Last week I went to get my hair cut. It’s been a hot summer in Columbus, and in my view hair of any appreciable length just adds to the heat, so I asked the Platinum Stylist to cut my hair extra short this time. She did her usual terrific job, and when I walked out of the salon, I rubbed my hand over my scalp and realized my hair was probably as short as it has been since I was growing up in the ’60s.
For the first ten years or so of my life, I was a kid with a crew cut. Dad used “home barbershop” clippers to give UJ and me buzz cuts in the basement of our house. We went to school and played with our friends — all of whom also had buzz cuts — without thinking about our hair. But as the ’60s moved forward, we became dimly aware that you were supposed to pay attention to your hair if you wanted to be cool, and those haircuts started to get a little bit longer.
The ’70s, though, were when the hair length really took off. From a style standpoint, virtually everything about the ’70s, from haircuts to clothing styles to car designs, was an over-the-top disaster. By the time I reached high school, I was one of the kids in the yearbook with the generic ’70s long hair look — grown down to the collar and then chopped off in the back, and grown down to eye level and parted to some fashion or another in front, requiring you to constantly fling the hair out of your eyes and out of your way. Sure, your head looked like you were wearing a hairy bicycle helmet, and it was hot as blazes in summer, but that was the price you paid for fitting in. And in college my hair got even longer.
But when the ’80s rolled around, and I started working as a professional, the hair trend reversed. Over the last 30 or so years, my haircuts have gotten progressively shorter and more frequent, and I like it that way. When I think of my haircuts as a kind of chart, it’s an extreme bell graph, with the ’70s being the height of the bad hair blip. And when you look at a bell graph, it kind of looks like one of those bad ’70s haircuts, doesn’t it?
I’m glad I’m now on the other side of the bad hair blip.