Friday, January 20, 2012

They've got the fever...

As I sat in the carpool line at my son’s middle school the other day, I had a startling realization. This country’s tween and teen boys are facing an epidemic that is being largely ignored. I watched as the sea of primarily brown-haired kids poured out of the doors, each looking nearly identical, necks twitching in an almost syncopated rhythm to a beat that we, as adults, can’t seem to hear. I can pick out my son from the crowd thanks to a recessive gene that gave him blond hair, but that doesn’t make this affliction any less damaging. He, too, is a victim. If left unchecked, this syndrome is going to leave a huge chunk of middle-aged men with arthritic necks like no plague in our recorded history.  Not even the methodical head bobbing while stoned and listening to Pink Floyd from a couple of generations back can touch it. I’m talking about the dreaded Bieber Hairdo and the stranglehold it has on our boys, causing them to flip back their bangs every thirty seconds or so, resulting in lasting damage, no doubt, to their developing necks and spines. I’m calling for all parents to take a stand, grabbing your torch and  pitchforks hair clippers to end this madness now.

This is a cause that is close to my heart. When I see my son carefully brushing his way-too-long bangs over to the side, I am reminded of how I fell for the hype of the “celebrity hairdo” as an adolescent. Remember the Shag? Oh yeah, I had that cut. It was less of a style and more of an “Oh My God Is My Hairdresser On Crack” kind of look with its mish-mash of varying layers that seemed to be in no particular pattern. We looked like a legion of young people with perpetual bed head, carefully styled bed head, mind you. Unlike the Bieber ‘do, the Shag was completely gender neutral, affecting boys and girls alike.

To my knowledge there has only been one human to successfully rock the Shag style, and her name is Joan Jett, but this was long after I succumbed to this seventies 'do.
 After the shag, I moved on to the harder stuff – the Dorothy Hamill bob. This was a lovely hairstyle for world-class figure skaters possessing extra thick, smooth, shiny hair that was styled in a high-end salon. It was a disaster for a kid like me with thin, limp, lifeless hair that was styled by an older southern lady named Lurlene who was more accustomed to fashioning the beehive up-do for her customers instead of the trendy, shorter cuts. I looked like I had been abandoned by my family and left with nothing but a pair of dull scissors and a comb with missing teeth to style my hair. Of course, my mother did her best to right this massive wrong by giving me a home perm. The hair that didn’t fall out during the processing really did make me look like an orphan – Little Orphan Annie to be exact. The only things missing were a red dress and a loyal dog. I can’t say for sure, but I believe this is when my infatuation with hats began.

My high school years were a blur of bangs and feathered hair and hot rollers. I walked around with a cloud of Aqua Net hairspray following me which may explain the hole in the ozone layer. (Sorry, Al Gore!) I spent the better part of the eighties checking my reflection in any mirror or piece of glass available. The deeper I fell into my addiction, the bigger my hair became. There was seemingly no end to the amount of product and time I would put into my hair to achieve a massive, glowing mane. To this day, I attribute the pain in my right shoulder to Blow Dryer Syndrome caused by the repetitive motion used to create the perfect winged look.  

So, you can see why this cause is so near and dear to my heart. Let’s save our boys. It would break my heart for this generation to grow old with a drawer full of school pictures too embarrassing to look at and a chronic pain in the neck.  And to Justin Bieber I say this: Dude...take care of yourself.  Have you seen Leif Garrett lately?


  1. Oh Lord! I had that Dorothy Hamill thing all through my early childhood. Like you, my hair's texture didn't work with it. I have coarse, semi-curly hair that tends to grow in various directions.

    The good news is my son has the exact same hair texture, so he couldn't that bang-flip thing even if he tried. His hair grows up and curls--not really conducive to the flip. I have noticed tons of other boys, though. I say shave their heads while they are sleeping.

    Great post!

  2. Wow, too long for me! But really good!


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