A Hair Experiment

“I would just like to say that it is my conviction
That longer hair and other flamboyant affectations
Of appearance are nothing more
Than the male’s emergence from his drab camouflage
Into the gaudy plumage
Which is the birthright of his sex.”


There was a tipping point in the mid-sixties when suddenly it was not just rock stars who had long hair.  The fad had caught on, more and more young men were growing their hair out, and so of course i liked the look and wanted it for myself.

Unfortunately, i was in the Army.

And then, when i was discharged and returned to school as a teaching assistant while i worked on my MA, somehow long hair just didn’t feel right for one who was teaching freshman classes.  And then i started teaching at Midland College, and in a town as conservative as Midland, long hair was most definitely not worn by teachers.

And then i escaped to California and started teaching part time at Chabot College, and even there i saw no teachers with long hair.  And then i was at City College of San Francisco.  Same deal.  And then i finally grew so outraged over being exploited as a part-timer that i quit and started driving a limousine wearing a three-piece suit, with which long hair most definitely didn’t go.

And then i finally escaped from that trap into a job as a technical writer at a little computer company thanks to my friend Al, but none of the men there had long hair.  And when that ship was sinking i leaped into a tiny software company inappropriate for long hair.  And then from there to Oracle, where long hair was definitely permitted, but the only one in my division who had it was a flaming queen and radical iconoclast with whom i failed to feel enough solidarity to emulate.

So finally i retired, by which time long hair was totally passe and i’d somehow pretty much lost interest.

But not quite, and the question of growing a magnificent mane kept coming up until finally, last January, it struck me that considering my advanced age, if i were going to grow long hair, i better get right on it.

So i just stopped getting my hair cut. And began casually remarking that although i was losing my powers in most areas as my age advanced, one thing i could still do was grow hair.

So it grew and grew and grew, and became more and more difficult to deal with until finally i decided that i could call the experiment a success and go back to my barber.

I enlisted a couple of friends to take photos of me when my hair was at its mad scientist length, but i couldn’t get either of the photos to play well with WordPress.  Unfortunately i didn’t discover that until after i’d gone to my barber, so i’ll have to make do here with a shot at about the halfway mark.

Three months after that shot, i turned myself in at my barber’s.  Here’s my hair afterwards.

And here i am without it on me.

Back to normalcy.


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  1. Rick C.
    Posted 6 September 2018 at 12:08 | Permalink

    Ha! Great story. I know you mentioned this to me in July, but I didn’t realize that you’d NEVER had long hair. I thought it had just been many years…. And yeah you did look like a mad scientist, ala Christopher Lloyd from the Back to the Future movies…

    • Posted 6 September 2018 at 17:44 | Permalink

      Quite a few people liked the long hair on me, but definitely a factor in my getting it cut was the number or people who used the phrase “mad scientist”.

  2. David Ogden
    Posted 20 September 2018 at 08:30 | Permalink

    I like my crew cut. No fuss, no messing around, it’s just there and it’s happy being short.

    • Posted 30 September 2018 at 08:20 | Permalink

      I had a crew cut for all my life before this experiment and look forward to having one for the rest of it.

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