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Glen Campbell Hair... Not! by Jack


Boy, does that old yearbook picture of the sandy haired guy with hair to his collar bring back some memories. One spring in 1977, I looked just like him, except with brown plastic glasses.

Growing up,I used to get pretty bad home haircuts..I lived with my grandparents, and my grandmother was the family barber. Haircuts every third Saturday were the rule, unless by some miracle she forgot for a week...

It was always `nothing longer than two inches`, and that only on top. The rest was 1/8th of an inch tapered up to 3/8ths where it met the `long` hair on top..She cut our hair in the kitchen where we were caped with an old sheet and sat on a stool. Gram spared no mercy chopping away with the scissors over an old barber comb. It seemed to take forever, and the sheet was covered with clippings when we got up.. She had a pair of old Wahl clippers, but they were used only to edge out the haircut when she was almost done. Someone gave her a set of clipper taper attachments, and she tried them once. They didn`t cut near short enough for her liking, and she went right back to the scissors. Sometimes our hair was cut so short it wouldn`t even part anymore, sort of an ivy league looking botch job. You could always see the scissor marks in the longer hair, and it always stuck up on its own where the growth pattern changed in back. My bangs would never even reach halfway to my eyebrows, and if I did comb them forward they weren`t even bangs, just a random assortment of hair sticking down. It was obvious I was getting a home haircut, and my barber wasn`t getting any better with practice.

Haircuts were always traumatic affairs where I was embarrassed to show my face at school the next Monday. If it was warmer weather out we would get even shorter cuts as the weather changed. I had the shortest hair in school except for one guy who got a flattop every two months and my best bud who got a 1/8 inch burr every month. I looked like a short haired kid from the fifties. If it was a good short haircut it wouldn`t have been so bad, but it was a butcher job that only looked decent the day it was long enough to cut again. I would even rather have had a crewcut than what I was getting.

Well, as a Sophomore in high school, I finally convinced the grandparents to allow me to let my hair grow so I could look more like the other guys in my class. My brother was already having a neighbor cut his hair and it was a lot longer now. Even my short haired friend had grown out his burr cut, and I was tired of looking like a three year old had cut my hair. I wanted it to look like Glen Campbell`s hair sooo bad. I actually started going to a real barber once a month and he did pretty good. I came home from the barbershop looking like most of the other shorter haired kids in my classes at school. I probably looked the best I ever did during that time period.At least I fit in. But I still wanted my hair longer. Lots of kids were really growing their hair out and I wanted to fit in and have real long hair.

In 1977 somehow I had escaped going to the barber for quite a long time. My hair was really growing, and it would actually reach my lip if I combed it forward. On the sides and back it would start to flip up, and curl unless I left it wet when I combed it into place. I used good old Prell shampoo, and my hair looked just about like straw,and was about as combable. On a really good hair day I would look almost exactly like that yearbook picture, but on bad hair days I looked like a crazy scarecrow.. I had no clue what gel was, and hair spray didn`t help it much. Didn`t know what conditioner was either.. The grandparents did not appreciate my longhair aspirations, and then in late spring I was given an ultimatum. Go to a barbershop and get that mop cut, or you will wake up one morning with it all gone. The clippers were still in the kitchen drawer, so it was no idle threat. I had already experienced the magical shortening of my hair when I was asleep ( It wouldn`t reach my lip anymore..), but this time I knew they were serious about buzzing it all off. I had no choice. By now my old barber had closed his doors, so I had to find a new place.

The next Saturday we went to a neighboring town, and I walked into a nice looking modern shop that said `men`s hair styling` on its sign. I`m thinking this will be it, I will get that Glen Campbell cut and my hair will look great! I asked for a really long regular cut, not having any clue what a regular cut really was. I asked him to try and get most of the curl out of it so it would be nice and straight. I ended up losing almost all the long hair I had struggled for months to grow. Looking back, I should have brought a picture. The barber started with the thinning shears, and made huge piles of hair on the cape before doing the scissors over comb thing all the way up the back of my head. I thought he`d never stop, and I told him to take it easy more than once..It felt almost exactly like my grandmother was manning the shears again. When he finally stopped I had 2-3 inches on top tapered to about a half inch at the bottom. My sideburn hair was less than a quarter inch. Got my first neck shave in that barbershop too. I thought I was all done when he whipped out the cape, but he held me back in the chair when I tried to get up...He said, `Hold on,You aren`t quite done yet`. Then he spread the lather around and used a straight razor...I remember having razor burn for two days.

It was a shock to see myself in the barbershop mirror. I looked like a nerd! My six inch long but curly hair was now a neat straight businessmans cut. Not a hint of curl left in it, but it was nowhere near as long as I wanted. I was pretty pissed. I told the barber, guess I won`t be needing another haircut for a few months!.The grand[parents were pleased...Funny thing, today I look at the pictures of what I looked like after the cut,and think...Dang, that`s long...Shoulda got a flattop while I still could!

Brought back some memories with that yearbook, for sure. Worst part of the haircut was afterwards, it became obvious I had inherited my dad`s MPB genes. I was losing the hair in my temples, and fast. At 19 I already had a bald spot in the back, and the front hairline was moving rapidly. You can guess the end of the story.. I had it all buzzed off a few years back, and I`ve been BBC for the last five years on and off.. I`d love to have a flattop, but I don`t think I could have gotten a good flattop since I graduated high school as my hair was already leaving town.



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