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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

I have a pronounced fondness for long hair.

I didn’t start out in life that way. As a child, I was barely aware of hair, and thought nothing of it one way or the other. In my early years, hair was simply hair.

It all began to change with my first heartthrob. She had long auburn hair and I loved to drown in it. I loved the way it flowed and draped and seduced. I discovered the inherent sensuality of hair, and have loved long hair ever since.

Viet Nam added another dimension. Hair became a political statement. As friends shipped off to fight and die, hair became a form of visible protest. It wasn’t enough to quietly disagree with my government’s policies. Hair became an in-your-face statement of rebellion against all that was happening. Hair became a symbol (and a means to identify other kindred spirits). It wasn’t just the war, either. There was the whole question of civil rights, a resounding renunciation of the status quo. Of course, making my political persuasions obvious invited other citizens to express their displeasure with my displeasure. I paid dearly for having long hair. Those were turbulent, frenetic and sometimes frightening years. I found myself filled with anger. Still, I would not shear my locks. I loved the way it felt on my shoulders and back (it grew half way down to my waist). I loved feeling the wind in my hair. I loved running with hair pulsating…flashing sunbeams. I loved the fact that it turned some women on (I was never all that handsome, so I was immensely grateful for this bit of follicular assistance).

It all changed for me the day a saw the 12-year old brother of an acquaintance of mine shooting heroin. I was shocked…absolutely mortified by what I saw. I asked him “why?” He said he wanted to be a hippie like all of us. I cut my hair short the next day. Rebellion had morphed into something sad, something unwholesome.

Fast-forward thirty-five years. My hair is long again. I’ve grown gaunt this summer and my hair extends about half a foot beyond my shoulders. Everything is so very different now. Today, I’m just a curiosity. People see me and smile. I smile back. There is something non-threatening about a graying geezer with long hair. People instinctively understand that I’m veering off the grid. There is no anger in me. I elicit no anger in others. There is just this air of silliness. I enjoy roaming about with humor and kindness and a sense of whimsy. I joke with strangers. I feel free to be myself, because I sense that others see me as an innocent eccentric…a peaceful goof who doesn’t fire people, rob pensions or indulge in corporate warfare. Having long hair today feels liberating somehow.

There’s another curious side-benefit to sporting long hair: my mother recognizes me a bit more often. Alzheimer’s steals memories in reverse order…last to first. I vaguely resemble the boy she knew decades ago (although I could never be as gaunt as I was then). She has uttered my name a bit more often lately. I am grateful for these simple blessings.

I cringed yesterday when a client told me that I would have to fly to Los Angeles next month for a deposition. The hair will have to go. Sigh. I have enough now to donate my gray hairs to Locks of Love. I will do that. I will then don a suit and tie and testify as a high-priced consultant, with closely cropped hair and neatly trimmed and buffed nails…and I will die just a little bit inside (the only thing that keeps me from falling into complete despair is knowing that, beneath my silk dress shirt, I will still sport a tattoo). I’ve enjoyed this bit of frivolity in an otherwise bleak world. I will miss it.

* * *


Blogger Ed said...

Jon, I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing.

Sorry about your hair, though -- damn shame.

Fri Dec 16, 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

My goodness! I take it as quite a compliment that you enjoy my ramblings. I find blogging therapeutic and challenging. It helps bring order to my disordered mind. There is more to come...

Thanks for stopping by!

Fri Dec 16, 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger bct said...

Jon, is it a video deposition? If not, I don't see why you'd need to cut your hair. You're being deposed to get your information recorded, but no one present at the deposition will be involved in the judgment process. Check this out before you cut! You might also find a stylist who can tame the long hair in a way that resembles a shorter do (and, no, I'm not talking about a business-in-the-front mullet). Just a little unsolicited advice from a charter member of the Long Hair on Men Admiration and Preservation Society.

Mon Dec 19, 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

You've made me smile, Bernice! The concerns/support expressed for my silvered hair makes this old coot feel good. Thank you.

The deposition will be videotaped (it seems they almost always are nowadays). The good thing about hair is that, although I may become woefully forgetful, my hair never forgets to grow. I'll return to the land of the frivolously hirsute soon enough.

Thanks again for the comment!

Mon Dec 19, 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gillette said...

Pity you didn't have to give it in Europe instead of LA. You might have not felt the need as much. I join Bernice in loving long hair on men. Particularly when they are in suits. Giving depositions...or at banks. Ponytails work well...

All we gals can hope is that it is grown back now....sigh.

Wed Mar 28, 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I'm smiling, Ms. Gillette. As a matter of fact, my hair has more than grown back. It is well past my shoulders, longer than it was in that photograph of me as a 19-year old. One is NEVER too old to have a happy childhood!

Thu Mar 29, 12:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a story! i just love the way you put these images and thoughts into words. and your picture, what a great photo! you havent changed all that much Jonas!

Tue Mar 10, 10:57:00 PM  

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