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CIVILIAN HISTORY OF THE MOHAWK

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CIVILIAN HISTORY OF THE MOHAWK

Elsewhere, in another blog on this same Website, I told "The Secret MILITARY History of the Mohawk." .

But in this blog, I'll recount -- with a scores of historic, seldom-seen Mohawk photos -- the equally fascinating CIVILIAN history.of that daring and incredibly sexy haircut.  

I'll show (with pictures) how, over the decades, it gradually evolved from a humiliating initiation haircut inflicted on countless freshmen, athletic team rookies, and sailors crossing the Equator, to a wildly popular and now widely accepted style leader renowned as the height of "cool."

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CIVILIAN HISTORY OF THE MOHAWK HAIRCUT

 

THE STRANGE, SEXY, CIVILIAN HISTORY OF THE MOHAWK HAIRCUT:  

(I TOLD THE MILITARY HISTORY OF THE MOHAWK ELSEWHERE IN ANOTHER BLOG ON THIS SAME WEB PAGE)   

  • WHEN, HOW & WHY THE MOHAWK WAS INVENTED   

  • HOW IT EVOLVED THROUGH THE DECADES    
  • WHY IT IS THE WORLD'S MOST WILDLY POPULAR HAIRCUT
  • WHAT MAKES IT SO SEXY?
     
  • WILL PEOPLE THINK I’M CRAZY  IF I GET ONE? 

FROM INDIAN WARRIOR HAIRCUT . . . TO INITIATION HAIRCUT . . . TO WORLD WAR TWO PARATROOPER MOHAWK . . . TO PUNK ROCK MOHAWK . . . AND FINALLY TO WIDESPREAD ACCEPTANCE AND POPULARITY AS THE COOLEST, MOST DARING HAIRCUT IN AMERICA.

 

THE WORLD'S LARGEST COLLECTION OF MOHAWK PHOTOS

FOOTBALL MOHAWKS, OTHER SPORTS MOHAWKS, TEAM-BONDING MOHAWKS, INDIAN MOHAWKS, PUNK MOHAWKS, OFFICE MOHAWKS, MILITARY MOHAWKS, TOUGH MUDDER MOHAWKS, INITIATION MOHAWKS, SHELLBACK MOHAWKS,  FRESHMAN HAZING MOHAWKS, CELEBRITY MOHAWKS, BOY SCOUT MOHAWKS, CONSERVATIVE MOHAWKS FOR BUSINESS, NFL ROOKIE MOHAWKS, MUSICIAN MOHAWKS, LOST-BET MOHAWKS, MOHAWK CHALLENGES, CHURCH MOHAWKS, MOTORCYCLE MOHAWKS, WRESTLING "HAIR MATCH" MOHAWKS, "BIG BROTHER" TV MOHAWKS, MOHAWKS FOR FREE ADMISSION TO SPORTS EVENTS, MOHAWKS TO WIN FREE MERCHANDISE -- AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, MOHAWKS JUST FOR THE SHEER EXCITEMENT OF DARING TO WEAR ONE.

DO YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO SUBMIT TO THE CLIPPERS?  THIS GUY DOES.

THIS BLOG IS A BIG SHOUT-OUT . . . A LOUD HURRAH . . . TO ALL THE GUYS WITH GUTS ENOUGH TO WEAR A MOHAWK.

It takes a real macho man to flaunt a Mohawk . . . to be a man whose daring haircut says "I love Mohawks, and I don't give a damn what anyone else thinks."  

If you've got the guts to wear it, then you deserve three cheers for your courage. This blog is designed to salute you -- and to explain why the rest of us admire your guts..  Take a victory lap, You've earned it with your Mohawk, 

If your photo is in this blog, then you're a hero to all us dudes who love Mohawks. Your example has given the rest of us courage to submit to the clippers. Your scalp lock has helped to make the world safe for Mohawk haircuts.  

THE MOHAWK HAIRCUT WAS INVENTED CENTURIES AGO BY NATIVE AMERICAN WARRIORS -- who wore the bristly tuft atop their bald heads as the proud emblem of an Indian fighter.  Obviously everyone knows that by now.


BUT WHO WAS THE FIRST WHITE MAN IN AMERICA TO EVER WEAR A MOHAWK -- ALMOST 250 YEARS AGO?  He's depicted with his Mohawk in this old excerpt from a Classic Comics issue back in the early 1940s.  His name will astound you.  You already know his name -- but you did NOT know that he ever wore a Mohawk haircut.  Keep reading, and I'll tell you his name -- and the fascinating story behind his haircut -- a little later in this blog.


AND WHO WAS THE FIRST MODERN AMERICAN WHITE MAN TO HAVE HIS HEAD SHAVED INTO A MOHAWK?  It very likely was this Dartmouth College student, Bill Abrams, whose shocking photo appeared three-quarters of a century ago in the February 2, 1942, issue of Life Magazine.

Because the Dartmouth Indian was the school's mascot at the time, young Abrams thought the eye-catching Indian haircut would be a great way to celebrate the school's annual Winter Festival.

And history was born, A couple of Abrams' classmates, Dick Smith and Rich Morgan, snapped a photo of that historic moment and mailed it to Life Magazine's "Pictures to the Editor" section. They were very likely the ones who took a pair of old-fashioned manual hair clippers and a razor to Abrams' head.

 So far as my research has been able to determine, this was probably the first time a photograph of a white man wearing a Mohawk ever appeared in any publication anywhere.

