Why Long Hair?

My revolutionary rant for today – why I have long hair. This is a short talk about my own choice for keeping my hair long, my cultural and religious reasons, but above all my affirmation of individual freedom against collectivist control in its various forms.

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9 Responses to Why Long Hair?

  1. Rev. Deacon William Patrick Baumgarth says:

    Thank you. The Lord supposedly said to St. jerome, “You are not a Christian, but a Ciceronian.” Today, perhaps, he might say to us, “You are not Christians, but lockstep Hobbesians”. Conformity: the Churches voluntarily shut themselves up, even from celebrating the Paschal mystery. How easy it will be to shut them down under any pretense in the future.
    Ad multos annos, mon bon Pere.
    Christos anesti!
    Protodeacon Patriclk

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    A good overview and apologia (in the proper sense)!

    There must be a (popular) scholarly ‘literature’ including general histories of men’s hair, but I cannot think of how to find anything online!* I would greatly enjoy knowing more about the various combinations of long, short, bearded, and clean-shaven, down the ages.

    The 1912 old Catholic Encyclopedia article on “Tonsure” includes, “St. Jerome (in Ezech., xliv) disapproves of clerics shaving their heads.” I haven’t looked up the Latin of that, but suppose it has to do with 44:20, which seems both to take up, and vary, Leviticus 21:5. (There seem to be interesting differences between the Masoretic and the Vulgate on the one hand, and the Septuagint on the other, in Ezekiel 44:20…)

    I keep wondering about my beard and moustache, and should I be washing them regularly and repeatedly throughout the day, but (to my surprise) have not encountered clear attention to facial hair in all the discussions of viral loads and fomites and ‘don’t touch your face’!

    *In my latest, quick attempt just now, I did encounter a 2015 monograph by Major Aaron Baty at the School of Advanced Military Studies entitled “Baseball Caps and Beards: The Perception of US Special Forces by Conventional Forces and Its Impact on Interdependence” – !

    • This Wikipedia article is interesting and discusses long hair on both men and women. However there are several sections of particular interest from a cultural / historical point of view and then religious questions in various traditions is discussed. The famous 2 verses of St Paul are mentioned for Christianity but, oddly, nothing about Eastern Orthodoxy in which monks wear their hair long (an echo of the Old Testament Nazarite Vow) as do some parish priests.

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Thank you! (I started imagining possible book titles with ‘History’ in them to search (unsuccessfully) in the Internet Archive, rather than (first, or also) trying a sensibly broader approach!) Yes, the Eastern Orthodox approach is one of the things I’ve been wondering about, where monks, but also parish (and diocesan?) clergy are involved – and, for that matter, other Eastern Churches, in communion with the Holy See or not… Thank you for illuminating that Nazarite ‘dimension’!

    • Regarding beards and the pandemic, there are different opinions. I am clean shaven myself, but it seems only of relevance when we wear FFP2 masks to filter the air we breathe in. I would say that a beard makes no difference when you wear a medical mask to protect other people against you in the hypothesis that you might be infected with or without symptoms. According to that reasoning, if everyone wears a mask, they are protecting you as you are protecting them. The important thing is to avoid touching your face until you get home, when you can wash both your hands and face when you take the mask off. All that will depend on how close you get to people, for example in a shop or on public transport. I do think that beards will need more care – as does hair. Fortunately, I don’t go out very often at present and get near people in a shop for example.

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Thank you! That seems sensible! (I’ve been wondering if there are, e.g., bearded surgeons – if a mask has to fit snugly, I assume beards – and some moustaches – must be problematical.)

      • What I described were two types of masks. One with a sufficiently fine filter to stop microorganisms – protects the wearer if there is a hermetic seal between the mask and the wearer’s face. The other made of cloth or special paper that acts like a nappy (diaper) and prevents virus-laden droplets being coughed, sneezed or expelled with speech / shouting / singing by an infected person from reaching a healthy person. I think that in the second type of mask, like what surgeons wear to protect the patient from being infected by their breath, the wearer can have a beard. It does not have to be sealed around the edges. At least that is what I read and what seems to make sense.

        This diagram is often seen, but the percentages of effectiveness might be off:


  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I saw an AP story yesterday saying that Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden and Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke wrote a joint letter to St. Nicholas cautioning him to wear a face mask while delivering gifts but apparently not offering strictures with respect to his copious beard and mustache.

    Meanwhile, I am enjoying Margery Allingham’s detective novel, Mystery Mile (1930), where the rector of the village giving its name to the title, Swithin Cush, is described upon his introduction in chapter 3 as having long white hair, neatly trimmed by a friendly parishioner.

    • The nice thing about head hair is that it doesn’t get in the way of the mask. I’m lucky to have only to wear the mask for short periods (eg. shopping) because I work at home and live in the country where I don’t get close to people.

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