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how strict was it when you were "our age"?

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duke View Drop Down

Joined: December 11 2000
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    Posted: September 10 2003 at 10:00am
Hi, there, senior friends.

I am almost 24, so I am not nearly old enough
to be a senior citizen...or to remember what
it was like in much of the 20th century. As
those of you who visit the other hair talk
boards may know, I have posted on many
discussions which discuss whether or not a
certain way of wearing your hair is "acceptable"
or not - paticularly discussions about men
having long hair. I know that during much of
the 20th century - the years when you seniors
were growing up and young, when people
were MUCH stricter about how you could and
couldn't look. So I was wondering if some of
you could share memories, so that I may get
a picture of what it was like. In particular, can
you answer some of the following about the
period from the 1920s to the 1950s:

-why was it such a no-no for men to have long
hair? I wouldn't call Elvis and the Beatles'
hair long, not really, but back then, it was
considered so and many people would have
preferred to see them all in crewcuts!!! Was
a man with long hair (if that even existed -
practically the only one I can think of from that
time was Albert Einstein, who was eccentric
(and aren't professors sometimes tolerated in
this respect ?). A man seems by
definition to have HAD to have short hair. What
do you think people would have said back then
if a professional man grew his hair a bit - called
him gay? A slob? Effeminate?

-What did barbers use before electric clippers to
taper hair? Did they ever just do it with scissors?

-Women, at least urban women seem to have normally styled their hair a lot, and to have rarely worn it really long (except maybe in Europe?) after the mass-bobbing of the 1920s (it got longer
in the '30s but not always that much). Was this
just fashion, or was it a matter of being socially
acceptable like with men having to have short
hair. To explain the point better, if a woman from
the 1930s to the 1950s wore her hair truly long,
and unstyled (or at least not curled/permed but
in a bun or something), would it just be
unfashionable, or would people say she was
dirty/unkempt, ostracize her etc? I think there
were more such women (eg. Virginia Woolf, I
think,) than men with longish/long hair.

-Was shaving one's head socially acceptable?

-Finally, what precisely was the status of having
a full beard? In pictures from World War I to
the 1960s, men almost always shave, except
for some old men, other than the odd
mustache or sideburns. Was this again fashion
or a real social issue? Could a businessman in
the 1930s or 40s have a beard or would it be
considered dirty, strange etc? I know it was
associated with communism, because of
bearded Russians - (duhh!)

What do y'all remember? I'm curious.
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