Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I stumbled onto this article in the NY Times about long hair the other day.
Its written by a woman in her 50's about her hair and the grief she takes for it. This is funny because long hair, at least in the 60's and 70's, was all about the conformity of non-conformity. Now society has come full circle and again thinks that "long hairs" - both men and women - should stay in their place.
She complains that society judges middle-aged women with long hair harshly - but she keeps it any way.
Personally I like long hair and long beards. My wife has long hair. I have both.
She's had long hair for most of her adult life (which includes virtually all of our 35 years together). I've always loved her long hair. I'm sure its a pain but, well, isn't everything of value a pain in one form or another - just like me I suppose.
Me, I came to long hair late game late in life...
My was hair was long in the late 70's when we lived in NYC - probably shoulder length. But it got shortened by the pressures of getting a job and raising a family.
I did grow a mustache around 1977 and have had facial hair (mostly a beard) ever since except for exactly one day,
For many years my wife complained about my beard since I first had it. She complained it scratches, it tickles, and so on.
So, one day somewhere in late 80's I got ticked off by all this complaining and decided on a whim to shave it all off - my beard - that is. I came down from the shower all freshly shaved and said "What do you think?"
I saw in her face a look of shear horror. She stammered "Don't ever do that again!"
That sealed the deal - since then I've had a beard.
About 1999 or so I started growing a long beard. I'm not sure why - probably because I'm a non-conformist (really?).
Now I look like Gandalf the Wizard from Lord of the Rings.
This movie was on the TV the other day when my 7 and 9 year old granddaughters were visiting - kids that age don't really watch something like that but it was on and we were all together. Since I actually look a good bit like a younger Gandalf I told them "that's papa when he was older". This caused them to pause and think for quite a while. They looked at the screen and at me. They wouldn't talk to me the rest of the night and regarded me with suspicions for a few weeks afterward.
When I play out at gigs young people are fascinated with my beard - though this can result in problems.
For example, some younger females believe that its perfectly fine to come over and play with my beard - often directly in front of my wife. Let's just say that does not make my wife happy - though so far she' has escaped any subsequent "charges pending". (Though I understand the Loretta Lynn song "Fist City" a lot better than I used too...)
I love my wife and do my best to keep us both out of trouble.
I guess I am old because I always thought that a good way for a man to get smacked by a woman was to randomly start grabbing at her hair uninvited. (I say "smacked" because that violence would mere prelude to my subsequent unspeakable demise at the hands of my better half.)
Younger males are mystified by it as well...
"Do you use conditioner on it?" One asks. Are you kidding?
"Did you dye that white stripe down the middle?" Sure...have you looked at the rest of me?
Probably the most common comment is "How long did it take to grow that?"
"Years" I usually reply.
Despite all this at least I am able to enjoy the silent camaraderie of others with long hair and beards. Though we are few in number relative compared to the throngs of hairless wonders of the modern age. We travel through society mostly unnoticed (think - when did you last see a guy with a long beard?) and, like semi's passing in the night, merely blink a momentary flash of recognition as we pass each other.
Posted by John Gault at 12:28 PM