August 04, 2007


Because I know this has been a burning question keeping you up all hours of the night, breaking your daily concentration, dominating dinner-table conversation, filling your journal pages; I give you the answer to: Really, what are the Most Well-Known hair-dos and where the heck did they come from?

1. Mohawks

Originally sported by warriors of various Native American tribes, the hairstyle was adopted by a squad of U.S. Army’s bad-to-the-bone 101st Airborne Division during World War II, before being commandeered by the punk rockers in the 1970s.

2. Pompadours

Pomps of yore (the style originated in 18th-century France) depended on beef tallow, bear grease, and other artery-cloggers to cement them into place. Not surprisingly, slathering one’s hair with animal remains tended to attract animals (insects and other nasties), which occasionally turned the original pompadour into, quite literally, a rats’ nest.

3. Beehives

Like precursors to the Cracker Jack box, these 18th-century ‘dos served as treasure troves, housing exotic prizes like tiny caged birds, cupid dolls, and other bulky curios. Of course, not every hairdo was a winner. When millions of hungry peasants revolutionized France, the over-the-top hairstyle quickly fell out of fashion - landing in that little basket just below the guillotine.

4. Queues

A queue wrapped around the head
When the Manchu invaded China in the 17th century, they brought over a killer fashion trend - killer as in, adopt it or else. The Manchu sported the queue, a shaved-in-front, pony-tail-in-the-back haircut, and forced the Han Chinese to do the same. While much of China eventually submitted to the do-or-die trend, many thousands bravely chose to keep their hair - and lose their heads. So what was the big deal with getting a little shave? Aside from the queue not being such as flattering cut (even compared to, say, the mullet), it also happened to be against the religion of millions of long-haired Confucian Chinese, who believe that one’s skin and hair are sacred.

5. Mullets

Business in front, party in the back. Late 20th-Century takes full responsibility for this one.

And now, you decide. Will the Rachel become one of history's most well-known dos?

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