by Jonathan Reisman
In the late 1960s my father took me to Broadway to see Hair. I still remember some of the lyrics from the title song:
She asks me why I'm just a hairy guy
I'm hairy, noon and night, hair, that's a fright
I'm hairy, high and low, don't ask me why, don't know
It's not for lack of bread like the Grateful Dead, darlin'
Give me head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there hair, shoulder length or longer
Here, baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it, my hair…..
I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining
Gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka dotted, twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled and sphagettied
Oh say, can you see my eyes if you can
Then my hair's too short
Down to here, down to there
Down to where, down to where
It stops by itself
Long as God can grow it
When I went to High School, I had shoulder-length hair as this 50-year-old tennis team shot from 1971 shows (I’m the fourth from the right in the bottom row). I have lost touch with my teammates, but the second from the right in the top row is Doug Feith, who went on to Harvard and was a top aide to Donald Rumsfeld in the Bush 43 administration.
I kept it shorter through college and thereafter. I sported a buzz cut through most of this century, mostly because I was swimming a lot and it was just easier. However, when COVID hit and we were locked down, I let it grow out and remembered the Hair chorus.
A number of friends and acquaintances are somewhat shocked. Dr. Hoopes asked if I was regressing to hippie hood. Dr. Rioux asked if I was contemplating a man-bun (no!). My good friend Ron Mosley claims he does not recognize this radical long hair. One lefty at the pool told me I looked like I had joined the Taliban. I told him I did not plan to cut it until the mask mandates and vaccine passport fascism declined, but the truth is much less apolitical. My wife told me she liked my longer hair (I think it reminds her of our college days at Colby). We just celebrated our 42nd anniversary, and if my shoulder-length hair obscures my follicle challenges and political leanings and makes my wife happy, I guess my barber will have to do without me.