Two years later, another much more famous photograph in the Army newspaper "Stars & Stripes" showed American paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division wearing eye-catching Mohawk haircuts as they parachuted behind Nazi lines in the D-Day Invasion of June 6, 1944.  That historic photograph of the Mohawked paratroopers popularized that daring haircut around the world -- and one of the world's most enduring fads was off and running.

But I strongly suspect those paratroopers had seen that Life Magazine photo of young Abrams and his stunning haircut two years earlier and probably copied the idea from him -- even though one of the paratroopers said his Native American mother suggested they wear Mohawks into combat.  Maybe the mother saw that Life Magazine picture and thought it was a wonderful idea for her soldier son.  Hell yes!!!

The Mohawked Dartmouth student who may have inspired the 101st Airborne Division very likely served in the Army alongside them -- because he was almost certainly drafted when he graduated from Dartmouth on almost the same day those paratroopers who copied his haircut were parachuting into Hell.

For a much more detailed history of the military Mohawk -- with numerous historic photos of Mohawked American soldiers during all the nation's wars beginning with World War Two -- see my other blog on this same Web page titled "The Military History of the Mohawk."  But in this article, I'll deal mainly with the civilian history of the haircut.

MOHAWK PRIDE!!!

One admiring fan of the Mohawk put it this way:  "There is something about a Mohawk that catches the eye anytime, anywhere.  And people with guts enough to wear a Mohawk usually have a cool way of living that reflects in their hairstyle as well."  

That's the best analysis I've ever seen anywhere of the Mohawk's strange, secret appeal -- the reason every guy wants to get Mohawked at least once in his life.

(Yes, that's actor Josh Duhamel on the right, with one of the all-time great Mohawks. For the great story of Josh getting Mohawked, keep reading.) 

HEAD SHAVING:

Because, after all, a Mohawk is just one form of head-shaving, therefore this blog, in recounting the history of the Mohawk, will -- of necessity -- have to also discuss in passing some other types of head-shaving that have played a role in the development and rapidly growing popularity of the Mohawk.  

Why?  Because when head-shaving became more popular, more playful, more fun, and more widely accepted during the past two decades, that's precisely what paved the way for the widespread acceptance of Mohawks.  

If a fully shaved head was now perfectly acceptable for men -- and it is indeed -- then so too was a partially shaved head. 

Obviously a Mohawk is just a head shave with a small tuft of hair left intact, right?  So if anybody objects to head shaving (not many do anymore), then they should be much happier if you leave at least some of your hair intact.  Right?  Voila!  The Mohawk gains acceptance.

So you can thank the popularity of shaved heads for the fact that you can now wear your Mohawk almost anywhere, including at many workplace settings.


Largely missing from the Internet elsewhere is the answer to the single biggest question that every guy asks himself when he’s trying to decide whether to have his head shaved into a Mohawk: 

 

“What will people think?  Will they think I’m crazy?”  



Well, actually……..no, they won’t.   Not these days.  

Maybe 25 years ago, but not now.

At least not as long as it’s a fairly conservative version of the Mohawk . . . like for example the one on the right.  

What will people think?  They'll probably be astounded to discover that you've got a lot more guts than they ever suspected you had -- and they'll admire the hell out of you for that.  They'll wish they had the balls to do it.


Take a look at the photos below of the amazingly broad spectrum of highly respected American icons, celebrities and athletes sporting Mohawks -- and loving it.  Sports heroes in almost every sport from football to hockey,lacrosse, basketball, swimming,  wrestling, baseball, you name it . . . plus movie stars, military heroes, rock stars, classical musicians, gospel singers, music ministers at fundamentalist churches, journalists, entire high school football teams -- and tens of thousands of upstanding, responsible, everyday Americans. Everybody wants a Mohawk!!!   

As the New York Times reported, the Mohawk has finally -- at long last -- achieved respectability and acceptance . . . even if, thankfully,  it still has the delightful ability to shock.


THIS BLOG VIEWS MOHAWKS FROM THE MALE
STANDPOINT.
 Since I'm a guy, I'm only able to view the world's greatest haircut from a male perspective.  I also love Mohawks on women -- they can be sexy as hell.  But I'll have to leave it to the women to deal with the female perspective.

WHEN i FIRST GOT MOHAWKED, I THOUGHT PEOPLE WOULD THINK I WAS CRAZY.   Instead, I was astounded – flabbergasted -- when exactly the opposite turned out to be true.  Most people absolutely loved it.  Even the very types of socially conservative people I had expected to disapprove.  .    


Now my Mohawk is so popular, I can’t get rid of it, because so many people in all walks of life want me to keep it.  Go figure.

 

I can tell you from my experience that – surprise -- most people will be jealous as hell and will tell you quite frankly that they wish they had balls enough to get Mohawked like you.  That’s what makes it so much fun…..because you have courage enough to do what 90% of the other guys secretly wish they had the courage to do. 

 

So here’s the one place to get the answer to that big question you’re asking:  “How will people react if I suddenly show up, looking like an Indian warrior?” 

Answer:  They'll love it!!!  They'll ask you why you waited so damn long.  

THE EIGHT STAGES OF GETTING MOHAWED

 

Someone elsewhere on the Internet cleverly posted what they termed “The Three Stages of Getting Mohawked.”  I’ve expanded it here into eight stages:

 

  1. Do you have the cojones to wear a Mohawk?  Do you mind being stared at?  Better yet, will you actually enjoy being stared at for your shaved head?  (Yes, believe it or not, it’s actually lots of fun.)  Count on one thing:  Your partially shaved head will definitely be the center of attention wherever you go.  If you can’t enjoy that, then better keep your hair.  

