Willis Webb: From macho to mod, and back

October 20, 2012

From macho to mod, and back

It’s actually funny to watch the efforts of us guys to look macho or mod. My first real encounter with such male confusion came in the ‘60s when long hair came into vogue for men – macho, mod or otherwise.

My flat-top (some say crew cut) was flying out of style. I discovered wax, gel, hair spray and unisex hair salons. As my hair started to reach lengths that could be combed with some help from a roll brush and hair dryer, I went to the salon regularly to convince my hair not to stick straight up but to lay down and look both macho and mod. In that process, a stylist got carried away with some of the chemicals and the dryer and suddenly my hair began breaking off in clumps. That’s when the salon owner fired the stylist.

James, the salon owner (don’t call it “shop”), decided I needed a “do” that would allow my hair to “relax.” So, I got a perm(anent). Yeah, the kind that involved curlers. That brought on my first significant encounter with macho versus mod. There I sat under the dryer in James’ “salon,” hair in curlers, a plastic sheet draped around me. In walks this 250-pound-plus, 6-5 man in full Western regalia, 10-gallon hat and all. He strolls to the back of the “salon” where the dryers are located, looks at me, and starts grinning.

I must have looked pretty stern because the smile came off the cowboy’s face and he turned and left. I believe Cowboy probably thought I had a thumb-buster pistol under that plastic sheet.

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