Can you tell the difference between French and English hair styles?
English or French?
While considering this question here is some historical background to ‘getting your hair cut’:
Traditionally, women go to the ‘hairdressers’ and men go to the ‘barbers’. The barber’s shop is the one with the red and white pole outside; red for blood, white for teeth. Barbers once also practiced surgery, blood-letting and dentistry and the pole represented the bloody bandages. In England, traditional barber’s still exist; but less and less. Now ‘hair salons’ predominate, catering for both men and women.
Traditionally, men visited the barbers shop for a ‘quick trim’, a ‘short, back and sides’, a ‘crewcut’ or a shave. It was important to look clean-shaven and smart for the girls at the saturday evening dances. It was also one place where men could quietly obtain condoms. The barber would ask, with a surrepticious wink: ‘Anything special for the weekend, sir?’ Barbers shops were places for men; for men’s chat, men’s jokes and men’s horse-racing tips. Combs, scissors, clippers, razors and shaving brushes stood around the sink with bottles of aftershave and tubes of ‘brylcreem’ to grease down the hair once it was cut. Sounds horrible now, but such was the fashion in the 1950s.
Women’s hairdresser’s, similarly, were places rarely entered by men. They were not particular welcome. Women did not want men to see them with their hair in curlers and their heads stuck up under saloon hair dryers. Like today, women in the past did not have their hair ‘cut’, they had it ‘done’. They would even talk about having a new ‘hairdo’. Thus, whilst a man could have his hair clipped and trimmed in under ten minutes, ‘doing’ a women’s hair might take half the morning. No change there, then. And to achieve these spectacular results necessitates such a vast range of tools and devices, from curling tongs to crimpers, with every tonsorial chemical aid known to humankind, from peroxide bleaches to shampoo conditioners, that a visit to the hairdressers costs women five times the cost of a man’s visit to his barber!
Yes, times and hair styles have certainly changed over the years. Long hair became the fashion in the hippy hey-days, whilst skinheads liked their hair tightly cropped. Bob Marley began the fashion of rastafarian dreadlocks (‘dreads’), whilst men’s afros were common in the 1970s. Then ‘punk’ arrived and spikey ‘mohicans’ were frequently seen on the street.
For women, every possible style has been in vogue at one time or other: Wavey hair, frizzy hair, curly hair, straight hair and ringlets. Page boy style, beehive style and perms. Braids, pony-tails, pig-tails and extensions. Hair tinted, dyed or coloured with roots re-touched and split ends removed. To see and hear these all discussed click here