Update: As I am finding comments to this posting rather sympathetic, I give the link to my men’s long hair forum. Men’s Long Hair Hyperboard. Please see the forum rules and FAQ before posting, and be advised that new contributors are moderated. See especially the Repetitively Asked Questions and the forum’s policy on off-topic posting. There are some very good men on this forum, and there is nothing indecent or explicitly sexual. For those who are genuine, I recommend it.
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I seem to have missed a vital article when I wrote Vestri Capilli Capitis a couple of months ago. This article is one written on Modern Medievalism in 2012, “Scissors or Sword?” Why medieval men might choose death over a haircut. This is truly about the philosophy of long hair on a man’s head, and not merely a question of fashion or personal taste. The young man running this blog is himself a longhair.
In the case of medieval kings, long hair was a sign of privilege and power, and if they lost their hair to an enemy, they suffered great humiliation and even the loss of their throne.
Short hair on men has always been a sign of servitude. In the armed forces, a man must surrender his personality to become part of the fighting unit entirely under the command of an officer. In the middle ages, short hair was a sign of low standing. Clerics received a tonsure, but often, the hair on the outside of the shaved part was left long. Christ has always been portrayed with long hair. He would be unimaginable with a crew cut as many conservative priests wear.
Long hair on men went in and out of fashion from the middle ages to the Renaissance times. In the English Civil War, the Cavaliers wore long hair to show that they were high Anglicans or Roman Catholics. The Roundheads were precisely that – with closely cropped hair. They were Puritans and hated beauty or any kind of image. At the Restoration, long hair returned to the royal court.
The French Revolution cut hair as well as heads! Long hair returned among romantics and medievalists. Short hair was the result of two world wars and a modern version of conservatism and humiliation. Like all my colleagues at seminary, I had short hair, even though medium length hair was tolerated at my school in the 1970’s. Nowadays, in the 2010’s, modern fashionable hairstyles resemble the 1920’s and 30’s.
Myself, I have now been five full months without a haircut and will soon complete my sixth. It is a choice I have made in this stage of my life, and I am confident I will pull it off, since I have no pattern baldness and my grey shag is thick and only slightly wavy. It is now in the “awkward stage”, and has to be lived with patiently. In a little less than one year, it will be possible to tie it back and keep it perfectly neat and tidy for all social settings. Throughout the growth process, it has to be kept perfectly clean, conditioned and groomed. That’s the way it works.
It certainly marks me apart from traditionalist Roman Catholicism, and as a priest with another message to bear. It is important here in France where a mere cassock is synonymous with extreme right-wing politics and ideology. The philosophy and message of long hair depend on many things these days, especially one’s dress and cultural references. There are so many reasons for this option of about 5% of the male population in Europe. I don’t agree with them all but I respect them.
I participate in a men’s long hair forum, and I have been most edified by many who post there. I feel I should not link to it from this blog, at least at this stage. Most of those men are masculine, married with families and sometimes former servicemen. It is not something “camp” or effeminate, but rather a way that a man affirms his own personality and self confidence. Whether they are former hippies, men of science, teachers, working men or in the fine arts – there is even a Rabbi, I find the same aspiration to freedom and a philosophy of life that differs radically from this world of power, money, possession and violence. The ancient symbolism is known to all, however subconsciously.