  2. Decide which type of Mohawk you like.  Wide or narrow?  Tall or short?  Stiff or soft?    Tousled (like this guy's scalp lock) or standing at attention? 








    Uniform width front-to-back?  Or narrowed down slightly at the back near the neckline and squared off (like this guy)?  NEVER BRING IT TO A SHARP POINT IN THE BACK!!!  You can taper it slightly at the back -- as long as you end the taper in a blunt end just above your neck . . . like this guy's. .  

    Pointed on top? . . . or flattened on top? Most artists depict Indian warriors with the scalp lock cut flat on top . . . sort of a flattop Mohawk . . . and most athletes think it looks more masculine that way.   

    Check out more than a hundred Mohawk photos below . . . and decide which type of Mohawk you like best.

  3. Decide who you want to shave your head.   Your best friend?  A barber?  Your girl friend?  Your athletic team?

    It should be someone who'll enjoy sharing the exciting experience with you -- a once in a lifetime experience. 












  4. Decide how you’ll explain your shocking transformation to friends and people at work.  You lost a bet?  You're getting ready to run tomorrow's "Tough Mudder" obstacle race where Mohawks are strongly encouraged? (see Tough Mudder Mohawk photos below.)    The best explanation is the honest answer:  “I love Mohawks.  Always wanted one.   I decided to get one because I like it."




  5. Arrange for a friend to shoot video of your head shaving.  It’s going to be one of the most exciting, things you ever do, so be sure to preserve the experience for posterity.  .   Break out the beer and turn it into a fun-filled shaving party.












  6. Take a deep breath.  Bite the bullet and submit to the clippers.   Enjoy the hell out of the experience.  You might as well, because you’re going to be stuck with that shaved head for awhile.    It grows back at a rate of half an inch per month.






  7. Now, Reach up & Feel it!!!   There's no experience to compare with the first time you reach up and touch that daring, bristly tuft protruding from the middle of your otherwise egg bald head.  You'll think it's one of the sexiest things you've ever touched. And so will your girl friend.  She won't be able to keep her hands off your Indian warrior scalp lock..









    Go ahead girls. Feel perfectly free to run your fingers through your boy friend's freshly shaved scalp lock.  Sexy, eh?      Yep, Mohawks just cry out for someone to touch them.  And you can tell from the blissful look on the face of this newly Mohawked dude that he loves it when you play with his scalp lock.  Great foreplay!!!  Now get a room . . . quick!!!










    Afterward . . . flaunt it!!!
       Wear it with pride!!!  Relish the shocked looks on people’s faces when they see your daring haircut. You'll find what tens of thousands of other Mohawked dudes have discovered -- that shocking people is one of the most fun things about wearing an Indian warrior scalp lock.








Above all -- never, EVER wimp out and cover up your scalp lock with a hat.   Part of the unwritten code shared by the fraternity of Mohawked guys is that they always let people see their Mohawk wherever they go . . . even in formal situations where you know some people may be shocked.  Be proud of that scalp lock.  Show it off!!!


Only one excuse for covering up your Mohawk with a hat – to keep from getting badly sunburned when you’re outside for extended periods. 


THANK THE NATIVE AMERICANS FOR SHARING THEIR  GREAT HAIRCUT.  It's to the everlasting credit of our good friends, the Native Americans, that they've been amazingly generous in sharing their haircut with the entire world.  Like this genuine Mohawk Indian, Billy Two Rivers, who proudly wore the eye-catching haircut as a well-known professional wrestler from the 1950s through the 1970s.  He later became a well-known leader of the Mohawk tribe.  

Native Americans like Two Rivers have been amazingly tolerant of all us non-Indians who admire their haircut so much we want to wear it too.    

Can you think of any other minority group that has half the world just dying to look exactly like them?   

I can almost promise you that when you shock everyone by showing up with a bristly tuft of hair atop your shaven head, you very likely won't hear a single negative comment.  

Instead, over and over again, people will stop you on the street to say:  "Dude, I really like your Mohawk."

"No, I mean I really, really, really  like it!!!  Awesome!!!"  I know because that's what they say to me.

THE LITTLE KNOWN HISTORY OF THE MOHAWK, DATING BACK 20 TO 33 CENTURIES AGO:

Mohawks were around 33 centuries ago?  Yup.  Here's the most complete, detailed history of the Mohawk haircut ever written . . . ANYWHERE.  It's a story nobody else has told.  You won't read it anywhere but here.

 

I'll trace the Mohawk's gradual evolution as a cherished part of genuine Americana -- perfected here by Native American tribes.

One guy told me:  "I vividly remember the very first time I ever saw a Mohawk haircut.  It was on an Indian warrior in this old Classic Comics book (shown here on the left) way back in the 1940s.  I was 12 years old, and I thought it was the sexiest haircut I had ever seen -- and I knew from that moment that someday, as a white guy, I was determined to have a haircut just like it.   

I'll trace the origin of the Mohawk even further back . . . back 33 centuries to the ancient Trojan warriors.  

Here's a modern reconstruction of a Trojan war helmet.  The helmet's so-called "crest" (the Mohawk portion) was made of horsehair.

Notice that the ancient Trojans not only invented the Mohawk -- they apparently also invented the "Mohawk mullet."  

Later, 27 Centuries ago, the ancient Spartan warriors had similar "Mohawk mullets" on their helmets.  

