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'Hair' Today.... 'Hair' Tomorow

2003-06-11 - 7:45 a.m.

There's something about the Midwest that breeds horrible hairdos.

Or, more accurately, there's something about small Midwestern towns that makes people here hang on to certain hairstyles for decades, creating the illusion that time stopped somewhere around the time Bret Michaels became a household name.

Take, for example, the tellers who were working at my bank on Saturday morning. Out of the four tellers, three had classic Midwestern outdated hairdos, and one had a really classically bad 'do that has nothing to do with geography. (I think this surely must count as some kind of Bad Hair Full House or Bad Hair Flush or what-have-you).

I'm truly not the kind of person who picks apart what other people look like--especially because I myself have bed-head to beat the band--but it was kind of Star Wars-bar freaky, the way all the women in there were like walking examples of a serious "Cosmo Don't."

Each woman in the bank had the kind of hairdo that is representative of those worn by many, many Midwestern women. Behold:

1. THE CLIPPER. Popular during the 1980's and early 1990's with many women (mostly Caucasian); often sported today by women of a mousier or churchiernature (who usually live in small, Midwestern towns). IDENTIFIED BY: longish (at least shoulder-length), all-one length hair (can be curly or wavy, but the lady at the bank's was stick-straight) pulled back on the sides into a flat, tortoise shell or metallic barrette (the kind that come in three-packs at Wal-mart.) While the sides of the hair are pulled back tightly and smoothly into the flat clip, the back section of hair remains down, and a small roll of bangs arches out over the forehead like a little awning. Said bangs are created by being placed around a curling iron and sprayed with White Rain or Salon Selectives. (Also can be combined w/ THE BIG BANG THEORY. See below).

2. THE BIG BANG THEORY: (See also: BISCUIT BANGS.) Sported mostly by Caucasian females, but crosses all cultural and socioeconomic divides. Infiltrated mainstream culture from the mid-1980's to the early 1990's. IDENTIFIED BY: any length of curly, straight, or wavy hair, (most commonly all one length and permed), complimented by a circular and elevated mound of hair resting at the forehead. This circular and elevated mound, known as the BISCUIT, (also known as the HAIR FLOWER), is most likely created by a curling iron, Salon Selectives Hairspray, and some miracle of gravity. (Close cousin of the blow-dryer-and-Aqua-net-created TOWER OF BANGS, which are much more rarely spotted today).

3.LADY COMBOVER. Not necessarily indicative of the Midwest; most often sported by Caucasian women and used as device to cover a balding spot. IDENTIFIED BY: a severe part on one side of the head, with the bulk of the hair (which would fall, by all laws of gravity, to a certain side) that has been dragged and piled severely to the opposite side. (The woman in the bank did not appear to have a balding spot-or DID she? Wink, wink.)

4.THE CRYSTAL GAIL HORSE'S TAIL. (Also known as the BROOMERANG). Usually accompanied by THE BISCUIT BANG, (as was the case w/ the woman at the bank).IDENTIFIED BY: a head of very long, un-layered hair--usually reaching toward the buttocks or at least lower back--that has been given a 1980's-type perm, known in that decade as a BOOMERANG PERM, but the hair itself is outgrown and shaggy and the ends resemble something like HORSES'S TAIL. Outgrown ends may also remind of a BROOM, creating the alternate name, THE BROOM-ERANG.

Whenever I see these hairdos, I find myself pondering one serious question:why the 80's? In other words, if people are going to pick an outdated style that says time has stopped for them, fashion-wise, then why did time stop in that specific period? Is it some kind of attachment to the Reagan administration? Why isn't everyone walking around in a Shag? Why not the Beehive?

I always figure we small-town Midwesterners have a hard time knowing what's stylish these days because we're never around young, hip people who stay on top of the trends and therefore influence us. Because young, hip people don't move to small Midwestern towns--or if they grow up in them, they move away from them to go be young and hip and trendy somewhere else. (Read: Chicago).

So that kind of explains why people around here aren't the trendiest. But it doesn't explain why they're a good 10 to 20 years behind--and staying that way as time advances. I can't figure out how men can have mullets and then continue to go into a barber shop-- a good 10 years after the Billy Ray Cyrus heyday-- and say, "Yeah, um, could I get a little off the top and the sides,and, uh, nothing off the back?" You'd think all the mullet calendars and bumper stickers around town might cause a little self-reflection.

But then again, I suppose I shouldn't talk: I was once a CLIPPER!

To my credit, though, it was 1989.

that was then - this is now

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