Hair Apparent

Some people just outlive their hairstyle.

During the 60s, both my father and his next-youngest brother still wore 50s hairstyles. Especially my uncle.

I don’t know if it’s called a ‘ducktail’ or what the exact name is, but in my family, the look was hanging on. I suspect folks from the Brylcreem factory were very appreciative that, thanks to my dad and uncle, they were still employed.

The hairstyles they wore didn’t match the longer, dryer look of the other dads and uncles around me. Many of my friend’s dads had that James Brolin windblown coif.

“The wet head is dead,” said one hair product TV commercial of the time.

Not in our family it wasn’t. The look of ten years prior was not only still around, it seemed to have the same projected longevity as Keith Richards.

It wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It took about another 10 trips around the sun before they left that look behind.

On the other hand, the women in my family were always anxious to try the latest style. If one of them got a haircut that the others liked, within days it seemed, the others were sporting the same cut and curl.

And when I say ‘curl,’ I mean it. Curls, especially in the early 70s, spindled down over women’s ears in a way that would have made Rapunzel proud.

I still have a charcoal sketch that a New Orleans artist did of my mom during a trip to The Big Easy. The curls are the first things to which your eyes are drawn when you look at the almost 50-year-old drawing.

Her curls would blow back and forth in the wind. My dad and uncle did not have this problem. Their hair had the drag coefficient of a Ferrari in a wind tunnel test.

My mom, aunts and their friends may have had current hairstyles, but for the ladies who were 20 or 30 years older than them, the beehive look was living on.

The beehive hairstyle was one that resembled a tall, thin dome and was held together with pins and three cans of Aqua Net.

On Sunday mornings, if I wound up sitting behind one of the women with beehive hair I would try and guess how many of my Hot Wheels I could hide in there before the whole thing toppled.

I think the beehive was one of the reasons I so identified with cartoonist Gary Larson’s, The Far Side. Most of the women in his single-panel masterpieces sported it.

When I turned about 13, I decided I wanted to grow my hair long like all of my rock idols – The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doobie Brothers.

My father was completely against this idea. “Why would you want to look like a bunch of hippies?” he would ask.

I don’t think he ever saw that he was wearing his hair like Elvis and the rock stars of his day.

We fought constantly about the length of my hair. He would often point out that my hair was longer than the girl I was currently dating.

He wasn’t wrong about that.

When I was in high school, many of the girls wore their hair like Dorothy Hamill. The guys just happened to wear theirs like Mark Hamill.

I wore my hair long until it became impractical. Cutting your hair short added several sleeping minutes to your morning. When the sleep had more value than the vanity, off went the hair.

That was decades ago.

The reason I know this is that someone recently sent me a photo taken shortly after I’d cut off my hair. And the hairstyle in the 30-something-year-old photo? It hasn’t changed a lick. It’s the same way I wear it today.

Now I can see how my dad and uncle held on to their ducktails.


You just keep cutting and fixing your hair the same way without even thinking about it. Suddenly, years have gone by and you’ve done what your dad and uncle did – never changed.

But, there are worse things than never changing how your hair looks. Like not having any hair to style.

My luck, if I changed my hairstyle, I’d start to go bald. I don’t want to cause any seismic shifts in the tectonic plates of my cranium. So, I’ll just leave things as they are.

I’d much rather have my hair turn gray than turn loose.


©2020 John Moore

John’s book, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, and his new book, Write of Passage Volume II, are available on Amazon and on John’s website at


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