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Paul Smith: Boomer Nights - And Domes

Boomer Nights - And Domes

Comment By Paul Smith

The other night we were sitting on a porch at another 60th birthday. These days the Big One is almost as common as that other rite of passage, funerals. It's as if we party one minute and exit the next. On this warm night the other hallmark of our age was that we were sitting. In another room '60s rock beckoned, reminding us that once, it was only the old folks who sat and watched while we danced…

We began chatting to a shy woman, moderate in dress, her every viewpoint tailored the same way. But not long after we met, she turned to the shaven-headed boomers standing in a group next to us and scowled.

'I'm just so over bald men" she said shaking her head. Coming from her it was as if she had just screamed.

Um… I was bald.

"Yes but not shaven" she said.

No- Nature got there first.

"Once I thought it was so cool you know. Now look at them - they're everywhere".

She was right. All around us boomer domes gleamed here and there in the strobe lights. Was it one last fashion fling? Or in this their late summer, was it a follicular escape from looking… old? It's fashionable - yet not. In a room full of shining heads, might not the few baldies be the next trend…?

When it comes to hair, the boomers all around us know all about it. They - we - graduated from short-back and sides which, appropriately enough in an agricultural society, mimicked shorn sheep. When rock and roll arrived we dared to get crew cuts. We fashioned Elvis pompadours, kiss curls and Brylcreamed Ducks' Arses . And from then it was an easy transition to Beatle mop tops and, as the counter-culture went mainstream, shoulder length hair. Was Hair the musical the highpoint of this generation's preening? For not long after, perhaps between marriages, children divorces and jobs, hair thinned or disappeared. And then… a reprieve from rappers.

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But that was years ago. The woman on the porch may be right. The only problem with so many shaven heads is not that they're out of style - it's that they resemble that terminal fashion - skulls.


Paul Smith is a journalist, author and founder of the website, www.kiwiboomers.co.nz .

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