Friday, June 26, 2009

Issue 4 - Hair Maketh The Man

(Here's one for the ladies and for discerning men.)


Not the musical, but the organic stuff we all have growing on us.

People spend millions trying to get rid of it; people spend millions trying to get more of it. Some people really need to spend some of their millions doing either/or (Donald Trump, I'm looking at you).

I am most fascinated by the role that hair plays in the consideration of a person's attractiveness; not only that, but how popular culture influences that consideration.

Particularly for men. Remember the undercut? Or the shave-and-peroxide phase?

Over the last 12 months or so, I have noticed a gradual shift in the popular perception of what is "hot" in a man and what is not. For several years, every teen idol and pin-up boy sported a variation on the Emo Fringe - the more side-swept, the better. The current poster child for the Emo Fringe is Zac Efron (although he stole the title from Pete Wentz, who was too busy having babies and Twittering about his personal life to notice). The Emo Fringe in its purest form was complemented by skinny jeans and layers of eyeliner. Oddly enough, tattoos would also get you points. In a way, it was the slick, modern, commercialised version of punk, with a hefty dose of glam rock thrown in.

And chest hair? Pffft!! Don't even GO there! A man didn't get anywhere in the fashionable world unless he was waxed and buffed to a shine. Only the most attractive of the most attractive could afford to get away with anything different. For a while there, it looked like Hugh Jackman was the only one managing to hold his own - ironic, really, considering his all-singing, all-dancing background.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I like a pretty-boy*, but I did feel like the look had become a bit tired. Then, one day, I opened a magazine and found not one, but two fashion adverts featuring very manly men with very manly chest hair proudly on display. What had happened?

Back-track about a year. Enter a certain young vampi-- sorry, a certain young actor by the name of Robert Pattinson. At first, Twilight fans were horrified. This was not the Edward Cullen of their fantasies! He was…scruffy! His hair had not been touched by a pair of straighteners! And what was that growth beneath his shirt?! But, he was…funny…and he sang like a tortured angel…and he played piano…OK, so maybe he didn't sparkle, but that was part of his charm…

Cue screaming girls and massive over-exposure.

There were other signs, too, that made me suspect the winds of change were blowing, bringing female affections back around to the more manly physique: Gerard Butler suddenly surged in popularity after bulking up for "300", mo's and beards were appearing here and there at random, I had never seen so much gush about a pair of thick eyebrows as I was seeing about those belonging to a certain supervillain named Sylar (and if Zachary Quinto grew a bit of facial hair? Look out! Fan girls everywhere were suddenly volunteering to have his babies).

My suspicions were subsequently confirmed by the attention surrounding a particular King. A King of Leon, to be precise. What's interesting here is that the Followill clan has always been a hairy bunch. In truth, they used to look like lumberjacks who had stumbled across 70s fashion a couple of decades too late. But one member, in particular, made some drastic follicular changes and - voilĂ ! - all sorts of things were on fire.

You might be forgiven, at this point, for thinking I mean the bass player, Jared. He is the obvious heartthrob of the band: the cut jaw, the eyes, the cool movie star confidence; he's also formerly a proud supporter of the Emo Fringe - even Miley Cyrus loves him. But, no.

Instead, take one blue-eyed lead singer named Caleb, shorten his ridiculously long hair, grow and cultivate a nice tidy beard/longish stubble and you have a man who looks as good as he sounds. And, boy, is that good.

Now, if only we could get Dave Grohl to see that less is more, all would be well with the world of rock.

I've been thinking through my knowledge of pop history and have decided that I cannot picture any of the following without thinking of their iconic hair:

Jennifer Aniston - "The Rachel"
Salvador Dali
Prince Harry
Tom Selleck
Kurt Cobain (single-handedly responsible for the grunge mop)
Farrah Fawcett (RIP)
Danny Masterson as Steven Hyde
Freddy Mercury
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow or Edward Scissorhands
Princess Leia
Amy Winehouse
Albert Einstein
Victoria Beckham (don't hate me, just face it - whenever she changes her hair, the whole world stops to look)
The Beatles
The Queen of Simple Chic, Audrey Hepburn.

Wanna get noticed? Storm the charts? Start a revolution? Then either get with the hottest hair trend, or start one.

*Although Harrison Ford will always be top of my list.


1 comment:

  1. A man is not a man without a bit of chest hair!