Later still -- 20 Centuries ago -- the Roman Legionnaires went into battle with Mohawks on stilts atop their helmets.  

Roman Centurions also wore Mohawks on their helmets.    



So all those warrior helmets from several different ancient civilizations prove conclusively that the Mohawk isn't something dreamed up by 1970s punk rockers just to piss off their parents and uptight high school principals.  Nope.  .  The Mohawk has been around almost since the dawn of civilization.  

It's one of the oldest fashion statements known to man.

 

The fact that centuries later, Native American warriors independently adopted a strikingly similar strip of hair left atop their otherwise shaven heads -- without any possible way of knowing about the earlier Spartan, Trojan, and Roman Legionnaire helmets -- provides strong proof that there is something basically inherent in a narrow strip of hair atop an otherwise shaven head that powerfully symbolizes a warrior . . . as the cage fighter below demonstrates.

But the REAL origin of the Mohawk haircut -- even before the ancient Spartan soldiers and the Indian warriors -- was, quite  obviously, the animal world.

The number of animals -- especially birds -- wearing Mohawks is almost endless . . . starting of course with the common barnyard rooster.

Both the Native Americans and the Spartans almost certainly got the idea originally from the same source -- probably from seeing fighting birds with topknots.  

 

NEW YORK TIMES, IN EFFECT, HAILS THE MOHAWK AS THE NEW FASHION RAGE -- BUT UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME:  On Sept. 5, 2015, the New York Times ran an article hailing a wildly popular new men's hairstyle as the fashion leader for 2015.  The Times said it's called the "disconnected undercut," which they defined as long on top and shaved on the sides, with a very sharp, distinct line line between the shaved portion and the long portion instead of being gradually tapered..  

Although the Times didn't quite say it, what they had just described was......duh.....the very definition of a Mohawk.  And, to illustrate the super-stylish "disconnected undercut," the Times cited (among other examples) the haircut of Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett -- seen in the photo below --  which the Times conceded was, in the newspaper's words, actually a "bushy disconnected Mohawk."   In fact, it's one of the truly great Mohawks:

The New York Times is correct.  The Mohawk is merely the ultimate version of the wildly popular "disconnected undercut."  So if your boss objects to your Mohawk, just tell them it's a "disconnected undercut" --  and that the New York Times says it's now the ultimate in high fashion.  .

TEN YEARS EARLIER, THE NEW YORK TIMES HAD ALREADY DECREED THAT THE MOHAWK HAD FINALLY BECOME "THE IN THING:"  

The change in acceptability happened so gradually that hardly anyone noticed the change.  But the New York Times did.  In 2005, the Times – America’s newspaper of record – decided that America’s attitude toward the shocking Mohawk had changed so drastically, the change needed to be memorialized in a special article.  They headlined the article:  “The Mohawk Becomes, Well, Cute.” 

That headline said it all.  The Times article quoted one highly respected grooming expert,
an advocate of the “modern Mohawk,” as saying:  ''Like a lot of things . . . what was considered ugly last week is probably going to be beautiful next week…. Everyone should have one at some point in their life.''

So take that advice from the New York Times.  Don't get left behind.

 Don't end up as the last dude in America to get Mohawked at least once in your life.  Don't end up as an 85-year-old man who looks back at his youth and says:  "Jeez, I wish I had just one picture of me as a bad-ass dude with a mean Mohawk."  Go for it!!!  You only live once -- and hair grows back.

The Times article goes on to say:  ''The Mohawk doesn't have the same teeth as it used to.  Everything begins on the outside, and eventually America brings it to the center…. Mohawks were once a signifier of aggression, a visually intimidating extension of the human backbone, or so Celtic warriors believed. They yanked out the hair along the sides
of their heads to appear scary to the Romans, who thought they were barbaric. The Mohawk owes its very name to hardy American Indians who likewise plucked their hair into a strip in times of war. But the battle is over.  Thanks to their youngest adopters, Mohawks are now merely adorable.“

Well, I disagree strongly with that last adjective.   Nothing as fiercely masculine as the Mohawk will ever be “adorable.”  But the Times article does make the point very well – that the Mohawk (or at least a conservative Mohawk)  is now acceptable in lots of places where it never would have been tolerated two decades ago.  

USA Today quoted celebrity stylist Charles Worthington as saying:  "It's not as radical as it was in the punk rock days. Now it's much more tame," He reports that the 'do is a "very asked-for look" at his five London salons. "Even guys who are normally strait-laced and conservative are sporting the look. It's a sign that men are being a little more experimental."

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE THINK MOHAWKS ARE SO SEXY?    

It's something hardly anyone talks about in public …..but, yes, they're sexy as hell!!!

If you’re a girl…..well, tell your guy you want to see him go under the clippers. Show him this article.  And then make an appointment for him at the barbershop.  Or better yet, grab the clippers yourself and make it twice as much fun.

 Shaving his head into a Mohawk can be an incredibly sexy experience . . . an unbelievably powerful bonding experience when a guy lets his girlfriend wield the clippers on him and he will wear her handiwork for all the world to see.  

To make it even sexier, tell your girlfriend you're dedicating your new scalp lock to her -- to show the world how much you love her.  

That's what reality TV star Brody Jenner did.  When he dedicated his new scalp lock to his girlfriend, singer Avril Lavigne,(seen behind him in this photo), he even carved her initial into the side of his Mohawk, just to make sure the entire world knew his bristly tuft was dedicated to her.  


  
 

And if your girlfriend really likes your Mohawk, that can lead to this. 

