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Long Hair on Men: Dangerous and Powerful

Long hair … when I was growing up in a white Catholic suburb where moms stayed home, produced multitudes of children, and hung up sheets outside on clotheslines, in the late sixties and early seventies, long hair on men was considered almost evil, a symbol of danger and rebellion. You know, those dangerous hippies downtown with their sex and drugs and rock 'n roll. 

Now, according to one book written long ago in the nineteenth century, now incredibly relevant given the state of our nation, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, devotes a whole chapter to the influence of politics and religion on the hair and the beard. 
 

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds book cover

St. Paul's dictum, meant to be only for local consumption and not a universal maxim, “that long hair was a shame unto a man,” was interpreted literally, especially in the days when church and state were not separate. 

Even before the theocratic ideal of the Christendom, the powerful often dictated men's hair length. For example, Alexander the Great though that beards of his soldiers “afforded convenient handles” for an enemy to grab, as preparation for decapitation. Thus, he ordered everyone in his army to shave. 

Yet, especially in the early Middle Ages (or Dark Ages), long hair was symbolic of royalty or sovereignty in Europe. In France, only the royal family could enjoy long, curled hair. Yet the nobles did not want to be viewed as inferior, imitated this style, and also added long beards. The great Charlemagne sported long hair and a beard, but after the ravages of the Vikings and the political and social chaos that ensured after Charlemagne's death, the nobles then kept their hair short. In contrast, the serfs kept their locks and beards long as perhaps a way of less than subtle defiance. 
Charlemagne


This flip-flop continued for centuries. Of course many famous churchmen, such as the famed St. Anselm of Canterbury, were virulently against long hair on men. King Henry I of England defied him by wearing ringlets. Much later in England, during the Civil War between the Roundheads (Puritans and Independents) and Cavaliers (Monarchists), hair became a dividing factor, and not just physically. 
 

Roundhead and Cavalier

The Puritans though all manner of vice lurked in the long tresses of the monarchists (this long tresses later became wigs, and legal authorities in England still wear a variant of these wigs when hearing cases), while the monarchists accused the short-haired Puritans of intellectual and moral sterility. According to MacKay, “the more abundant the hair, the more scant the faith; and the balder the head, the more sincere the piety.” Well, I guess those short-haired macho muscular Christian Mormon missionary guys are closer to God, but then why is Jesus usually depicted with long hair

Given the tendency toward fascism unfortunately evident as we approach the second decade of the 21st century, I hope no dictator decides, like the King of Bavaria, to ban moustaches, or more recently, that dreadful North Korean beast who ordered that men in his domain could only have their cut in a limited number of ways. The reasons for both these directives are obscure. 
 

North Korean approved haircuts

The fascination with hair clearly never loses its intensity. Women's hair has always been hidden or even eliminated in some patriarchal systems because of its association with sexual power; it's interesting to see that men's hair has also suffered restrictions as well for reasons associated with power dynamics. Whatever or however hair fashions change, let's face it, the hair styling and shaving supplies businesses will always benefit! 

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"Are You Jewish by Hospitalization?" The Origins of Circumcision

 

I am not Jewish by birth (I was by marriage, rather, but that's a long story), but Jewish by hospitalization. During the time period I was born, in the United States, the majority of Gentile baby boys went under the knife, supposedly for hygienic reasons. 


(And unlike Jewish baby boys, I wasn't the focus of a big bris party with tons of deli. Not that I would have remembered anyway. Oh well...) 
 

Rabi eating

Why even circumcise? There's a clear directive in Genesis 17; all male descendants of Abraham on the eight day after birth, require foreskin removal. Thus both Jews and Muslims follow the practice, Muslims because they regard themselves as descendants of Abraham through his first son, Ishmael. 

But though this text, from a source in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) called the “P” or “Priestly” source that concerns itself primarily with rituals and explanations for their origins and practices, seems to imply that the practice began with the ancient Israelites, it actually did not. 

Many of the nations who bordered on Israel practiced it, including the Egyptians, the Moabites, and the Ammonites. The Philistines did not practice it (Judges 14:3 and I Samuel 17:26). Thus, one of the most famous Philistines, the nine-foot tall Goliath, most probably sported a huge uncut cock. 

big uncut cock


The Egyptians waited until puberty to perform the ritual; in that culture and in many other cultures, it was a rite of passage for young men. In Genesis 34, after the rape of their sister Dinah by a Canaanite prince, Jacob's sons insist he be circumcised before he can marry her. (Yes, this story is in the Bible. It's quite shocking on many levels. Check it out.

Based on the Bible, it's not clear if the Israelites originally performed the ritual at puberty; the “P” sources that claim it should be done on infants are rather late. 

 

Before/AFter Circumcision illustration


Some Jewish athletes around the time of the Maccabees (2nd century B.C.E.), actually underwent an incredibly painful procedure to surgically create a foreskin in order to participate in Greek competitions, which meant they would no longer be Jewish. 

St. Paul in Romans 4:1-12, writing a few decades after the life and death of Jesus (a Jew, and thus he was circumcised; see Luke 2:21), claims that Christians don't need to be circumcised like Jews, as their salvation is not contingent on being physically born of a certain people. 

By the way, someone supposedly saved Jesus' foreskin. It is called the Holy Prepuce. (Ew … ) 

 

Painting: Circumcision of Jesus

Yet, as I mentioned above, circumcision became a mainstream medical practice in the United States and in the United Kingdom, especially in the middle twentieth century. Some reasons included: a fear that uncircumcised men would more easily spread venereal disease; the view of childbirth and anything associated with it (including the baby) as the object of a sterile medical procedure that should only occur in a hospital; and a deep-rooted hostility to masturbation (not that being cut precludes one from wanking off). 


Since the 1970s, doctors in the United States have come to realize that removing the foreskin on baby boys is unnecessary, potentially harmful, and possibly unethical, unless some medical emergency or specific condition requires it. 

Check out our titles that feature famous cut and uncut cocks. Cut or uncut, the cock is still a cock. 

 

uncut cock and cut cock

 

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Fun Dick Myths, Such as the Mystery of the Disembodied Penis

 

 

Chronos Castrating Uranus

In Greek mythology, Chronos, son of the god Uranus (essentially means “heaven” in Greek), castrated his father and threw his dick into the sea. Aphrodite, goddess of love, rose from the sea where Uranus's penis had fertilized the waters. So much for heavenly love, or filial love, for that matter. It's all about sex and power. 

In ancient Egyptian mythology, Typhon (also known as Seth, god of chaos) slew Osiris (dismembering him) and kept his dick as a souvenir.. To honor Osiris, his wife Isis mandated that the phallus be an object for worship. (Osiris did get put back together again. I wonder if they found the dick.) 

 

Typhon, Egyptian God

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