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SPEAKING OF LONG HAIR

"Give me a head with hair - long, beautiful hair," says a decades-old song. Before the 1960s, longish hair on men had signified dubious masculinity. Though the Beatles and the hippies changed that, making extensive tresses stylish for straights, too, it's hard for younger gay men to understand the symbolic value long hair held for a whole generation of homos.
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In the late '60s and early '70s, when modern gay radicalism was born, long hair spoke of nonconformism, sensuality, and a challenge to rigid gender norms. "I remember," says one middle-aged man, now nearly bald, "how sexy and free I felt with all my long hair swirling around."

Time passes; fashions change. Among young gays, rebellious hippie hairdos gave way to butch short cuts. But some guys still love long locks, because, among other things, hair makes their cocks hard. Says forty-ish Paul, "I find it difficult to explain why I find long hair a turn-on. Like guys who are turned on by leather or No. 1 crops, it just is. It could be called a fetish, but it seems broader than that."

After all, longer hair can be a sensual delight. Says one tough-looking top with a liking for long locks, "I love to see a naked guy lying in bed with his hair like a halo on the pillow. And hey, when a long-haired man gives me head, I have something to grab onto - I use his hair like a leash to guide his mouth."

But though we're a community that's supposed to celebrate diversity, it seems many queer guys wear the badge of the Fashion Police. Says Paul, "I sometimes run into men who have a negative attitude toward me and others with long locks. They make comments like, 'You should get it clippered; the '60s are over.' And all the advertisements in gay publications feature men with very short hair. Don't the people doing the ads realize that not all of us have the same taste in men?"

Perhaps part of the problem is that over the years, long hair has often been associated with guys that don't seem very queer: heavy-metal bands, professional footballers, Peter Stringfellow, Status Quo. But maybe some of it has to do with the changing self-definition of many gays: less rebellious now, less gender-bending. And long hair on men is a marker of a generation that's gotten middle-aged and thus - supposedly - less sexy.

"I know this is not a major issue, more of a minor annoyance, " Paul continues, "but I've even had friends tell me that they prefer longer hair but have cut theirs to 'fit in.'" So one day, after watching a TV documentary on the early days of gay parades, noticing how diverse the crowds looked, Paul decided to take hair-roots... er... grass-roots action. He founded a group called "Queers Who Shun Shears." A dozen longhaired men got involved, planning to march in pride parades and start a Web site.

One thing's for certain, though. Trends may come and go, but fetishism marches on. At least one gay fetish Web site has pages of pictures of naked longhairs, right next to pics of foot fanciers and bound-up bottoms. And, as the tough top points out, hair can be a fetishistic sex toy: "There's so much more you can do with long hair than with a skinhead crop. I like to have my feet massaged with hair or to wrap it around my hard-on. Feels great."

Remember, many fashions get recycled; yesterday's castoffs are tomorrow's hot styles. So don't throw away that old hairbrush; like chinos and platform shoes, long, silken, below-the-shoulders hair and bushy Afros may make their reappearance sooner than you think. And in the meantime, Paul and his pals are getting stiff when they see long, beautiful hair.

Simon Sheppard
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Simon's latest book of gay stories is In Deep: And Other Stories a new collection of intense erotic gay fiction. It features a gay vampire story to end all gay vampire stories, a raunchy Western tale that would have John Wayne riding a little snug in his saddle, and an in-your-face and up-your-arse retelling of the story of the Garden of Eden (and this time it is all about Adam and Steve). You can order it online from ShopGay.


 
Raunch fans will also enjoy Kinkorama: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Perversion in which he chronicles a first-person exploration of extreme sex from glory holes and three-ways to stronger scenes like S/M play and leather contests. Simon focuses a clear eye on what makes us squirm, sweat, and shiver, revealing a host of sometimes shocking, often hilarious, but always arousing scenarios of all kinds of gay sex. The book is available direct from ShopGay. For an OutUK interview with Simon click here. Simon is the co-editor of Rough Stuff: Tales of Gay Men, Sex, and Power and editor of Hotter Than Hell. You can e-mail him at OutUK.

 

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