Goddamn the Ponytail Man

Inside the ponytail wearer’s head, low, cunning thoughts do lurk

By Mike Walsh, Published in Scan magazine in 1989.

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After a good fifteen years in fashion hibernation, men’s ponytails are back in vogue. Browse through any of the current fashion magazines, and you’ll see what I mean. The male ponytail, which was once a symbol of rebellion, is now nothing but the feeble, trendy fashion statement of the cool, the swanky, and the boutique clerk.

Now I’m not one to wallow in the lost idealism of the past, but I have never met a ponytail wearer who was not selfish, sinister, and pompous. Their ponytails announce as loudly as possible, “I am it. All else is dirt,” with that smug, hypocritical smile so common to the ponytail wearer.

Sure, maybe heavy-duty role models such as Jesus, George Washington, and Rambo have sported ponytails, but Jesus, after all, was the Son of God, George Washington was the first President, and Rambo helped us finally beat those bastards the Vietnamese, so those dudes have special dispensation.

Many famous, eminent scientists have theorized that the ponytail is a subconscious representation of the penis or perhaps a form of penis envy. Others feel it’s an unconscious attempt to reclaim a father’s attention from a popular sister. In any case, all the possible psychological reasons for the ponytail are deeply embarrassing, and for that reason alone ponytails should be eradicated forthwith.

I maintain that male ponytails are a festering sore on the body of men’s fashion and that any male sporting a ponytail does so only out of weakness to the fascist uniformity of fashion advertising, and therefore, should seek counseling. I also maintain that other more dignified hair fashion statements exist. They are, of course, the goatee and the DA.

The best thing about the goatee, named after the chin whiskers of the proud he-goat, is that it isn’t currently fashionable, nor is it ever likely to be, so no one will be able to pigeonhole you as a slave to fashion. Male and female peers alike will be intrigued. They’ll consider you mysterious and intense. You’ll be admired and revered as a man of confidence for having the nerve to wear such a funny-looking thing on your face. But be forewarned: the goatee can only be worn by those with the courage to face constant comparison to Maynard G. Crebbs.

And there are other important advantages when compared to the ponytail, not the least of which is that women can’t grow goatees, except for a few fascinating exceptions. And along with an army of greasers and bikers, you’ll be considered potentially dangerous (earrings and tattoos will help in this regard). The goatee also keeps the throat warm during the winter, rendering the scarf obsolete, to say nothing of the obvious sexual advantages.

With literally hundreds of different styles, the goatee can allow a person to fully express his individuality. In fact, there are so many goatees styles available, no two men need wear the same cut. Yet I see only one type of ponytail these days—the single limp strand, despite the several centuries of creativity lavished on ponytail styles by the English court system.

But the central question is this: which style is more appealing, sex-wise? Diligent research conducted by several very smart scientists has shown that men with goatees are seen as masculine, good-looking, self-confident, courageous, industrious, and possessing primitive sexual drives. (The importance of this last item can hardly be overemphasized.) A smooth, goatee-less face coupled with a ponytail projects the sexless qualities of innocence, purity, and vulnerability. Take your pick, fellas.

The DA, short for the Duck’s Ass, is so-named because of the small point of hair at the base of the neck resembling a duck’s tail feathers. Believe it or not, it was invented in South Philadelphia in 1938 by a barber named Joe Cirello. Cirello, a true folk artist with the clippers, created it while practising on a young, blind patron. The DA (not to be confused with Dorothy Hamill’s awful DH) gained fame as the standard coif for early rock ‘n’ rollers. Manned with his DA, Elvis revolutionized an entire culture. The DA was worn by several of our best role models, like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Eddie Fisher, and Wayne Newton, just to name a few.

Cirello gave Das for only about $10 in his modest shop near South and 2nd until he died in the early 90s. Joe used to tell the story of cutting Boy George’s ponytails. Guess what kind of haircut Boy George wanted? That’s right, a DA.

And by the way, I suppose the ponytail-wearin’ nitwits don’t realize that the ponytail is actually an overgrown DA. But do these rubes show any respect for the master? No way. The ponytailers completely ignored Cirello’s shop. Have these cretins no respect at all?

Nothing has become clearer to me from my research than these two indisputable facts: hairstyles affect our sex appeal and simultaneously associate us with barnyard animals. If you think that an association with the feeble pony will enhance your sex appeal, for you there may be no hope. But if you have the nerve to associate yourself with the noble, virile duck, or the brave, sexual goat, brace yourself for an onslaught of proposition, innuendo, and sexual harassment that will make your ponytail wearing peers return that germ carrying, narcissist aberration to the fashion hibernation from whence it came.


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[More articles by Mike Walsh in ExpressoTilt]

© Mike Walsh