“Hairstyles and attitudes
Are they connected
Are the styles we embrace
A matter of taste
Or of values rejected”
- Timbuk 3
I joked with Fitzroy this morning that it was the day to preach a bad sermon because my haircut would be the talk of the dinner tables not the sermon.
Stockman haircuts are seismic events!
I have been a long hair man since I was young. I grew up with George Best on the TV, plastered over my walls. I wanted to be him. He was from here after all. As well as his dribbling skills and outrageously spectacular goals I wanted his hair. It was the days of The Beatles. The days of the Stones!
My parents weren’t so keen. My father was the neatest tidiest man I ever met. My mum was more about conventions than neatness. I was put in wee suits and was never allowed to wear denim at Primary School. Over the last 40 years I have worn nothing else. I even got married in Levi 501s!
I remember as a kid that every 2 months on a Saturday morning it was off the the barber Jim Best. I tried to pretend I was sleeping when dad came into my room.
As soon as I could - I grew my hair! There have only been 4 big cuts!
When I was about 22, while at University, my cousin Sharon got married. Sharon is like my sister BUT she took on the conventions of our mums. She demanded that I got my hair cut to be one of her ushers! My Aunt Elizabeth was a hairdresser and photos were taken of the before and after. It was a big deal!
The next time was maybe 5 years later as I was becoming a Presbyterian minister. To be fair my favourite bands had short hair for a year or two and I conformed. It was brief. Even my favourite bands started growing out their hair. Compare Ricky Ross in 1987 and 1990!
That was it until I was heading towards 40. It was the end of the millennium. We at Derryvolgie Hall where I lived with 88 students and we were going to build houses in Cape Town with Habitat For Humanity.
I started thinking that as I was heading towards 40 and my hair was receding a little that maybe it was time to conform completely. I came up with a cunning plan. If all the people who wanted me to get my hair cut put their money were their mouths were, I would get my hair shaved for £3,500!
They made the target and I got my hair shaved on stage at a massive Youth event before All Star United played a great wee set!
I kept my hair shaved for over a decade after that but a few years into Fitzroy I thought I’d grow it out again and it has been long for about eight years.
This week’s cut was of necessity. Last November I went to get a trim. My first since the first lockdown. The hairdresser had no clue what to do with long hair. Then Ryan another hairdresser said, “Hi Steve”. He was my old cutter at my last barbers. He had moved. BUT he who had expertise went on brushing the floor while this other guy minced my hair.
I’ve put up with it for a while but the recent 4 Corners Festival meant that I was in a lot of photo shoots and even on TV and my hair just looked rough. I realised that it couldn’t be fixed. I was lacking trust in hairdressers. So I thought we should just start again. I asked Janice’s cousin Tim to shave it to a number 6.
Janice though started whacking the long hair so that it was be the right length to be shaved and about half way through we realised that to her surprise she was doing a great job and it never got to the shaving part. So here we are.
Back to that Timbuk 3 song. My hair has been all about attitudes. I used to grow it particularly long while doing missions. People seemed shocked when a Christian had long hair. It took away some stereotypes that opened doors for conversation.
It freaked out customs and airport security. Janice once stopped after I got stopped at a Customs check. The woman looked at her and then me and asked if we were together… then had we just met on the boat! Ha! Now the ear ring and ripped jeans helped but that is exactly the shock factor I was aiming for. Just call me Rev Stockman mam!
So, here we are. The 4th BIG cut. Will there be another. Don’t put it past me. Hairstyles and attitudes are connected and I feel like a compromised, conformed fraud today. Janice hates it short too, by the way!