On the Town: Hair today, gone tomorrow

Gus, owner of Williston Park Florist, manages a nice look with white hair and a beard"

I watched Donald Trump on TV last night and couldn’t help but notice his hair.

Quite blonde and long. Actually his look is outdated since men currently seem partial to the military cut with those shaved sides and longer tops.

If you want to see an in fashion hairstyle just look at a picture of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. So now that I have your attention let’s take a look at the meaning of hair.

Hair has always been a significant signifier. We can go back to the biblical story of Samson and Delilah where Samson’s strength was found in his long hair and Delilah castrated him by cutting it off.

The Beatles stormed America in the 1960s sporting long hair and the 1967 rock musical “Hair” featured the new long-haired hippie look. The summer of love in Haight Ashbury meant that long hair was a sign of peace, love and happiness.
As far as President Trump’s golden locks, my friend remarked that Donald Trumps’ haircut reminded her of the head of a lion so we may say he is not only “King of the Jungle” but also “King of the Swamp.”
To get more data on the meaning of hair all I had to do was walk two short blocks along Hillside Avenue in Williston Park. I knew that I would pass by four haircutting salons in that two-block expanse. The abundance of hair cutting places is another testament to the value we all place on our hair and the way it makes us look, feel and signify.
The first barber shop I passed was GM Barber Shop with its two red, white and blue barber poles spinning out front. The symbol of the barber’s poles dates back to medieval times when barbers were also surgeons who performed bloodletting, amputations, tooth extractions, bone setting, cupping, shaves and haircuts.

Those days are long gone and now barber poles are a sign of haircutting alone. The owner of the GM Barber Shop was not in so I just kept on walking west.
Next, I noticed the manager of Peter Andrews who was opening the store. He was a clean-shaven, clean scalped man employing the Telly Zavalas look. I too have a balding spot on my head but I’m usually able to deny this grim fact.

However last month I was lounging poolside at the Rosewood Hotel in Bermuda, feeling all blissful and content when a trio of drunken twenty-somethings shouted down at me from the hotel balcony “Hey you, bald guy, you’re lounging in our chair!”

That explains why I harbor deep hatred for drunken twenty-somethings.
I continued further west on Hillside and noticed Gus Mastrogiannis, owner of Williston Park Florist, outside his shop working on his car. Perhaps since I was so focused on hair, I noticed that he had a pretty nice haircut, all white and slicked back and also a neatly trimmed white beard. I took a quick photo of him in a pose suggested by his assistant (see above) and went on my way.
My next plan of attack was to stop at Aroma Nails which is where I get my haircuts. Sue is the owner and she manages to give me a nice looking haircut once every six weeks. She was too busy cutting hair to talk so undaunted I made my way across Hillside to a new hair cutting establishment with the intriguing name Tomy B Hair.

I was certain I was about to get some valuable insight into the meaning of hairstyles but alas Tomy B was not there. I realized I was running out of hair cutting places and my last hope was Rudy’s Studio, a hair cutting place that had been there for 48 years.
I walked in and though I could see it had the feel of an old-fashioned barbershop with an easy way about it, barber Mike lounging in one chair reading the newspaper, Leo was busy cutting a patron’s hair and two parakeets in cages chirping in the background..
I spoke to Mike and asked him if he had noticed any hairstyle trends over the last 50 years. He told me “Back in the 1960s men wanted long hair just like the Beatles but over the years the style has gotten shorter and shorter and now we use fading where the sides are shaved but the top stays long. It’s more like a military look.”

It appears to me that men can’t seem to escape from the “Jets versus Sharks kill or be killed” style of dress.
On the other hand, women’s hair fashion is multileveled and often downright beautiful. They might go in for the long-haired sleek sexy look, the cute bangs look, have pigtails or a ponytail or go for that adorable Audrey Hepburn pixie cut. It seems that the female fashion style is dictated by sex appeal whereas the men’s hairstyle seems to be more about the death wish and the desire to kill or be killed.

As Freud might say the woman is dictated more by libido and the man more by destrudo.
Donald Trump’s hairstyle has a jungle lion feeling whereas Kim Jong-un’s seems to be flat out military but in a way, they are like most men and like to show power and bravado.
And as for balding gentleman like myself I think our choices are limited.

Military crew cuts or the long hair youthful hippie look is not for us. Our look is more like an “Oops, where the heck did my hair go!” style.

I think the meaning of hair for us is that aging is a thing that must be accepted with grace, dignity and a grimace. It’s either that or a hairpiece. Thanks but no thanks.

About the author

Dr Tom Ferraro

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