In just a minute, she's going to reach out and feel his . . uh, Mohawk

As someone who was Mohawked several times as a younger guy in my twenties – and as someone who, decades later, has been Mohawked continuously for several years as a mature adult and has enjoyed every moment of it  –maybe I can be of some help here. 

I’m going to share some of my personal experiences….not in any attempt to be self-centered, but merely because my experiences have been so overwhelmingly positive and my Mohawk has been so widely praised and accepted, it may provide encouragement to other guys trying to decide whether to submit to the clippers.

 

Here’s the really astonishing thing:  Others will have almost as much fun with your Mohawk as you will.  It will liven up every room you walk into and will tend to become the chief topic of conversation – in a great way.  Yes, it does indeed  take guts.  But it’s something to remember with pleasure for the rest of your life. The New York Times is right -- every guy should get Mohawked at least once in his life.   


I'll tell you a secret.  A lot of women have told me that when a man has the guts to wear a Mohawk just because he likes it and doesn't give a damn what anybody else thinks of his Mohawk, they often find that courage to be intensely sexy.  

YOU'RE JOINING A VERY SELECT FRATERNITY:  Every time you pass another Mohawked guy -- and every time you pass another guy who ever submitted to the clippers at some memorable time in his distant past (there are hundreds of thousands of them) -- they'll want to high-five you and stop you to chat about it, to congratulate you for having the balls to do it, and to share their own unforgettable experience of being scalped. They'll enthusiastically welcome you into the fraternity, and they'll want to talk about it.

Yesterday, when I was out jogging along a busy street, one teenage boy rolled down his Mom's car window and screamed from half a block away:  "I LOVE your Mohawk!!!"  It often happens to me 20 or 30 times a week (from both men and women) -- but not usually from half a block away.

MOHAWK PRIDE!!!

When you wear your Mohawk with pride, you'll discover -- to your amazement -- that it's an unbelievably great way to meet people.  Strangers who otherwise would never, in a million years, strike up a conversation with you will go out of their way to chat with you -- even crossing a crowded room or crossing a street just to talk with you about your scalp lock.  "Why did you do it?  What's the story behind the Mohawk?  How does it feel?  Can I touch it?  Oh, wow, it feels so fuzzy!  Do you mind being stared at?  Did you lose a bet?  Are you being initiated?"    

People will love to tease you about it -- so enjoy the hell out of the teasing.  Let 'em know you don't mind being teased at all, that you kind of enjoy being teased.  If they didn't admire your haircut -- if they weren't secretly envious -- they wouldn't be teasing you.  

Trust me -- you will meet neat people you would never in a million years have met without the haircut, because it's the world's greatest conversation maker.  The haircut automatically makes strangers feel they have permission to strike up a conversation with you -- because they'll figure if you didn't want to talk about it, you wouldn't have gone out in public with your head shaved that way. Guess what -- they're right.

The first time you sit there in the barber chair, watching your locks fall into your lap, it's 

like  a tough initiation into that select fraternity.  The shocking transformation will be one of the most exciting experiences of your life.  Don't miss it!!!  


The sense of belonging to a very daring fraternity will sweep over you.  The first time you look in the barber's mirror and see the drastic transformation, the experience is unforgettable.  


The first thing every single Mohawked guy can't resist doing, the minute his last lock of hair falls into his lap, is to immediately reach up and feel the bristly tuft of hair that's left in

the middle of his otherwise shaven head.

You'll remember that first touch for the rest of your life.

It feels great!!!

You won't be able to resist continuing to run your hand over it.  Your girl friend will love feeling it too.

Let her feel it to her heart''s content.

As one Mohawk fan commented elsewhere on this Website, he knew he wanted a Mohawk ever since he was a little kid and loved the bristly strip of hair atop the helmets of the Roman soldiers.  Yup, so did we all. Those Roman (and Spartan) helmets were awesome!!!  


Those horsehair Mohawks looked so fierce atop those ancient Spartan helmets that some modern football players have even copied the idea by gluing hair strips to the top of their football helmets. 

And just look at the number of bikers who imitate them by gluing hair strips to the top of their motorcycle helmets.  Right on, dudes!!!

Of course, some bikers figure why put the hair on the helmet. Some of them just hand the clippers to their girl friends and do it the right way.  Mohawks and bikers just go together like salt and pepper.  If you're gonna be a biker dude, then get out the hair clippers and show your guts.

But if you're going to be riding a Harley, better go for one of the shorter "jock hawks" so your helmet won't mess it up.

On the other hand, who cares if this biker's helmet squished his scalp lock.  His bristly tuft still looks awesome.

I like the way he left the hair plenty long enough to make a real statement.  The extra length screams out "I'm really into Mohawks, and I'm damned proud of my scalp lock."

If you're planning to become a biker dude -- if you're really turned on by the daring outlaw look -- then this may be the gutsy look you're seeking.  

The combination of the motorcycle leathers, the daring nose ring, and the Mohawk -- combined with this guy's All American, clean-cut looks --  will have this guy beating off the girls with a stick.

During his weekday job, he can simply remove the nose ring, leave the biker leathers at home, and his clean-cut appearance would be perfectly acceptable (even with the Mohawk) for many bosses. But when the weekend rolls around, he can haul out his leathers, re-insert the nose ring, fluff up his Mohawk, and live out his other life as a "Mad Max" look-alike.  

