As my loyal readers know, like the greasers in The Outsiders, I rarely bother to get a haircut.

Aside: And like Dally, I don’t go for the hair grease either. Everybody misses that about Dally: “…he didn’t like haircuts or hair oil either, so his hair…” I’m quoting from memory, but I think that’s close enough. Everybody assumes he greases it up like the rest, but no. He’s also a towhead, not jet black like Matt Dillon.

It’s always an epic day at school when I finally do bust with the annual or semi-annual shearing. No I haven’t done that yet this year, so I’m getting pretty shaggy.

But not as shaggy as I once was, when I started student teaching back in the day.

I have this thing about haircuts. I don’t like them, never have. I didn’t like getting clipped by my dad, I didn’t like going to the barber shop, I don’t like going to the salon. I always had to stuff my hair up into my headgear for wrestling, back in the day. I was a long hair (rock and roll stylie – middle of the back) for many years in the 80?s. I even did my first student teaching with hair like that. (Parent conferences were a beauty; parents with whom I had had fine phone conversations reacted quite differently sometimes when meeting me in person. I like to tell those stories during The Outsiders.)

My wife has cut me now and then, but after a slip of the clip once, she has begged off. So now I’m down to about two haircuts a year, very unevenly spaced. I used to try to time one of them while we were in the middle of reading The Outsiders, and I would transform from a greaser to a Soc overnight. But these days, between my laziness and my tonsurephobia, I really lagged on this one: this is the first since last April.

As most of you know, middle-schoolers are incredibly fascinated with any changes in your looks or clothing. Or seeing you outside of school. It’s like they are so surprised you have a life.

“I saw you downtown last night.”

“OMG! I exist outside of school?”

So I spent most of the day like this:

“OMG! Mr. Coward got a haircut!”

“I got them all cut.”

“OMG, I can’t believe how different you look.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”   (Jan. 2009)

Today I was telling one of my classes that story about being a longhair and the shock of parents seeing me for the first time, and I was pointing to the middle of my back and they all oooohed. And then I spun on my heel and stuck my tongue up under my upper lip, puffing out my lips (try it in front of the mirror and you’ll see what I mean), and sorta shook my head a little. Now I get the laughs and a couple awwws. Mostly laughs.

The one kid blurts out,

“You look like Steven Tyler!”

Ouch. I was going for Mick Jagger.