The View from Writers Roost
Oct 18, 2012 | 1015 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

IT’S ACTUALLY funny to watch the efforts of us guys to look and act macho or mod.

For a guy who grew up the son of a cattle-buyer-rancher-sometime-farmer, although nothing was ever said, I believe my dad really wanted me to follow in his footsteps. I figured he thought journalists pronounced their profession with a lisp.

Right now, I’m carrying a little black bag with a strap over my shoulder. Some pure macho types (you can tell ‘em by the combo smirk-sneer on their face) look at me and start to grin their accusatory “sissy” look until they see the tubing running from the bag to a vein in my arm (it’s chemo). The look changes from sissy to pity. I don’t know which is worse. Neither is macho or mod.

My first real encounter with such male confusion came in the Sixties when long hair came into vogue for men — macho, mod or otherwise.

MY FLAT-TOP (some say crew cut) was flying out of style. Letting one’s hair grow from crew to something you can comb and style is a struggle. In my efforts to go mod hair, I discovered wax, gel, hair spray and unisex hair salons.

As my hair started to reach lengths that could be combed with some help from a roll brush and hair dryer, I went to the salon regularly to convince my hair not to stick straight up but to lay down and look both macho and mod.

In that process, a stylist got carried away with some of the chemicals and the dryer and suddenly my hair began breaking off in clumps. That’s when the salon owner fired the stylist and took over the resurrection of my hair’s health so I could proceed to the mod look — styled, longer hair.

James, the salon owner (don’t call it “shop”), decided I needed a “do” that would allow my hair to “relax.” So, I got a perm(anent).

YEAH, THE KIND that involved curlers, a smelly chemical to achieve “curl,” and lots of “heat” from the dryers, hand-held and hood type. That brought on my first significant encounter with macho versus mod.

Now, understand, I was a slender 170-pounder at the time and in pretty good shape. And, as LifeMate has often reminded me, I usually have this “stern” (I say “serious”) look on my face.

At any rate, there I sat under the dryer in James’ “salon,” hair in curlers, a plastic sheet draped around me. In walks this 250-pound-plus, 6-5 man in full Western regalia, 10-gallon hat and all. He strolls to the back of the “salon” where the dryers are located, looks at me, and starts grinning.

Well, LifeMate must have been right at least this once. I must have looked pretty stern because the smile came off the cowboy’s face and he turned and left the salon. I believe Cowboy probably thought I had a thumb-buster pistol under that plastic sheet.

AT ANY RATE, amongst such challenges I faced, there was also the look with the perm. James left it long enough, that some of the curls dangled over onto my forehead. My boss at the daily paper (he was publisher, I was editor) a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves, thought it was hilarious. I didn’t.

So much for trying to be mod. Actually, I just wanted to have hair I could comb like it was when I was a teen.

But, I went around with the perm for a few months until my hair was “healed” a la James.

Slowly, my hair grew out to an over-the-collar length considered “mod” at that time.

Finally, we’ve returned to sanity with men’s hairstyles. Now, it’s what individually suits you and as long as you’re “looking good” a la Theo Huxtable, you’re macho and mod.

Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at
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