Contributions by other people

Vince Carducci, USA

I hate to admit this, but I guess I have always been a little hung up about my hair. When I was young -- in the late fifties and early sixties -- I really hated my hair. Growing up in a working-class suburb of Detroit, the prevailing style was definitely late Greaser; and as a result, curly hair didn't make it. I mean, how could you get a real high waterfall in front and a razor-sharp D.A. in back with little ringlets springing every which way? No amount of Vitalis helped. In the late sixties and early seventies, I guess things were a little better with the hippie thing and all. Even then, though, there were problems. First, as a college student, even in those halcyon days of easy federal grants and low tuition, I couldn't really afford to get the kind of rock star hairdo that would best show off my wavy tresses. What's more, I was completely paranoid of barbers -- partly because of "long-hair" prejudices and partly because of bad memories of paternally administered hair disasters -- so I didn't really get a professional haircut at all for about five or six years.

In the mid-seventies, I met a woman who was interested in becoming a hair dresser. I let her experiment with me partly because I liked her, which made me want to give myself over to her care. (They say we men are always on the lookout for our surrogate Mom.) For about seven or eight years she was the only person I would allow to cut my hair. In fact, I scheduled my haircutting appointments around her vacations and followed her as she moved from salon to salon, even though that sometimes meant I would have to drive 30 miles just to get a haircut.

In 1982, I got engaged. That ended my dependence on this woman for my secret narcissistic needs. I stayed on at the last salon she was at, which happened to be near my office, for a number of years after she left to start her own place way out in the ex-urbs, even though I wasn't always that satisfied with the "look" my new stylist was giving me. With the approach of the last decade of the millennium, I decided it was time to update my look. (An impending onset of mid-life crisis probably also contributed to my need to appear "with it.") The woman who had been cutting my hair at that point was middle-aged and Italian and into giving me what I would call a "twilight of the disco era" kind of a cut. You know, a repressed Afro which was out of step with the Gordon Gekko "do" so popular among men during the go-go Reagan years.

The woman who cuts my hair now is in her late twenties. I refer to her as my "hair artist" because everyone is some kind of artist or another after Warhol. She's one of those neo-Beats who dresses in all black and looks like someone you might see on MTV. You see a lot of those types in the neighborhood where I live which has become the cool part of town for the alternative set.

The funny thing is that here I am approaching my mid-forties and finally satisfied with the look of my hair and now I'm losing it in droves. My hair artist does a good job with what she has to work with. She cuts the sides short and leaves the back long, which keeps me from the "Bozo" look long hair used to have on me, but it allows my curls, such as they are now, to spread out over my collar. The top we won't talk about.

As far as how it feels to have my hair cut, I find quite relaxing, especially the shampoo part. One of the downsides to losing my hair is that knit wool hats, like those army-surplus store navy watch caps, itch the top of my head.