Ever get hassled for your rock-length hair? I’m curious to know if anyone ever got hassled for a reverse rock hair length, such as the first generation of punks getting haircuts in the era when long hair became the norm. Did you have a rock-hair advocate?
My Mom was ahead of the curve in the Dry Look movement of the early 1970s, when regular guys first followed the flowing hair fashions established by rock ‘n rollers and assorted mods and hippies in the 1960s. She was right there alongside Carol Brady in supporting workingmen’s rights to grow their hair to a well-conditioned groovy length. She saw that my hair was kept at least as long as the Rubber Soul-era Beatles. Among all the snobbish attitudes my Mom inspired in me and that I still call on in times of trouble, perhaps none matched her attitudes toward hair.
His Father’s Mustache. Mr. James. These are the names of the first “hair salons” that my Mom took me to after countless arguments with traditional barbers through my preschool years. There were two barber friends in the family, in particular, who wanted to get a hold of my hair, Elmer and Pat the Barber (he was never referred to simply as “Pat”).
Elmer, one of my grandfather’s oldest friends, a kindly Italian uncle figure with a ready laugh, would call me over. “Let me see that hair, Jimmy,” he’d say in his gentle voice, as he ran his fingers through it. Then his tone shifted a bit. “Why don’t you tell your mother to let me give you a real boy’s haircut.”
“Pat the Barber,” just as friendly a presence in my grandparents’ neighborhood and the father of boy I’d crawl through dirty factory lots with in the summertime, used to give me the same pitch. I’m a boy, I’m a boy, and my Mom could admit it.