaky hippiedom and insanity.

There is also a naive perception particularly among naive younger women encountered in first year drawing classes that long hair indicates a “sensitive” man. Specially if he is from the spiritual east. Like Yanni.

However long haired tough guys like Steven Seagal, David Carradine in Kung Fu, and Adrian Paul as Duncan McLeod in the Highland TV series all had the arty, mystic touch. Of course there are the Hells Angels biker, our very own “yakko”s and organised crime figure stereotypes as well. Not very positive associations that we’d rather not discuss,

To short hairs, the pony tailed/long haired man sends a subliminal announcement of arrogance, of being talented, of being better. Its is a silent arrogantly selfish fuck you to conformist, institutional culture, the traditional, the old, the authoritarian and a life of chartered accountancy. Long hair creates a subtle ripple of tension in mainstream circles. All fine and dandy if you want to declare yourself an artiste.

I have never sort such a title and actively run away from it. Consequently long hair was inventing assumptions about me that are wrong and tedious to deal with. Yet in the end what mattered to me was that with a few snips I go about 45 minutes of my life back.

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7 comments

  1. Every line in this was brilliantly crafted, but I gotta admit, I loved this one the most.

    “At the dregs dishevelled long hair is a sign of less than harmlessly eccentricity, flaky hippiedom and insanity.”

    Great. Great. Great.

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    • “All the maintenance didn’t eliminate the fact that long hair is miserable in hot whether. In winter, an improperly dried pony tail would freeze giving new meaning to the term cold shoulder.”

      Sounds ambivalent. Why have long hair to begin with?

      Bohemiangypsy: i.to. Long hair’s bombast. Nice.

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  2. Want a hair cut, whether the whether is hot or not, have been working too hard to think about it. Good to be reminded. Too much left behind and look forward to seeing tresses on floor. Good obs.

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  3. Brilliant ethnography on hair! Certainly enjoyed it more than the last book on hair I read (yes, it has been done in a very Freudian sort of way on the matted hair of Kataragama priests). Great post as always! 🙂

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  4. thebohemiangypsy: Thank you 🙂 didn’t think too much about that line but happy to hear that you liked it 😀

    mgc.propergander: Not sure what you mean 😐

    LdimediciAf: Hope you get a moment to shed some 😀

    Vindi: Thank you 🙂 though I didn’t think I was being ethnographical. Is it Medusa’s Hair by Gananath Obeyesekere you read?

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  5. For the maintenance, I can understand the time “lost” to maintenance. Quite annoying indeed.

    As for the attitude, I think you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Short hair sends the message, “I’m a ‘Yes Man”, “I’m just like everyone else”, “I can’t think for myself”. It’s one of the reasons the first thing the Army does – cut your hair off.

    Sorry to hear that you didn’t have the balls to be an independent individual, and decided to confirm to rest of society’s artificial judgments based solely on superficial perceptions.

    I wish you the Best of Luck in taking the easy path by being not willing to participate in changing the stereotypical perception of long hair and instead go along with everyone else in judging a book by its cover.

    As a Nazirene, I will say “The Mystic’s path is indeed a lonely one because most think it’s not worth it, it’s too hard, the social peer pressure is not worth fighting against, etc., insert any other excuse…” You must of hated Kennedy’s speech: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not only because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. ”

    Sorry to hear you let your environment confirm you, instead of the other way around. True Power is realizing you don’t need to give your power away by letting others make decisions for you based on what they think; Confidence is having the Self-Respect to Make and Live your own decision in spite of criticism. Too bad your long hair didn’t grant you the insight of “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

    And yes, I understand you must pick and choose your battles. Pity you didn’t see the value in this one.

    Peace & Truth
    Michaelangelo

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  6. Short hair on men hide their slaveness and alienation, whereas longhair on men is definitely the opposite: freedom, manly appearance and virility. Those who disagree about that are certainly envious and illiterates. Women are often longhaired not ’cause they’re females, instead, they were left behind in history. Otherwise, men were required by Capitalism to play a role as an ordinary “piece”, so, vanity was the first thing to be avoided.Longhair can be an issue like this just due to its real meaning – it brings that forgotten strong and brave man from the past, whose self power could ruin the roman empire, for instance. Longhair is specially “made” for men only, its biblical, natural and logical. We should not forget that many aspects, such as hair, earrings, some kind of clothes, and so on, WERE FIRSTLY USED BY MEN ONLY and adopted by women later in different times of the histoty. The people that dislike longhaired men are so sordid and stupid that don’t take into consideration that this continent was invaded by foreign mistaken concepts that took the native ones to wrong social standards through the ages: catolicism, capitalism, european dress codes and so on. Longhair on men is supposed to be the best choice after so many mistakes spread along the centuries. Enough!

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