It’s three weeks since his arrest but Ismail Halou still has streaks of purple bruising on the soles of his feet. The 22 year-old was filling cars at his family’s petrol station in Gaza City at 5pm on April 4th when a black jeep pulled into the forecourt, plain-clothed police stepped out and ordered him into the car. He was blindfolded and driven to the nearest police station.
“I could hear the screams of people being beaten in the rooms next to me. Two men held my legs down and tied them together on a wooden board then they beat the soles of my feet with a plastic rod. They beat me for at least five minutes. I was crying and screaming with agony. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” Mr Halou recalls.
It was only after the beating that police officers set to work trying to shave off the one-inch fin of gelled hair that was the cause of his arrest.
“At no point did they tell me why they had arrested me. I found out from neighbours when I got home that it was because of my hair,” Mr Halou explains, running a hand over the fuzzy regrowth on his head. He could not walk for three days after his release.
Police in Gaza, a Palestinian coastal enclave run by Islamist faction Hamas, have arrested at least 41 men on charges of immodesty this April.
Most of them were beaten, all of them had their heads forcibly shaven. Some were shaven because their haircuts that were deemed culturally inappropriate, others because their trousers were either too low-slung or too fitted. In at least two cases, police also cut-up jeans deemed too tight.
Got to keep that hair dry!
Graham Wake is hardly looking at me but one glance is enough. “I could pay about £75 to £100 if you had a pixie cut,” he says briskly. “If you went for a short bob I’d give you £40.” It’s not often you get paid for a haircut, but Wake’s business, Bloomsbury Wigs, now relies solely on hair sourced from the heads of women in the UK. Each week 30-40 envelopes stuffed with ponytails arrive at his office. Every day, one or two women visit to have their hair valued, cut off, and restyled. Some are bored with long hair, others need the money, and a few are raising money for charity.
Wake says he prefers paying a fair price to women in the UK to buying hair from agents, and that 90% of the coils piled into the transparent plastic boxes that surround him are used to create wigs for people who have lost their hair. The rest are for hair extensions, which is what my locks could become. “If your hair was any curlier, we couldn’t take it,” he says. “It would just matt after a while, but as it is I could use it.”
It feels faintly embarrassing to be discussing the monetary value of something as personal as my hair. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised at myself; women’s hair has always been a contentious issue. From orthodox Jews, Muslims, and nuns covering it for modesty, to a badge of femininity and beauty in fairytales such as Rapunzel, hair has always exerted a powerful metaphorical pull. Even in today’s more secular world it acts as a lightning rod for our attitudes to women: something US gymnast Gabby Douglas discovered when her gold medal win at the Olympics was overshadowed by a row over whether her messy ponytail reflected badly on the black community. Miley Cyrus’s decision to cut her hair short in the summer was taken as a sign that another teen pop star’s life was spiralling out of control, much like Britney Spears in 2007.
Today, hair is more than just a symbol: it is big business. From India to Peru, the human hair trade has spread across the globe, and it has the UK in its grasp. Last year HM Revenue and Customs recorded more than £38m worth of hair (human, with some mixed human and animal) entering the country, making the UK the third biggest importer of human hair in the world.
Men: Do you want to project an aura of confidence, strength and overall masculinity? You could experiment with testosterone supplements, or study the swagger of Don Draper during a Mad Men marathon.
Or you could just shave your head.
Three newly published studies “provide consistent evidence that a shaved scalp is associated with dominance,” according to Albert Mannes of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, he reports that, at least in U.S. culture, a lack of hair connotes a forceful, assertive personality.
Guys opt for the “shaved style” because “it looks sharp and intimidating,” according to a style columnist for the Ask Men website. While “sharp” is in the eye of the beholder, Mannes’ research suggests “intimidating” is right on the mark.
In his first experiment, photos of 25 men enrolled in a university’s MBA program were evaluated by a panel of 59 students. Each man wore a similar dark suit and tie, but 10 had shaved heads; the others wore their hair at varying lengths. The bald men were judged as more powerful, influential, and authoritative than their combed counterparts.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be named. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican
ABC News’ Huma Khan and Jennifer Wlach report:
Donald Trump’s top political adviser told ABC News he’s speaking to “high-level political operatives” to explore a third-party presidential bid on behalf of the real estate mogul, in a sign that Trump may not quite be done with the 2012 presidential race just yet.
“I can confirm that over the past two weeks I have spoken with many high-level political operatives, campaign managers, finance directors — some of whom I have spoken to in the past. Most are new people from all over the country,” said Michael Cohen, executive vice president at the Trump Organization and special counsel to the reality-TV star.
“Until the time Mr. Trump decides to either endorse a candidate or run himself, I am exploring on his behalf the possibilities of ensuring Mr. Trump appears on the ballot in all states, and to develop a team of professionals who could ensure a potential victory,” Cohen added.
Back in March, Cohen met with Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn and 18 political operatives, activists and fundraisers in Iowa, but Trump decided not to run.
Trump, 65, himself indicated this weekend that he might pursue a third-party run.
Why does he need “financiers,” doesn’t he have enough money to bankroll his own campaign?
The Alternative Hair Show, currently showing in Moscow, raises money for people with leukemia and lymphoma.
Bryson Beirne spends most of his Saturdays walking the sidelines, his helmet off.
He’s easy to spot.
The Arizona Wildcats’ second-string quarterback sports a full, thick Afro - and deep roots.
Beirne’s hair is a tribute to his deceased great-grandmother, Ka Hale Lehua.
Beirne (pronounced “Bernie”) got his last haircut on Dec. 23, the day before the Wildcats traveled to San Diego to prepare for their Holiday Bowl game against Nebraska. He will get it cut again Dec. 3, the day after Arizona’s regular-season finale against Arizona State.
Lehua, who Beirne called “Tutu” - Hawaiian for grandmother - died two years ago at age 98.
Shortly after, Beirne, 21, swore to honor his Hawaiian roots. The 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound junior was born and raised in Honolulu; his great-grandmother lived one valley over, in Liliha.
“I made a promise that, one day, I’d do something to rebel for her,” Beirne said. “She never had a chance to exercise her culture and speak freely about who she was, what she was.
“So I’m rebelling.”
“I do it,” he said, “for my Tutu.”