I have a print of Paul Goodnight’s “Links and Lineages” that depicts three generations braiding each other hair in a colorful tapestry of Black female intimacy and beauty. Such pleasures exist in many families. Mine—not so much.
Before COVID-19 hit, men’s grooming was slated to become a $26 billion industry in 2020. TrendHunter characterizes the market as a mix of blunt, macho aesthetics and luxurious, indulgent experience. In other words, masculinity remains a paradox.
When I look in the mirror, these days, I see all of my hair and I adore it. It needs a trim, sure, but it is my crowning comfort. I see myself and I feel thankful for what I have, and I think of those who are struggling both alike and differently to find themselves.
Hair dharma in Hinduism is context dependent. While there are hairstyles that are permissible, some even prescribed or required, they must be manifested at the appropriate time and space, and even stage of life, and in accordance with gender.
The dialect may be a bit off-putting but the narrative is accessible and clear enough. Here is the story of a wheedling, heartless, hustling hair peddler named Jock Macleod who is trying to buy the hair of young women at a fair in Devon. His tactics seem a combination of seduction, intimidation, ruse, and sales pressure that would make today’s used car salesman seem a rank amateur in comparison.
For the overwhelmingly White, urban, middle-class Broadway theatregoers of the time, Hair was an invitation to spend some time with an expressive and racially diverse subset of American young people—this expedition to another America came at the price and from the safety of a duly purchased seat in a Broadway theatre.
In juvenile facilities, more than seven percent of residents reported, on a 2018 survey, being sexually victimized during the previous year. Four percent reported use of force or coercion, either by other youth or by staff. “They get away with it,” Bankston says, “because boys, and men, don’t tell. And because no one wants to know.”
Hank Aaron was an incredible player. He lived a long life. And he got his due, his accolades, his recognition, while he was alive. That is good. So many Black players from the Negro Leagues never did. Those Black barbers from my boyhood knew more than I did.
My sons are everything to me, and I appreciate any remaining chances to share in their understandings. Like many things in American life now, this also is a tug between the conservative (preserving their safety, and our money, time, and effort) and the liberal (being open to new views and experiences).