I know that I have said this before, but one of the best benefits of being the co-webmaster of The Hair Boutique is all the great people I meet through the site.
Lots of people send me email to say hello, introduce themselves, tell me interesting hair scoops or just chat a little about their hair. Sometimes people send great photos and sometimes they send other cool things.
I received an email from John, who also goes by Aragorn, on September 27th. He introduced himself, sent a nice compliment about The Hair Boutique and then included the following wonderful poem:
John also sent me a photo of his wonderful long hair. I thanked John for the photo and the great poem. I then asked him if he would write a feature article for The Hair Boutique about his hair. I also asked for some more photos of his great hair.
When I checked my email tonight (10/13/98) I found an email from John with a little attachment symbol. I opened up the email and found his wonderfully funny, insightful and informative article about his hair.
John also sent lots of great photos of his hair. I was so excited by the article and the photos that I dropped everything to get this published for all The Hair Boutique's visitors to read. I just know you will all enjoy John's story and photos as much as I did.
Thank you John for sharing your hair story and photos with the Hair Boutique.
A number of years ago, when comedian Jack Benny was first starting out, he began his very first radio broadcast with the words "Hello, my name is Jack Benny......to which you reply ..Who Cares?" Well, my name is John Vernier.....................................
I was surfing the net a few weeks ago, and came across a site dedicated to long hair. The name of the site was The Hair Boutique, and after visiting the site for a while, I left an e-mail to Karen Shelton, who helps run the place. I told her what a great job they were doing, and that I’d be back to visit again. Well, Karen wrote me back, thanked me for the nice comments, and said that other people were interested in reading about people and their experiences with hair. Then she asked if I would be interested in doing an article for the site. Well Karen, here goes....
I’ve been growing my hair out long for two years now. I have to thank my wife for starting me down the long hair path. For years , I’d been getting my hair cut in a short, traditional cut, with a part on the side and the hair tapered above the ears. Then I’d let it grow about three months until my wife said that I was looking like a shaggy dog, and it was time for a haircut. In late August 1996, my wife told me once again that it was time for a haircut. But this time, she added "unless you are going to grow it out long".
Unless you are going to grow it out long??? I thought, what does she mean by that? So I asked her, and she said "Oh, nothing". Another week went by. "You need to get a haircut dear", my wife said as she went into the next room. Then, once again, those mysterious words drifted back: "unless you are going to grow it out long".
Now, being a person in possession of exceptionally sharp mental abilities, I understood that this was one of those subtle hints that the female of the species sometimes use. Later that day at the mall, I asked why she kept hinting about my growing long hair. She replied that it seemed to her that more middle aged men were wearing pony tails, and she liked it. Well that started me thinking about the whole subject of long hair, and after a few more weeks, I’d decided that I would try long hair and see how I liked it.
The hardest time I had growing my hair long, was during the time where my hair was long enough to make me look like a shaggy dog, but too short to get into a pony tail. I’d wake up in the morning, comb my hair and pull it back to see if it was there yet. NOT! Then came the day when I did get some of my hair into a pony tail. Not a lot of it mind you, but enough for it to be counted as a pony tail (if you can count a two inch stub as a pony tail). Away to work I went.
So Why the Long Hair?
If there is a long hair side and a short hair side to the world, then wearing a pony tail suddenly puts you on the long hair side. People who never noticed your hair before come up to you and ask if you’re growing your hair long. Friends who haven’t seen you for a while ask you ........THE QUESTION..........: So, why the long hair? Why the long hair??? What do you say? .... I donno. Or maybe .... I’m saving money on barbers. You might also say .....My wife likes it. or, I forgot to get a haircut! I’ve said all of these things and more. But....Why the long hair? I’ve discovered the truth to be : because it’s FUN! It’s fun to get reactions from people. It’s fun to get compliments about your hair. I like the way it feels, and I like being able to do different things with it. I even like brushing it in the morning while I start waking up for the day.
