The Beatle Haircut: Bureaucracy 2
When the Beatles came on the scene I was one of many who became infected with the music and the associated hysteria. Everything about their aura contradicted my conservative upbringing as well as my mother’s never ending crusade for me to get a crew cut.
My girlfriend talked me into changing my hairstyle to a Beatle cut, although the follicles themselves did somewhat resist the changeover. But I went along with the idea anyway.By flopping my hair forward, in complete counter-culture to the slicked back DA style, the new style had finally given me a leg up on Louie as well as giving me a final revenge on Nunzio the barber. Or so I thought.
Once I got past the hushed initial snickers of my peers, and after the Beatles took more of a foothold in America, I had finally for the first time in my life become suavely avante-guard. I did not care if it was only for the briefest of moments, until a few other students started doing it too, which then suddenly washed out any initial unique status I may have gained.
At the same time, I had become the President of the National Honor Society and was beginning to think about looking for a college.
Unfortunately this was also about the same time that the new supervising principle of the school system, Dr. Don, began to develop significant concerns that a Beatle haircut, in his mind, must also be synonymously equated with abject intolerable rebelliousness.
Dr. Don was a rarity in the educational hierarchy of that era as there were very few Ed.Ds floating around the primary school systems of America. His title was so rare in fact that it took the students at the high school years to get it right, if ever at all, and to not call him Mister. He was always sure to make an immediately stern correction to anyone daring to insult him with such a demeaning personal address.
- It’s Dr. Don. Not Mister Don.
He simply could not help his imperious, egocentrically self-aggrandizing personality; making the only thing I really learned from him was that I would never want to grow up and be like that. In truth, he was no more than a big fish in a small pond; but he made the little fish into the likes of a school of frightened mackerel running before a pod of feeding frenzied Tiger sharks.
A strict disciplinarian who liked to be in total control at all times, he literally went ballistic when the notorious haircuts appeared. Then because he truly believed that this haircut would be the ruination of academia, he went after me with a vengeance that could only be likened to the censored havoc that J. Edgar Hoover had wreaked upon the original Rock and Roll community.
It did nothing to help matters that because of their crony bonding at Board of Education meetings, my father had become his advocate as well, which forced me to listen to the critiques both at school, then again at home.
My father would get on the soapbox preaching:
- I can’t understand why anyone would want to wear his hair like that. Just what are you trying to prove anyway? And do you know how much this is an embarrassment to me?
- You’re right dad. I guess I’ll just have to get out of the spotlight then and resign as National Honor Society President.
Taking matters into his own hands in an attempt to nip matters in the bud, Dr. Don issued an edict that all Beatle haircuts were heretofore banned and that anyone sporting one would be expelled from school.
I asked for a meeting with him, pointed out that the haircut had no effect whatsoever on my grades or my extracurricular activities, to which he replied that because I was in a role model leadership position I should subsequently lead by the example he wanted me to set: Get rid of the hairdo.
This arbitrary edict was not the worst thing he could have done. Trying to get me to change for no good reason other than his personal whim was even worse than the arbitrary edict itself. My response was to organize a job action in which I convinced so many students to wear the also verboten sweatshirts and blue jeans, which had already settled in Dr. Don’s mind as being infinitely worse than hair styling, that he could not expel the entire student body and finally capitulated. The deal was that the haircuts would be allowed as long as they were kept short and trimmed and that the dress code was upheld.
My father in the meantime had such conniptions that I could indirectly embarrass him so much, possibly even ruining his friendship with Dr. Don, that he had totally turned a blind eye to the overarching concept of freedom of expression, as well as to any possible sensitivity having to do with peer acceptance, or a small expression of independent thinking.
I came away from it all with a deep seeded resentment for arbitrary authority.
The authorities came away from it with a dim understanding that the country in general was about to go down that same track, but in a much more openly rebellious expression of individual rights and the right to question arbitrary authority at the very top; The level of the U.S. President and the Congress.
Little did they know the hell that was about to break loose on a national level by the toxic combination of the Civil Rights movement synergistically mixing with the protests over the Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon war in Vietnam.
Social unrest was about to become as volatile as pouring lye into a vat of sulfuric acid.
Thus, a little change in hairstyling was nothing in comparison to the bigger changes yet to come along in the next decade.
They’re gonna put us in identical little boxes
No character, just uniformity.
And they can try to build a computerized society,
But they’ll never make a Zombie out of me
(Muswell Hillbillies: The Kinks)