1969 – Student Lets Hair Down in Letter to Advice Column

Published 06.10.2013


March 21, 1969, Spotlight, page 3Mullets to mohawks, box cuts to braids. Whatever your hairstyle (or style in general), society has a way of passing judgment ... and even parents can find ways to disapprove of your self-expression. In the "Dear Agnes" column of the March 21, 1969, Spotlight newspaper, a frustrated Williamsport Area Community College student named Harry Brown humorously shared the woes of having long hair at a time when it was viewed as improper for men. Every time Harry would make the 220- mile trip home to Pittsburgh, he was greeted by parents who questioned him about a haircut. His mother was embarrassed by his long coif after an encounter with a grocery clerk, who told her, echoing a song of the mid-'60s, "Mrs. Brown, you've got a lovely daughter." Harry's father would spell his son's name as "Hairy" to poke fun at his appearance. Finding the bright side, even in irritation, Harry joked about the disadvantages and advantages of having long hair: describing how it got twirled around his fork while eating spaghetti, how it became a convenient pillow for uncomfortable chairs, and how he had to tuck it in his pocket or belt while dancing. Check out the full story at the Madigan Library's online newspaper archive and see the columnist's witty response to Harry's dilemma.