As my hair got longer, I began to want to do more things with it. I started to notice long hair on women and men, and how they wore it. It seems to me, that the accepted hair styles for men with long hair numbers three. Men could wear their hair down, or in a low pony tail, or in a simple braid. Women on the other hand, could do almost anything. They could use clips, barrettes, ties. They could wear it up, down, sideways, in a bun, multiple braids and so on. I’d get up in the morning.....lets see, will it be a pony tail today, or wear it down. Wear it down, or a pony tail? Great.. I’ve since seen one or two more styles on men, but for the most part, the pony tail is king.
I began to try some different things at home just to see what they would look like. The first thing was a higher pony tail. Then I tried what my wife calls the ‘Alice in wonderland’ style. In public though, it was down or a pony tail. I started to visit the hair accessories isle at the local Walmart (when it wasn’t full of women) to see if I could buy anything different that wouldn’t be too girlish. (No offense to women or girls intended, but our society does not easily accept men who look too feminine).
This went on for a while (sounds like a mental problem to me!), until one day, when I took our family to a local state park in Columbia, Calif. Columbia is an old gold rush mining town that has been restored and features unusual shops and gold mining attractions. I gathered the front part of my hair, pulled it back and put in a barrette. I drove to the State Park, got out, and walked on in.
Did you ever read a story book in grade school called the emperor’s new clothes? It’s a story about an emperor and his subjects who are tricked through their pride and vanity into believing that the emperor has a splendid set of new clothes, when he really has nothing on at all. Everybody was watching him. Well, I probably would have felt less conspicuous walking about the Park without clothes on than I did that day wearing a barrette in my hair. I just knew that everyone had to be laughing behind my back. Or maybe it might be like wearing a pair of jeans and suddenly discovering that the back seam has split. You find yourself backing away from people, and sticking close to the walls.
But I have a conviction that men should be free to be more expressive with the way they wear their hair, and I wore that barrette all day. Towards the end of out visit, we stopped at a gold panning / rock shop that sold gold panning equipment, lessons and all kinds of doodads. Manning the store were two gentlemen and a young lady. As I browsed the store, and came to where the young lady was standing behind the counter, she looked at me and said "You have pretty hair". She said that I have pretty hair! A compliment! Oh be still my beating heart. I thanked her, and we talked about hair for awhile. On the way home, I thought about that compliment, "You have pretty hair", and I realized with some shock, that pretty hair was what I really was after. I didn’t want the unkempt, uncombed, untrimmed look that many of the long-haired men I saw were wearing. I wanted pretty hair that would make people notice.
After that, I began to experiment more with my hair in public. I still get self conscious sometimes, but it doesn’t bother me as much. I’ve worn an assortment of barrettes in my hair, scrunchy pony bands, and lacers. I’ve had my wife French braid my hair, and I am always trying small variations to the simple styles I already know how to do. I’ve found that most people in the area that I live are not put off with long hair on a man if its kept clean, and trimmed. Even when I’ve worn some of the hairstyles that most people would consider too feminine looking, the over-all response has been good. Sure, I still sometimes get smiles, and once and awhile, I get reactions like the two teenage girls who saw I was wearing a barrette in my hair while I was at the neighborhood burger stand. They got up, ran outside, and laughed all the way across the street. Oh well....
But I’ve had fun with my long hair, and I suspect I’ll have more fun in the future.
Although my hair is very fine, and I don’t have as much hair as I would like to have, at least my hair is manageable, and I never ever have split ends. I intend to grow my hair at least to my waist if my growing cycle is that long. Well, this is the temporary stopping point of my never ending hair story, and I’ll say good-bye for now, but, I’d like to hear from you if you have any comments or similar experiences. And who knows, maybe tomorrow I’ll feel comfortable enough to wear a ribbon in my hair.
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Original Publication Date: 1998 - Revised Publication Date: 05/22/10