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Ponytails On Men
When is Long Wrong?
There was a time, around two hundred years ago, when it was unusual for a fifty-year-old man not to have a ponytail. Of course, in those days men didn't generally make it to fifty, but if they did you can bet they'd be sporting a growth of the hair variety.
I'm not sure why men of old were fond of longer hair, but for today's mature male, and I use the term advisedly, the ponytail is something of an anachronism that tends to evoke rebellion rather than style. While this impression may be accurate in many cases, there are other reasons for the emergence of a pony tail in a "mature" and otherwise relatively sane man.
Take me, for example. As I approached fifty, my hair had only just started to turn grey. I had always worn it short. Buzzed, in fact. But with my few grey hairs suddenly finding neighbors on a semi-regular basis, the possibility of growing long, not-grey hair would soon be gone forever. So I stopped cutting my hair.
That was over two years ago.
At first the hair simply thickened into a rat's nest, but as months passed it slowly, inexorably lengthened. It became somewhat irritable, mostly for my coworkers, and after about eight months I had to start combing it back and using gel to keep it in place, letting the ends hang down near my collar. With the passing of time even the ends became unruly, and I took to binding them into a pony tail with a hair containment device.
I think women call it a scrunchie. I call it a hair containment device, or HCD.
Whatever you call it, the end result is a ponytail on a fifty-three-year-old man, which is quite ridiculous. I know this, because I see other men my age with similar hair styles, and I know—it looks ridiculous.
I now want to cut it. I have tried to cut it, even going so far as to hold the pony tail in one hand, with scissors in position to slice through the thing, only to stop at the last second. It took so long to grow it, and now I can't bring myself to remove it. Meanwhile, it gets longer.
I am not an advocate of the ponytail, but I am clearly obsessed and have lost perspective. It's almost like the ponytail is a part of me. It has even entered my sleep realm.
I had a vivid dream about cutting my hair. I was in a small town, much like the one that I live near, and I called the barber shop early in the morning to request an appointment, because I had to go to work soon. They said to come right over. When I arrived an older gentleman was in the chair getting his hair cut, so I sat down to wait my turn. I was the only other customer in the shop. Soon the man was finished, but as I rose to take my place in the chair, someone came running into the shop and sat in the chair. This person was perhaps twenty or so, and though he seemed rude, I didn't make an issue of it, because I didn't have much time.
Despite my lack of time, I wandered around town, looking in various stores which I had never seen before. One in particular that caught my attention featured all kinds of products, including clothes, and was so packed with stuff that the only way through the store was down a narrow aisle that ran through the middle of all the goods. Soon I found myself trapped in a crowd of people inside the store, and we completely filled the aisle. Someone yelled fire, and panic ensued, but I kept my cool and was able to guide everyone out. There was no actual fire.
The owner of the store wanted to give me an award for my action, so I was to attend a staff meeting. To get to the meeting required crawling on my stomach under a small table and through a hole in a wall, which led outside to a small driveway, where an RV was parked. I stood there chatting with several company employees—all women—until someone indicated that it was time to move on, whereupon we walked to another table, and people started to crawl beneath it in the same fashion as the first one. When it came to my turn, I never made it through. The dream ended as I lay on my stomach beneath the table. I never did get my hair cut, nor did I receive the award.
On reflection, several parts of the dream make sense. I want to get my hair cut, but something is preventing me from doing so. This is represented by the young man who sat in the chair in the barber shop, but what is he? Subconscious fear, hesitation, doubt? Is he my ego? My attachment to youth?
As I ponder the meaning of dreams and my lengthening appendage, perhaps I would do well to remember the comment of a great friend, who simply said, "Hair, shmair. It will grow back."
Except, maybe it won't...
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