Friday, August 27, 2010

Time for Another Rant About History and Cutting

Time for another rant about hair and haircuts.

I've realised that short hair is a form of self-harming.

Up until 96 years ago it was normal for men to have long hair. Then the 1914-18 World War broke out and men were forced into the trenches. Their hair was cut and they were subjected to one of the most extreme processes of brutalisation ever devised.

The collective trauma didn't end with the Armistice. The men who survived came back changed and the convict-style "short back and sides" was the symbol of that psychological change.

50 years later, in the 1960s, normal ordinary long hair, just as men have almost always worn, came back into fashion, but 50 years of self-harming and psychological punishment were still symbolised by the regular trip to the barbershop.

The return to normal long hair was viewed as anything but normal.

The centenary of the outbreak of World War One is coming up in four years (or six years for the U.S.A.). Will we ever put the self-harm of haircuts behind us and truly return to normal? It remains to be seen.

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