By the way, have you noticed that the pirate ring through the nose is gradually becoming more and more popular among Mohawked biker dudes?  I'm not usually into piercings -- and your boss may not be either -- but I have to admit reluctantly that the nose ring does add a delightful extra edginess to the Mohawk -- a really great combination -- if you can get away with pushing the envelope that far. 

  

Like the other biker dude above, this guy too can simply leave the nose ring and the leathers at home during the work-week, and his fairly conservative scalp lock, combined with his clean-cut All American good looks, would probably be quite acceptable to many bosses.

  “CONSERVATIVE” MOHAWK DEFINED:  

Now-a-days, your Mohawk will be widely accepted almost anywhere, as long as it’s a fairly “conservative” one . . . that is, if a Mohawk can ever be considered . . . uh, “conservative.”   (OK, stop laughing.)  Obviously what constitutes a “conservative” Mohawk depends entirely on who is doing the evaluating.  So, solely for purposes of this discussion, I’ll define what I think constitutes a “conservative” Mohawk today for anyone looking for widespread acceptance. . . . especially in the workplace and in more formal settings.     


I would define a “conservative” Mohawk as one that looks like 90 percent of the Mohawks in the photos that accompany this article -- especially the one on the right.    

For lack of anyone providing a better definition, I would venture to suggest that a "conservative" Mohawk is probably one that (in general) tends to meet the following guidelines:

  • Usually not more than two or three inches tall.
  • Neatly trimmed.  
  • A uniform width from the forehead to the nape of the neck.
  • Not wildly colored.
  • Not molded into artificial "liberty spikes" or other wild designs.
  • The hair left pretty much in its natural state without being totally rigid with glue -- just enough stiffener to make it stand up, but not too stiff.  

    The guy at the left could probably go just about anywhere with that neat looking, naturally styled Mohawk.  

I'm not knocking the more extreme Mohawks.  They can be fun.  But what we're talking about here is what kind of Mohawk is most likely to be accepted in a more formal setting -- like your work place.

I think it makes a Mohawk look more conservative -- and therefore maybe a little more acceptable in a business setting -- if it's neatly squared-off on top, sort of like a
toothbrush or a "flattop Mohawk" . . . like the one on the Boy Scout to the right.   I think the flattened scalp lock makes it look more masculine, makes it look almost like a slightly more extreme version of a U.S. Marine's "high-and-tight" or "recon" haircut.  Or like an ordinary flattop crewcut where the barber went a bit overboard with the shaving cream.  

The bristly tuft shown at the left is another great example of what I would term a fairly "conservative" Mohawk. It's usually described as a "horse's mane" haircut.  It's two or three inches tall, neatly trimmed, and shaved totally bald on the sides.  It's a delightful attention-getter that would turn heads in any room.  But it's still "conservative" enough to be acceptable almost anywhere these days.  This is the style that's now popular on many athletic teams.

To be even safer in the workplace, "Puck" from the TV drama "Glee" in his suit and tie at an awards ceremony shows that his shorter "jockhawk" can look amazingly acceptable in a more formal.setting.

He played a high school football player on the show.  Puck wore his Mohawk whenever the football season was underway.

If you're a little unsure how your boss will react, you could play it safe and start out leaving just a very slight fuzz on the sides . . . like this conservative Mohawk designed by the Axe hair products people for defensive end J.J. Watts of the Houston Texans.  

I'd prefer to see the sides shaved completely bald.   But, again, if you want to play it extra-safe at work, leaving a little fuzz on the sides softens the shock effect.

 

Here's another conservative classic, again one of the best Mohawks I've ever seen.  Textbook perfect!!!  It's conservative enough for many business settings because the roach is flat on top (not pointy), slightly fluffy,and the scalp lock has been left natural with just enough stiffener to make it stand up.

Usually I prefer the top clippered flat like a freshly mowed lawn.  But on this guy, the scissored, slightly irregular top looks especially nice.

It's long enough to make a real statement -- long enough to proudly scream MOHAWK!!!  But short enough to pass in many dignified business settings. 

This gutsy office worker with fully shaved sides can probably get by OK in a business setting because he keeps it trimmed to a neat, conservative, half-inch jock hawk.  If it's OK on your favorite quarterback, then it ought to be OK in your office -- right?

.

 

Here's another Mohawked guy in a dignified office setting.    .

 

And who could possibly object to this Mohawked dude in any office setting?  He looks like he just stepped away from the country club dance.  .

Here's Chelsea soccer star Raul Meireles looking very conservative and very dignified . . . first in a dark business suit, white dress shirt and subdued necktie (on the left)  -- and then (on the right) in formal wear (a white dinner jacket).. . . with a great, short jockhawk...  

What employer wouldn't be delighted to have this dignified, fashionably dressed sports star in their corporate board room?  It's a really nice, clean-cut, athletic look.  

And if this guy on the left isn't a university economics professor -- well he should be.

This Mohawk looks so conservative, it would fit right in with the faculty lounge. 

Or is he a Presbyterian minister?

Superior court judge?

And this dignified, conservative businessman type who had his head shaved into a Mohawk. 

.

This World War Two Army paratrooper's scalp lock on the left would be perfectly acceptable in a great many business settings today, because it is left so natural and so low to the scalp that it looks not too much different from a high-and-tight military cut. !!

Here's another very naturalistic-looking Mohawk that would probably be acceptable in many dignified office settings, just because it has a much softer look than the normally upright bristles of a traditional Mohawk.

Normally I prefer the tough Indian warrior look of the traditional upright bristles.  But I'll have to admit that the softness of this guys blond scalp lock does indeed make a truly sweet Mohawk that I'd be proud to have on my office staff.  

