Hummel Column: A brief history of home haircuts
I was a senior in high school before I had my first barber shop haircut. My dad had been doing a decent job all those years but I thought I had outgrown his talent. It wasn't easy for me to tell him I wanted to go out and get a real haircut, but he handled it. When I went to the barber shop I was so nervous. You would have thought I had suddenly been shoved out in a middle of a stage and forced to sing a solo. I thought everyone would be looking at me. Then when the barber asked me how I wanted it cut I didn't know what to say. I had always got short haircuts at home and I was ready for a little change. So I said something like "not too much off."
When I got home my dad said, "I thought you were getting a haircut." I said "I just did." Awkward moment, but we both got over it. Throughout my senior year my hair never did get short enough to suit my dad, and thinking back -- he was right. When I left home for school I drifted back to the basics -- mostly short.
In those days the Three Stooges, Moe, Larry and Curly were alive, well and part of the entertainment scene. I mention the Stooges because they obviously had home haircuts. My home haircut looked something like Moe's.
Today, mothers probably give more home haircuts than dads and probably better ones. If a mom wants to cut it short there are buzzers that will give a kid an even 1/4 inch cut all around, just as smooth as the fuzz on a baby duck. There is no such thing as a bad hair day or wind problem with a buzz like that.
There are probably more home haircuts these days than there where when I was kid, but not so many for kids as adults. And the top home haircut style of today is the head shave. The job can be done by standard razors or electric clippers with clippers being somewhat more popular. In this generation, I believe pro basketball great (now retired) Michael Jordan started the shaved head fad. There are numerous reasons to shave your head: a slick head reduces drag while swimming, preparation for joining the U.S. Marines, preparation for surgery, grooming simplicity or simply because hair won't grow there anyway. But now, there's a certain cool look that the shaved head creates so it's a matter of style.
Many famous people we are familiar with have shaved their heads: Andre Agassi, the tennis player (who once had a pony tail when hair was growing on his head), Joan Jett, Tiki Barber the football star, Shaquille O'Neal, the giant basketball star ("Shak"), Bono, Vin Diesel, Paul Shaffer, Kevin Garnett, Demi Moore (shaved her head for G.I. Jane), Jack Nickolson (shaved his head for Bucket List), Arnold Schwarzenegger (in Batman and Robin), Barry Bonds (juiced up baseball slugger) and Bruce Willis. Finally, Britney Spears shaved her head when her life crashed and she was feeling "damaged and sick."
There are other reasons to shave heads including religious rites and cultural fads. In the late 70's there was a punk rock fad that produced subculture shaved heads in England -- a scary group.
But as for the current crop of shaved heads, they look neat, clean and cool. They require a shaving about as often as beards. In winter, without a cap they are colder than heads with hair by about 20 percent, but why wouldn't somebody with a shaved headwear a cap in the winter? In the summer they're cooler, but sunscreen is a definite must. All in all, the shaved head is the most fashionable of home haircuts and probably the simplest. But if you're going to try one, don't wait too long, because as with all fashion, sooner or later they'll be a thing of the past.