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Hairdos of the '50s, '60s and '70s

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Sometimes I cringe when I look back to some of the hairdos I used to wear. At the time, they seemed like a good idea, but looking back, I’m amazed that I allowed my hair to undergo such abuse.

When I was young, I simply had that tomboy bowl cut, first enforced by my mother as a practical attempt to keep the hair out of my eyes and mouth. It was an androgynous cut, and the neighborhood boys would tease me incessantly.

“Gee kid, can’tcha afford to get your hair cut?” Obviously they thought I was boy with my longer locks, since most males my age still had crew cuts.

As I got into junior high, the parameters for cool hair changed, and with that, so did my brown locks. I remember the rollers, the ratting and spraying, so that my hair looked a bit like a large mound of cotton candy. I used to get it “done” at that beauty parlor near the Kirkwood Bowling Alley. One of my brother’s friends was a hair stylist, and I ‘m sure he gave both Teresa and me a family discount to rat our hair into one big nest and spray it into submission.

My sister Lynn, ever the fashionista, used to sleep in her rollers, although I never was very good at that. Why add to my insomnia? Sometimes she even used those cardboard toilet paper rolls to give her bob that smooth wavy glow.

I think that style was called the Bouffant, which was once a mainstream hairstyle in the mid-to-late 17th century in Western Europe. In the 60’s, it was created with the help of backcombing and tons of hair spray. The Flip was also popular at the time, and in fact, Lynn still wears a modified version of this hairdo today.

Lynn thought both Teresa and I would also look good with curls, but I remember cutting mine off before going to church, and flushing the hair down the toilet. My mom didn’t appreciate that the toilet overflowed and that she had to call the plumber.

My brother’s hairdos were just as dramatic. I remember those Waterfalls, and the Brylcreem they had to use to keep their hair in place. Between the aftershave and that stench, I’m surprised any girls went out with them.

One of the more popular styles for men was the Ducktail haircut, a popular pairing with the poodle skirts of the day. Some who wore this cut were known as “greasers” since no blow dryers were around to fashion the hair into place.

Crewcuts were also the norm, along with the Flat Top. With the Crewcut, the hair was shaved to an even distance all over the head. It was also known as the “butch haircut.”

With the Flat Top, the sides were shaved close to the head, but the top was a bit longer. I imagine small planes could land on some of these Flat Tops, since they were so well manicured.

And then there was Twiggy, the poster child for anorexia, with her short hair, pancake boobs and gazelle-like frame. I didn’t adopt that hairdo, but I did appreciate the low-maintenance of the style.

Getting into the 70’s, both men and women began growing their hair to reflect the politics of the time. I remember all of us at NHHS having long hair, including the black stubble on our legs and the forest under our armpits. Freedom at last!

This was a great time for me, as I didn’t have to spend hours trying to girl myself into some feminine fashion. Guys began to grow beards, so you didn’t have to deal with that burning sensation when you kissed them. Yuck!

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