Here's another conservative Mohawk I really like, because it has been left natural with a tousled look, I love the fullness in back and the bed-head look on top.

If you keep your Mohawk fairly conservative -- like the one on this major league baseball player -- you can safely go almost anywhere now-a-days without criticism.    

By leaving his hair naturally tousled, he gives it a more conservative look.

 

Curly hair like on this guy tends to produce a really conservative -- but sexy -- Mohawk.

Maybe because the curls tend to soften the Mohawk look.

Some people might say if you really want it to be conservative, you might go for a so-
called fauxhawk, whereby some hair is left on the sides of the head.  But that’s a little too
conservative for most of us.  As long as you’ve got balls enough for a Mohawk, then go for the real thing – complete with fully shaved sides, totally bald on both sides like this guy  Part of the sheer fun of getting Mohawked is for the shock value of the bald look.  If you only go halfway with a fauxhawk, you’re missing out on half the fun.

 

But, hey, if you just don’t feel safe with bald sides around your boss….well, a really noticeable fauxhawk is better than nothing, so go for it at least as a starting point….a way to get your toe in the water.  At least it demonstrates that you’d really like be Mohawked if you could.  It shows you’d like to be one of us.  We appreciate the show of support your fauxhawk gives us. 

Now take the plunge and go the rest of the way.

 

Don’t get me wrong.  As I said, I’m not knocking the more extreme Mohawks.  I’m sure they’re fun, if you have the sort of job where you don't have to worry about what people think.  If your Mohawk is one of the more extreme designs, if it’s wildly colored, has liberty spikes, is extraordinarily tall, or has your girlfriend’s initial’s carved on the side…..more power to you….go for it......enjoy the hell out of it…..I really admire your guts.   

But if yours is one of the wilder ones out there on the extreme far edge, you’re on your own, flying without a compass.  The edgier your Mohawk is, the more likely it is that you may encounter some adverse reactions. -- especially at work.  Getting by with your Mohawk at work is the art of walking a very delicate line between "acceptable" and "unacceptable" as far as bosses are concerned.  Take it very carefully until you know where that dividing line is at your place of employment.

 

The Mohawk in the photo below on a super-athletic aerialist for the Cirque du Soleil is one of the greatest Mohawks I've ever seen anywhere.  But you may not want to try this one at work unless you have a really understanding boss.    

But even though the magnificent Mohawk on this Circue du Soleil aerialist may not quite yet be fully safe for work, nevertheless I do especially like the soft, fluffy mullet cascading down the guy's back. It's also called a "horse tail Mohawk" (a much more descriptive term).   Unique, creative, and truly memorable!!!  And I'll bet his girl friend likes to run her fingers through it.

It looks fantastic!!!   You may be surprised to learn that his "Mohawk mullet" looks strikingly similar to the horse-hair plume on the combat helmets of the ancient Spartan warriors of 27 centuries ago -- the helmets that partly inspired the modern Mohawk.

The ancient Spartan helmet at the right likewise had a horse's tail drooping down over the warrior's shoulders.    .  

 

Here's another version of the "Mohawk Mullet," modeled after that Spartan soldier's helmet above.

It's really cool!!!

He'd make a great Spartan soldier.

But I wouldn't try it at work just yet.

THE SHIFT TO MORE CASUAL OFFICE GARB

HAS HELPED PAVE THE WAY FOR A WIDER ACCEPTANCE

OF THE MOHAWK IN OFFICES:  

Times have changed.  Fashion is now a lot more daring than it was just two or three decades ago.  Now-a-days, more and more Americans love a little bit of shock value in their fashion just to keep life interesting and fun – as long as it isn’t too shocking or too extreme.   A little bit of shock value is the salt and pepper of modern-day fashion – to keep things from looking so bland.  The more “conservative” Mohawks fall precisely into that shocking-but-increasingly-acceptable zone. 

This guy with this clean-cut jockhawk could probably put on a sport jacket and walk into the most conservative private club in America, and he’d probably be fully accepted – even welcomed with open arms -- by most of the admiring members who would probably love the stunning wake-up call to fashion, especially if it showed up on one of their sports heroes.  

Conservative fashion is so boring.  It needs a sudden jolt of adrenaline every once in awhile to stay timely -- and you can give it that healthy jolt, and have lots of fun doing it.  Yes, of course heads will turn and people will stare.  But in most cases, they will be admiring stares – from people who wish they had your guts.

Wouldn't you be proud to have the Mohawked dude in the photo below in the office cubicle next to yours?

 

Now-a-days, even shaved heads -- once seen only on prison inmates, military recruits at boot camp, or people being initiated -- have become fully acceptable, even trendy, in corporate boardrooms . . . probably because Americans got completely comfortable seeing shaved heads on their military heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan and thought they looked really neat.  

In the corporate world,  it's finally perfectly OK to shave your head bald. So why, pray tell, isn't it even more OK to shave just part of your head and leave some of the hair behind?  Am I missing something here?  

This guy is exactly the same David Beckham (the world's most famous soccer star) that you saw in the photo above -- except that in the second photo, he left a little bit of hair atop his shaven head . . . which you'd think would please all the slaves to yesterday's out-dated fashion taboos.  

Yet exactly the opposite is true.  They complain if you take off too much hair.  But they complain even more if you don't take off enough.  Makes no sense at all.  And finally all the sensible people are waking up to that absurd contradiction..

