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Open Features: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Frank Healy reflects on hair styles down the centuries.

Im going to buy you a violin.

If one of my parents said that to me they meant it was time for me to get my hair cut. Not a very welcome prospect when I was a teenager. To say my version of a harcut differed from theirs at that time was an understatement. Those were the days when you asked for a DA or Tony Curtis.

Maurice the barber had learned his trade in the army. He knew all the modern styles, but once he got you in the chair they all translated into a short back and sides.

When I met my wife-to-be she agreed to go out with me on condition that I got my hair cut - in a modern fashion. I did, and that was the last time I visited the barber. For well over thirty years now she has decided how I should have it cut. That is the penalty you pay when you marry a hairdresser. Bit like going to see Maurice all those years ago.

When I was younger I had a crew cut. However it was explained to me that this did not create the right image for someone in business. I was ordered to grow it!

Over the past 50 years there have been many hair styles. The Punk revolution brought the Mohican. Bright colours were added to the style so that those wearing it would stand out in a crowd.

Then came long hair, previously associated with those who were artistic, and perms for men. I wonder how many men now folically challenged yearn for the return of those days?

Our youngest son spent most of this year in San Francisco. Remember flower power? When he came home in September the first thing he asked for was a haircut. Done by his Mum!

Hair has been styled for many centuries. The ancient Egyptians shaved their heads then wore wigs to protect themselves from the sun. Other cultures, including the Assyrians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, also used wigs.

During the 60s many young men wore wigs copying the hairstyle of the Beatles. Unlike today employers were then still very much into that famous style of my youth the short back and sides.

Today hair is a fashion statement - long or short and any colour you want. Lotions enable you to change from straight to curly whenever you want. Those with curls now buy straighteners.

Following fashions is not without hazards. Great care needs to be taken, even by professionals. My wife vividly recalls the day when the hair of one of her clients turned green!


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