Texas Liberal

All People Matter

I Need A Haircut—Some Haircutting Links

I’m going to get a haircut today. It has been almost two months since my last haircut.

(Above—An 1880 painting called The Barber. The Barber is the work of Nikolaos Gyzis. I really don’t like that painting at all.)

I’ve been going to the same barber for 13 years. He has no idea what my name is. He always calls me “Young man.”  The barber can call me young man as he is pressing 80.

At the end of his life Lyndon Johnson allowed his hair to grow longer.

I keep my hair short. I’m helped in this preference by not having much hair in the first place.

The barber shop I frequent just had a makeover. New owners bought the place and installed wood paneling on the walls, a flat panel tv on the wall, a book case full of books nobody reads, some art, and even a bottle of whiskey with some glasses so patrons can have a drink if they wish.

They did keep the 80 year old barber who does not know my name after 13 years. He was the previous owner. He no longer wanted the hassles of owning the shop. He always gives me a good haircut. I’ll go to that shop as long as he is still around.

However, I do miss how the shop was before the new owners. There were some framed pictures of trains and old cars. There was a small television on which the barber would play old western movies or dvd’s of bluegrass gospel concerts that had often been recorded in Tennessee or Kentucky. I thought the stuff the barber played on the TV was interesting.

Last year I wrote a post about a song I heard at the barbershop called “You Don’t Love God If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor.”

The barber does not play these things on the big new TV on the wall. Either he does not know how to operate the thing, or they told him not to play his videos anymore.

Here is some history of barbering that goes way back.

Here is some history of black owned barbershops in the United States.

Here is a history of various hairstyles over the years.

Here are pictures and descriptions 0f 25 hairstyles of the past 100 years.

(Below— A restored barbershop that is part of a pioneer village in Scurry County, Texas. Photo by Billy Hathorn.)

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Took A Break From Death To Note All The Hair On The Baltimore Relief Pitcher

There is a lot going on in the world.

The Texas legislature is in session and is contemplating brutal cuts in already underfunded education and health programs. Folks are fighting for the rights of working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. Libya is in a civil war.

These things matter a great deal. However, I’m in Cincinnati dealing with a severe illness in the family. I can’t get to all the things I would like to blog about.

One thing I am able to get to is watching television in the nursing home room I’m spending a number of hours in each day.

This afternoon I watched a replay of game 7 of the 1979 World Series on ESPN Classic. In this World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles.

Above is a picture I took off the TV. The Baltimore relief pitcher you see is Don Stanhouse.

Even in the shadow of death in the nursing home, I was amazed by all the hair Mr. Stanhouse had on his head and on his face.

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Here Is What Malcolm X Wrote About Making His Hair Something Other Than Natural

Here is some of what Malcolm X wrote in his Autobiography about changing his hair to make it more like the hair of a white person—

“Shorty soon decided that my hair was finally long enough to be conked. He had promised to school me in how to beat the barbershops’ three- and four-dollar price by making up congolene and then conking ourselves…I took the little list of ingredients he had printed out for me and went to a grocery store, where I got a can of Red Devil lye, two eggs, and two medium-sized white potatoes. Then at a drugstore near the poolroom, I asked for a large jar of Vaseline, a large bar of soap, a large-toothed comb and a fine-toothed comb, one of those rubber hoses with a metal sprayhead, a rubber apron, and a pair of gloves…

….A jellylike, starchy-looking glop resulted from the lye and potatoes, and Shorty broke in the two eggs, stirring real fast—his own conk and dark face bent down close. The congolene turned pale yellowish. “Feel the jar,” Shorty said. I cupped my hand against the outside and snatched it away. “Damn right, it’s hot, that’s the lye,” he said. “So you know it’s going to burn when I comb it in—it burns bad. But the longer you can stand it, the straighter the hair.”…He made me sit down, and he tied the string of the new rubber apron tightly around my neck and combed up my bush of hair. Then, from the big Vaseline jar, he took a handful and massaged it hard all through my hair and into the scalp. He also thickly Vaselined my neck, ears, and forehead. “When I get to washing out your head, be sure to tell me anywhere you feel any little stinging,” Shorty warned me, washing his hands, then pulling on the rubber gloves and tying on his own rubber apron. “You always got to remember that any congolene left in burns a sore into your head.”The  pre=”The “>congolene just felt warm when Shorty started combing it in. But then my head caught fire….I gritted my teeth and tried to pull the sides of the kitchen table together. The comb felt as if it was raking my skin off….My eyes watered, my nose was running. I couldn’t stand it any longer; I bolted to the washbasin. I was cursing Shorty with every name I could think of when he got the spray going and started soap-lathering my head…

….My first view in the mirror blotted out the hurting. I’d seen some pretty conks, but when it’s the first time, on your own head, the transformation, after the lifetime of kinks, is staggering…The mirror reflected Shorty behind me. We both were grinning and sweating. And on top of my head was this thick, smooth sheen of shining red hair—real red—as straight as any white man’s…How ridiculous I was! Stupid enough to stand there simply lost in admiration of my hair now looking “white,” reflected in the mirror in Shorty’s room. I vowed that I’d never again be without a conk, and I never was for many years…This was my first really big step toward self-degradation: when I endured all of that pain, literally burning my flesh to have it look like a white man’s hair. I had joined that multitude of Negro men and women in America who are brainwashed into believing that the black people are “inferior”—and white people “superior”—that they will even violate and mutilate their God-created bodies to try to look “pretty” by white standards.”

(Here is a link to a more complete view of this passage)

People are free to look anyway they want in life. I’ve no notion of what it is like to be black. People of all colors dye their hair and wear wigs and toupees.

And yet with all that said, I’ve never understood the desire to match a style of beauty or appearance that at core does not respect what some people are, and that’s never going to be consistent with the perfectly good way folks are born into the world.

October 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments