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The Significance of the Length of Hair

When I was in College in the late 80s, my first real worthy girlfriend had long hair. But shortly into our relationship, she cut her hair. This wasn't done with my blessing, but what could I do? It was, after all, her hair, and she could do whatever she wanted to with it. A year or so later, when we inevitably broke up in that most heartbreaking of ways, I tossed and turned at night wondering what the problem was. I eventually siezed on her cutting her hair as triggering my first misapprehensions of her. Why? Well, I had plenty of time to consider the issue, and the theory I came up with, though weighed down severely by the baggage of my emotional condition at the time, still makes a lot of sense to me, especially since subsequently wading into punk rock culture. My theory of hair length says that if


This means that people with long hair will be, generally, people less given to sudden rapid changes and erratic half-cocked behaviours. This theory doesn't necessarily say anything about people with short hair as a rule, but it eliminates an expectation of certain behaviours from people with long hair.

Here in the nineties, I take that basic theory and expand on it. What I have to say applies mostly to boys. Girls can have almost any length of hair and are more readily accepted into any society they choose to join. Few "poseur police," even among the girls, express concerns over whether a "hot babe" is a poseur. What's relevant is that she'll hang out with you AT ALL! (When girls are threatened by a new girl on the scene, it seems that they mostly are given to expressing doubts about her intelligence and physical imperfections.)

Now then, what of the boys who have short hair? How will the conservative, unchanging short haired boys be distinguished from the radical ones? More importantly, how will those living "alternative life styles" figure out who are the legitimate long term members of their group and separate them from imposters (or "poseurs" as they are called).

In the world of Heavy Metal, almost no one worries about the poseurs. You can't have long hair unless you're for real to at least an extent. But when you're a punk rocker, all you really have to do is put on a coat and a tie, take out your nose and earrings (and maybe shave off your mohawk) and you can PASS as a nice boy worthy of taking home to mother.

There are numerous websites in existence today that chastise Metallica for selling out. And it isn't just the music that is chastised, it's also that they cut off their hair. Their cutting their hair is viewed by Heavy Metal fans as abandonment. And how now can we tell Metallica from Oasis? Perhaps now we can't. Even the music provides little to distinguish them these days.

Meanwhile, one of the big problems that punk rockers have with Offspring is that they have long hair. Long hair is viewed as automatically disqualifying them from punk rock status. To a punk rocker, long hair is viewed as an easy path to the underground. Punk rockers want punk rock to be displayed by attitude, not by looks.

But, as already stated, punk rockers can easily shed their punk rock appearance like a uniform and "pass." So how truly committed are they? How truly committed is anyone? In the world of punk rock, there is a constant, paranoid fear of takeover by the poseurs. The poseurs can come from any angle. But they often seem to be coming from the close-cropped legions of Frat Boys and High School atheletes, the guys who picked on us in high school, the guys we specifically separated ourselves from as the only workable defense. By what vehicle do these poseurs enter our punk rock underground? By stadium-packing popular MTV punk rock bands, of course. We're talking here about Offspring, Green Day, Rancid, Bush, etc., etc. These bands have done the ENORMOUS DISSERVICE of popularizing punk rock, making it accessible to the youthful cogs of a society that grinds us down.

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