“OB Time” – “Just Be-ing”, Long Hair, Beards and Tats

by on February 12, 2015 · 15 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Politics

Old Hippie ob time

Originally posted on Feb. 12, 2015

Ye Ol’ OB Hippie Writes  –

This is my almost weekly rant, man, so don’t be a square, gimme some slack, jack, grab some space and chill.

This is another rap session of “OB Time”.

Just Be-Ing

OB Time? You don’t know what that means? OB Time is more than the “hourly pause that refreshes” due to our overhead friendly skies. It means that OBceans are not bothered by any exact minute or hour.  It’s why OB’s Holiday Parade begins at 5 minutes past 5pm and not 5 sharp.

Time is relative, and at times irrelevant. OB Time means we don’t get bothered by the mainstream and establishment requirements of temporal exactness. Nobody cared about the concept of “minutes” until capitalism came into being. Being anxious about minutes takes you away from just “being” – as in “be-ing” – existing for the moment.

Did you ever hear of the “be-in’s” of the 1960s, where thousands of young people would gather in parks, listen to music, smoke dope, dance and just BE? San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park was famous for those.

A central core of the hippie critique of modern life was its refusal to adhere to the “straight world” insistence on everybody being part the rat race – ‘cept Blacks, Mexicans and women. People rushed around all day, every day, and in the process totally ignoring and not appreciating the world around them.  Everybody rushing around, saving for some future date.

The hippies said: “Be here now.” Enjoy life while you can. Live for today. Don’t put off the pleasures of living until you’re too old to really enjoy them. Don’t wait until retirement to grow a beard. Look at the people and your environment with new eyes, with a new sense of appreciation, a new sense of knowing and loving.

Take time out, or at least take a moment and look at things as they really are, and not as they’re supposed to be. Get real, man.

Long Hair and Beards

Speaking about hippies, everybody knows that hippie men had long hair and how long hair in the 1960s and even the 1970s was really a big, big deal. Or, maybe you don’t, but it was, trust me. They even made a Broadway play about hair.

I had long hair for awhile back in the late Sixties and during the Seventies – and I have it now. After I got out of the Army in 1968 and went to college, I started growing my hair. It got long, used hair bands and pony tails. Even during the Army, I got in trouble as I was known as the “company hippie” because my hair was 3/4 inch long and not the required 1/4 inch.

As a civilian I would grow it and then cut it when job prospects were demanding a cleaner, straighter look.

But long hair on men was a statement back then, it meant something. It said – “I don’t care about your establishment rules and I’ll wear my hair the way I want it.” And men wore their longish locks proudly – as in “letting my freak flag fly…”.

And people took shit for their hair. The establishment did not like this flagrant rejection of the straights’ rules. The mass media pumped negative images about hippies out to everyone. And people bought it. I remember one construction job I had where I was threatened by my co-workers that they were going to jump me after work and cut my long hair off with scissors.  Once I wasn’t allowed to cross into Tijuana on a motorcycle because of my flying locks.

We’ll never really know how many people were fired because of their long hair, or not accepted as employees or renters.  But many were. And some even killed. I remember stories back then of hippies hitchhiking through one cowboy state and then never coming out the other end. Cowboys were enemies of hippies back then. I got thrown out of a cowboy bar in Colorado because of my hippie, long hair. (The bar had plenty of old paintings on the walls depicting long-haired cowboys, like Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill Cody.)  I had two hippie-looking friends who were jumped by a bunch of cowboys and miners in that same bar.

Likewise with beards during the  hippie days. The straight society didn’t like them. I was fired once on a construction job because of my beard. The push back against long hair and beards was part of the whole scale persecution of the hippies during that period. I know that the OB Rag has well documented some of this in Ocean Beach (Ed.: check the search bar.)

Young people today may chuckle at the thought, but it was real, dude. There’s enough comedic movies out about those days. But – hey, man, people were fired, lost their jobs or were threatened unless they got out the scissors or razors.

‘Course it was also an instant sign of recognition by other hippies. Long hair on men – and hippie styles and fashion on women and in general – made you instant friends in an un-friendly, straight world.  Much like tats and rings are today, maybe. Back then, there was a lot of solidarity among the young, most of whom were at least appearing to be like hippies. Being a hippie-looking kid was very, very cool. This was when  hitchhiking was accepted and popular.

Now, obviously, in our post-modern world, long hair on men and beards are totally acceptable – as are totally bald heads – anything goes. In fact, certain kinds of beards are definitely coming back in a roaring way, driven by popular reality TV shows.  And I see a lot of old white men with beards – all white now of course. Why didn’t they grow them when they were younger?

Hey, I would like to know any stories, negative or otherwise about any experiences worthy of note about having long hair or beards as a man. Make a comment below or fly me an email, obragblog@gmail.com .

Tattoos

Are tattoos today like the hippie fashions of yesteryear? My woman-partner already has several and she is talking about getting another one for the shoulder that’s bare. There’s some years between us – so she never was a hippie.  The hippies I knew didn’t get tats back then. That’s because we believed our bodies were temples and we didn’t believe in altering our bodies.  Altering our minds, yes, but not our bodies.

But a lot of young people today have them. My daughter has one or 2.  Bossman Mike Hardin was famous for his tats. Take a walk through OB’s Farmers’ Market and check out the local human scenery – you’ll see many tats. And Newport Avenue, the main business drag, has 3 tattoo parlors, I believe. (There’s no bookstores, but hey, we got plenty of bars, restaurants, hair places and tattoo parlors.)

