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The wild beasts of Gloucester | Opinion | – Gloucester Daily Times

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Updated: September 13, 2021 @ 7:26 am
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Fishtown Local
Gordon Baird
Times are tough these days in Pandemic America. Even here where the “herd immunity” level is relatively high, there are undeniable signs that things have changed.
And there is no more identifying trait to transform our aging men than the return to the old days … the really old days.
You’ve no doubt heard of the Hair Club for Men? Well, this is the Caveman Hair Club for Men.
Many, including your columnist, have succumbed to the temptation to resort to our oldest roots, literally. By the roots of our hair, I mean.
Since the pandemic struck, a whole bunch of our men just plain got out of the habit of going to the barber or the hair salon to be clipped. First, we weren’t allowed to go when everything indoors shut down. But then guys just got confirmed in their hairiness, i.e. we began to like it that way. Through our aged, prejudiced eyes, all that hair looked good. Plus, after a certain point, you created mass and length and you could tie it in a pony tail. One could go wild, caveman style or Hamilton style, pulled all the way back and somewhat coiffed, almost respectable.
Of course, we had set ourselves a good example back in the days of hippy-dippy-dom — in the ancient 1960s where we had set a tradition, as Frank Zappa put it: “of hair growing out every hole in me.” That looked good to us way back in the day — again, (same song by Frank) “oh, my hair’s getting good in the back.”
But over the decades, as we wild cavemen dated and married off and got jobs, kids, mothers-in-law, bank loans, frowning fathers-in-law, responsibility (damn!), we became domesticated, almost civilized and mostly groomed to please the world. Tamed on the surface, but deep down inside, we longed for our free hair days. Ha! No way.
The barbers ruled.
But then the world we knew came crashing down — in only about 10 minutes — and we cavemen reverted to our biological selves. On came the hair and since we weren’t seeing anyone anyway in the first year of COVID-19, no one even noticed. Everyone was hunkering down in their own way, so who cared? Even wives had big hair for a time. But as the vaccinations circulated, women returned to their cutters, while a bunch of men did not. My last haircut was the fall of 2019 — coming up on two years now. I keep wanting to send my salonista a picture so she knows I’m not cutting with someone else — that I am, indeed, a wild and hairy caveman. Barbers can get very possessive about clients switching. I’m sure they are much happier knowing you are a beast than going to another cutter.
Folks used to comment that I always wore a baseball cap, mainly because my hair resembled nothing more than Bozo the Clown when I wore no hat, sticking out either side of a classic frontal bald spot. However, with a hat, I was Surfer Joe, eternally young looking from under that cover up. But I can still achieve that hat look with extra-long caveman hair and yet pull it back in the pony tail, go bareheaded and in the mirror, actually look coiffed and not Bozo-ish to me — which is the most important vote. Also, despite what they say, every woman will stare at your bald spot while talking to you. But with the pony tail thing, they don’t. They basically give you a hall pass on the ancient hair thing. A very flexible solution.
It’s not just me either. Pony tails hide behind the head so you might not even be aware of it lurking hidden away back there on people you haven’t seen in a while. But when the caveman unfurls his disobedient hair, he sets his Freak Flag Flying and his beastly natural self is released out of his cage, like a great and powerful lion.
The crazy thing is how many men have succumbed to Pandemic Hair.
For a time, as the initial siege of the pandemic began to wear off, this writer began to consider a trim but, no: events, Delta and non-vaxxers have forced us to keep our guard up and keep that protective cavemen hair coming. I’m not the only one. So admire your fellow beasts, folks. We might be misguided and off-putting, but we are free, wild and still roaring cavemen kings of the jungle. As Shakespeare’s Hamlet said: “The hair’s the thing — in which to catch the conscience of the king!” King of the Jungle, that is, so roar, fellow old guys, and keep growing that hair!
Gloucester resident Gordon Baird is an actor and musician, co-founder of Musician magazine and producer of “The Chicken Shack” community access TV show.
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