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Don't Rush Me

Of Hair And Men

The great American story from the past and into the future!

May 08, 2013 - While thumbing through the book of 1971 Oxford Leader newspapers, a feature article caught my eye. Headlined, Clip Dip: Long hair no boon for Oxford Barber.

The two barbers in town, Stub Robinson and Jack Magee (both sadly, now clipping hair in Heaven) lamented on the loss of business due to the long-hairs.

Said Jack, "Hell, yes, long hair has hurt my business. And it's not just a fad, it's here to stay. In the beginning it was just the kids. Now it's the adults who are jumping on the bandwagon."

Stub, whose father before him and his father before him were all barbers of a sort, was a little more philosophical. "The long hair cycle will die out. The New Yorker and the brush styles died out. Every generation has its thing."

Before I continue, what is a New Yorker?

Well, I photocopied the page and brought it into my office. I then looked at my computer at the two blue-eyed and (short) blond haired Rush lads, that emblazon my screen.

What will be the hair style when they are adults and have kids of their own. (I've watched their hair grow long and curly, buzz-cut short to a gelled-up wave look, so it can't get worse . . . can it?)

I shivered and remembered 1971 only because that was the year my mother's brother, Jim, had long hair. Not just "long-ish" hair. He had long, straight dishwater blond hair that was below his shoulders. I remember asking Jim if he was a "hippie." Jim was 17 or 18 at the time and I was only eight years old, but I can distinctly remember asking him that question as he headed upstairs to his attic-turned bedroom with the groovy flat-black painted walls and funky fluorescent posters.

I really didn't know, nor care if Jim was a "hippie" or not. I didn't know what a "hippie" was, I just remember my father's discouraging words whenever a boy with long hair came into view.

See, my dad wasn't too "hip." I'm sure he was "cool" in his day -- but "cool" didn't involve long hair. I've been told by Mother Rush, that when I was but a lad, I had blond, curly hair before my first haircut -- which came directly after some lady at the grocery told Dad his son was a "cute little girl."

To which he replied, "That's my son." And, then left the groceries and went the barbershop to get me my first haircut. Come to think of it, I don't think Dad went grocery shopping after that?

Subsequently, up until the seventh grade, I always had short hair. And, Dad was not afraid to cut my hair with the shears he picked up somewhere in Korea in the mid-1950s. If serving in the United States Army taught Dad anything, it was how to give a boy a proper haircut (and then how to teach said lad how to spit polish black, wing-tip shoes before church -- but that's a story for another time.)

When I was a teen, I had long hair. By the time I hit college I started to get shorter hair cuts. My uncle, Jim, has more hair on his face than on the top of his head these days (if only because he's folliclely challenged).

The point is (and I keep trying to convince myself of this), things change. And change isn't necessarily bad. Hairstyle changes, clothes change, standards change -- I'm sure something considered Victorian erotica, would be considered prime-time, family TV viewing these days.

But . . .

Yet . . .

I have this nervous reaction when I think, "What will be the hairstyle when my boys are men and they have kids? "

Images of the multicolored, multi-shaved noggin of Dennis Rodman keep popping in my head. I see hair-gelled into spikes. Which leads me down the path to seeing face and body piercings. Which leads to tatoos and black-studded, leather collars, which . . . I had better stop now.

Better yet, I had better stop it now. I'm sure if I look long enough and hard enough through my father's stuff I can find the haircutting implements he used on me 30 years ago. . . unless he took them with him, because he wanted to cut hair with Stub and Jack.

Comments for the over thinking Don can be e-mailed to:

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at:
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