Yet I believe tats are cool too and here’s why.

Part of the hippie rebellion was a rejection of mainstream fashion, goals and values. And importantly, when hippies dressed up with their counter-culture garb, they / we were making a statement that,

hey, I’m an individual, and I don’t fit into your square boxes; I’m a unique person and I reject getting lost in your world of mass consumption, mass marketing, mass this and mass that. By dressing up my hair, my body I’m standing out and am not associating with the straight culture and all its expectations and requirements.

Is this true, boys and girls, about tattoos? Let me know.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Goatskull February 12, 2015 at 11:50 am

NOFX are not big fans of hippies. Well they are but like to pretend they’re not. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy1Hv8CuZ_w

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Dave Rice February 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I was 18 and likely intoxicated when I decided getting a tribal band tattoo would be cool, they were starting to become popular at the time. Three or four years later, so many people had them it became a popular joke punchline. I want my next tattoo to read “dumb tattoo” in Japanese kanji, located right next to my tribal band. I’d then lie to people and tell them it meant “powerful wisdom” or “beautiful strength” or something like that.

I wear a beard because I’m fat and it hides my double chin. Nothing any more special than the tattoo.

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Christo February 12, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.

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rick callejon February 12, 2015 at 4:57 pm

During my teaching career, I was accepted into an SDSU administrative degree program. At our first class meeting, the group of thirty (five males) was addressed by the program director. He informed the entire class that it was best to be clean-shaven as an aspiring principal. He went on with words to the effect of, “After on is established, he may unbutton his shirt and show off his medallion.” I happened to be the lone bearded candidate. He chose not to do the proper thing, which obviously would have been speaking with me individually. So lame…
Btw, this happened in the 21st century.

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Tom Cairns February 12, 2015 at 7:04 pm

The be-ins at Presidio Park and just east of 6th Avenue at Juniper were great–God’s eyes, music, smoke, music. Except when the police did the car gauntlet.

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patty jones February 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm

I say, adorn thy temple. However, whichever way speaks to your spirit.

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Old Hippie February 13, 2015 at 9:30 am

Ahhh, sister … I see your ways now.

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Old Hippie February 13, 2015 at 9:29 am

Hey hippies, gimme some ‘likes’ will ya? Gives me an edge for editordude, heh heh.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page February 13, 2015 at 9:36 am

I remember those days. I was 18 and living in Virginia when I had to fly to Michigan State for an orientation week in August. I had started a sorry looking mustache right after high school, it was barely two months along. I was living with my sister and she pitched an absolute bitch insisting I shave because I would look ridiculous at school. I shaved to shut her up only to find lots of facial hair at school.

In September, I flew to my folks home in Mississippi just before heading off to college. My mom picked me up at the Mobile, Alabama airport and on the drive home told me she couldn’t take me home with my hair “like that” or my dad would bust a gasket. My Dad was ex-military, Navy. My hair was not long, I had only had the summer to grow it a little after high school, where they required a short cut. I decided to be a good son so we stopped in a barber shop in Pascagoula where they lived.

This little old crippled barber came out and walked around me and said in an amazingly contemptuous tone, “I don’t see how you girls let your hair get this way.” Despite explaining what I wanted, the guy buzz cut me . I went to college like that and I was furious. I told my mom that I would never do that again. It came to head with my dad that Christmas and I was told to cut my hair or don’t come home. I said fine, have a nice Christmas and they relented. That ended the problem at home.

It’s hard to believe today what divisive issues a little facial hair or long hair were. I regrew my mustache and have had it ever since and, like Frank, I have kept my hair at varying lengths ever since for different reasons but I like it long. Sometimes, the world changes for the better. That tolerance that all of us 60s kids forced on the establishment eventually grew to include all kinds of differences, sex, race, ethnicity. The world still isn’t perfect but tolerance has improved some.

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Wireless Mike February 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm

When I was in high school in the late 1960s, my hair was short by the standards of the day, and not by my choice. I was being told things like “Having your hair over your ears is the most feminine thing you can do besides growing t*ts” and “The neighbors think I’m raising a g** d*** girl”. To the Depression/Big War generation, it seemed like a person’s gender was determined by the length of their hair, not by their physiology or genetics.

Men’s hair length was a very divisive issue in the late 60s and early 70s. It symbolized the generation gap. It showed a person’s political and social beliefs, and their views on the Vietnam War, which were often divided along generational lines.

I remember a billboard on Rosecrans that read “Beautify America, Get a Haircut” with a picture of a man with long, scruffy hair.

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Wireless Mike February 13, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Here’s a link to a billboard similar to the one I remember:
http://www.altmanphoto.com/get_a_haircut.html

If I remember right, it was near the traffic circle at Rosecrans / Camino del Rio / Frontier Street near Howard Taylor Dodge.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page February 13, 2015 at 4:42 pm

I say “Beautify America, grow your hair long…

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as you can grow it
My hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair

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Goatskull February 14, 2015 at 7:22 am

Boy, all this talk about hippie culture is making me nostalgic for old school British punk rock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oxicw1-7dOw

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling February 15, 2015 at 5:29 am

This article talks about trackers in Vietnam and how their tracking abilities were hampered by cutting their hair.

http://www.sott.net/article/234783-The-Truth-About-Hair-and-Why-Indians-Would-Keep-Their-Hair-Long

Long hair increases one’s senses.

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jettyboy jettyboy February 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head

Reply

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