Voluntary tonsuring did not carry the ignominy of shearing under duress.
October 8, 2014 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Scissors or Sword? The Symbolism of a Medieval Haircut:
"Simon Coates explores the symbolic meanings attached to hair in the early medieval West, and how it served to denote differences in age, sex, ethnicity and status."
posted by Fizz (29 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm kind of waiting for the tonsure to be 'ironically' revived. God knows, it's been done with everything else.
posted by jonmc at 10:10 AM on October 8, 2014 [5 favorites]




I'm kind of waiting for the tonsure to be 'ironically' revived. God knows, it's been done with everything else.

I saw one photo of this online a couple of years ago and have been scanning the streets of Brooklyn ever since, just waiting.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:11 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sufferers of bald spots would be delighted I'm sure.
posted by sobarel at 10:19 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of waiting for the tonsure to be 'ironically' revived.

Uh, dude...
posted by Sys Rq at 10:20 AM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Just a few weeks ago I was lamenting that the undercut had escaped gay men and now ran rampant on straight boy's heads.

It was the first time I could legit say I had something before it was cool ( I got it when I told my barber "I don't know, 30s? Villainous?)
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 AM on October 8, 2014 [10 favorites]


Uh, dude...

Wow, introducing bands in English and German simultaneously should be an Olympic sport.
posted by sobarel at 10:22 AM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


About halfway through reading this song got stuck in my head.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:23 AM on October 8, 2014


This is a great article cause now when I grow my hair long for winter I can say I'm merely reasserting the nobility of my Norman ancestors
posted by The Whelk at 10:28 AM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


TFA says the Normans were short-haired and clean-shaven, Whelk. Their Anglo-Saxon enemies were long-haired and moustachioed.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:38 AM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


winter is where whelk is a viking
posted by poffin boffin at 10:42 AM on October 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


Hair are your ariels.
posted by colie at 10:42 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


On the Bayeux Tapestry a lot of the Normans have their hair shaved behind the ears (a sort of anti-mullet) which looks quite threatening. Long tashes all round for the Anglo-Saxons however.
posted by sobarel at 10:46 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hair/heir today, gone tomorrow?
posted by jangie at 10:49 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Heh, apropos: yesterday SCOTUS heard arguments about whether it's constitutional to ban inmates from having beards, even when it's a religious obligation for them.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:07 AM on October 8, 2014


Normans and English were like Mods and Rockers when it came to hair.
posted by Thing at 11:18 AM on October 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm still waiting for the double mullet comb-over to become "a thing"
posted by iotic at 11:27 AM on October 8, 2014


Normans and English were like Mods and Rockers when it came to hair.

Similar in their propensity for having barneys on the south coast too.
posted by sobarel at 11:46 AM on October 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


I thought The Beatles invented long hair for men. (I really did until I was about 15).
posted by colie at 11:54 AM on October 8, 2014


I always knew I was a Merovingian King!
posted by Windopaene at 12:13 PM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, when I was a child my mother would have chosen death for me before allowing my hair to grow long.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:37 PM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Normans and English were like Mods and Rockers when it came to hair.

And beaches.

(whoops- sobarel got there first, so instead I'll mention the episode from Brennu-Njal's Saga where Sigmund's wife says that Njal should use dung on his and his son's faces to help them grow beards, and Njal's son hits Sigmund with an axe)
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:46 PM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Frankish kings are never to be shorn.
posted by Flashman at 1:02 PM on October 8, 2014


I thought The Beatles invented long hair for men. (I really did until I was about 15).

Likewise. I am too young to have caught the square mockery in the sixties save in fossil form (Fred Flintstone, pictures of Milton Berle in a wig). I did vaguely know that a generation or so before that, longhair was a derisive term for classical music enthusiasts, so I gathered that long hair on guys was a thing at least once before (Cavaliers and Roundheads were not on my horizon yet as a child).

Wikipedia says in crew cut:
The term, originally crew haircut, was most likely coined to describe the hairstyles worn by members of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell and other university Crew teams, which were short to keep the hair from being blown into the face of the rower as the boat races down the course opposite the direction the rower is seated with both hands on the oars, making it impossible to brush the hair out of the face.[10][11][12][13] The name drew a contrast to football haircuts, which had been long since 1889 when Princeton football players began wearing long hair to protect against head injury, thereby starting a trend, not altogether welcome; mop haired football players were frequently caricatured in the popular press.[14]
Plus ├ža change.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:57 PM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I thought The Beatles invented long hair for men. (I really did until I was about 15).

It was the Fifth Beatle, Clovis
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:21 PM on October 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Clovis, Lothar, Childebert and Ringo.
posted by sobarel at 3:24 PM on October 8, 2014 [7 favorites]


Now almost all our fellow countrymen are crazy and wear little beards, openly proclaiming by such a token that they revel in filthy lusts like stinking goats.

I must remember this quote!
posted by BlueHorse at 3:50 PM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Interesting what you say about the fifth Beatle. There was an early fifth Beatle, Stuart_Sutcliffe who "was also the first Beatle to wear his hair in the famous Beatle hairstyle".

And there's another person sometimes called the fifth Beatle, Billy Preston, whose picture says it all.

The Beatles did change the public acceptance of long hair in men in the 20th century, which lead the the 60s free-for all, which still exists to some extent today.
posted by eye of newt at 9:31 PM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


winter is where whelk is a viking
posted by poffin boffin


Vikings - at least the Danish ones - also wore their hair short at the back; the Norman (aka Northmen) style is the Danish style.

There is a letter from Aefric lamenting the fashion for English men in the Danelaw to cut their hair short like the Danes.
posted by jb at 5:59 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


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