So if fully shaven heads are now fully acceptable, can Mohawks be very far behind?   

                                       CELEBRITIES SPORTING MOHAWKS:

One of the biggest indications of the exploding popularity of Mohawks is the astonishing number of celebrities sporting Mohawks.-- or who once wore that radical haircut.  

The fact that there are now too many Mohawked celebrities to list them all says something very important about the haircut's rapidly increasing acceptance in polite society.  .

Recognize this Mohawked dude? 

It's a rare photo you probably never saw of the late rock star David Bowie when he briefly sported one of the best-looking Mohawks I ever seen.

I especially like the way he cut it flat on top.  

By the time soccer super-star David Beckham got Mohawked (see photo below), the shocking haircut was suddenly the “in” thing, and kids all over America were begging their suburban soccer moms to let them get Mohawked like Beckham.  So were a lot of their dads.  Thanks, Dave, for making the world safe for the Mohawk.  We owe you one..

Three decades ago, long before Beckham inspired bazillions of youngsters to go get Mohawked, legendary NFL linebacker Brian Bosworth -- known to Americans as "The Boz" --provided a similar spurt of popularity for the Mohawk.

His then-daring Mohawk was just as famous in the 1980s as Beckworth's scalp lock was 30 years later.  And tens of  thousands of kids on high school football teams rushed to copy "The Boz's" Mohawk.

Another big fan of the Mohawk was the lead vocalist for Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder, seen here at a music award ceremony..

He says he regrets that "I didn't get my first Mohawk until I was 22 years old."  

Do you recognize this guy with the nice curly scalp lock and freshly shaved sides?

That's comedian Adam Sandler.

Hey, Adam.  Guess what.  You look a lot better with a Mohawk.  My advice:  Hang onto it.

One of the best-looking celebrity Mohawks of all time was the one being shaved here on Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel (Fergie's husband) for his role in the movie "Scenic Route."

If any actor ever had hair that cried out to be Mohawked, it was Duhamel's hair.

FINALLY someone took a pair of clippers to it.  

Here's the scene in the movie where a buddy shaves Duhamel's hair into a Mohawk by the headlights of their vehicle, after they become dangerously stranded in the desert..

And here's the scene where Duhamel reaches up and gets his first feel of his new scalp lock -- that unforgettable moment every guy looks forward to after getting shorn.  Hot diggity dog!!!  It feels good!!!

A reporter told Duhamel he would think the most terrifying part of the movie was having all that hair shaved off.  "Heck no," said Duhamel. "That was my favorite part.

"I was like, 'Yes! I get to get a Mohawk for this movie?' It was the cherry on top of the sundae. When else am I going to get a Mohawk? That was something I was looking forward to. 

"I was excited about shaving my head.  I'd recommend it to anyone.  It really makes you feel cool.

"I always figured I would just cut the rest of it off after we finished the movie, but I ended up letting it all grow out slowly to stretch out the fun..  I just felt really cool with a Mohawk. I felt like a tough guy."

Right on, Josh!!!  You discovered what millions of other guys discovered when their heads were shaved into Mohawks.  It's just one hell of a lot of fun!!!

So his wife, Fergie, hated the Mohawk, right?  Nope.  Quite the contrary.  Fergie told reporters the Mohawk "really turned me on."  She wanted him to keep it shaved.that way.

Duhamel said he doesn't think Fergie had ever been that turned on to him before they shaved his head.   No surprise there.  Lots of women crave Mohawks on their guys.

Duhamel says a crew member offered to adopt the hairstyle as a symbol of solidarity.  "So I grabbed the clippers and a towel and laid it over the barstool, then he sits down and I start cutting a Mohawk"

"Then the whole crew and a bunch of locals started lining up for Mohawks," said Duhamel.  He estimates he shaved the heads of about a dozen people.  The photo below shows a few of his victims. That's Duhamel, the barber, in the center. 

 

And here's comedian Jim Carrey, who apparently took the advice of the New York Times that every guy should be Mohawked at least once in his lifetime.

Martin Sensmeier, a part Native American actor, wears an especially hot-looking Mohawk in the 2016 remarke of the movie "The Magnificent Seven."

But the most outspoken celebrity defender of Mohawks was the late, tough-guy novelist Harry Crews -- considered by many scholars to be among America's best "Southern Gothic" novelists, ranked by some with the all-time greats like William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Erskine Caldwell.

In addition to his novels, Crews taught creative writing at the University of Florida.

He was an ex-boxer, an ex-Marine from the Korean War era and was a biker dude who died in 2012 from the aftereffects of two motorcycle accidents. He liked people who dared to be different -- like himself -- so he probably admired the Mohawked, leather-clad bad guys in the "Mad Max" movies whose haircut he copied.

Crews loved Mohawks, so he defiantly wore one himself and didn't give a damn what anybody else thought of his scalp lock.  

"If you can’t get past the way I got my hair cut," he said, "it’s only because you have decided there are certain things that can be done with hair and certain things that cannot be done with hair. And certain of them are right and proper and decent, and the rest indicate a warped, degenerate nature; therefore I am warped and degenerate?   'Cause I got my hair cut a different way, man? Are you gonna really live your life like that?  What’s wrong with you?"

Thanks, Harry, for sticking up for every teenage boy who ever came home with a freshly cut Mohawk like yours and shocked the bejabbers out of his parents -- and his school principal.

You're one of our all-time heroes!!!

Recognize the Mohawked guy in this photo?

That's actor Brad Pitt sporting an Indian scalp lock. His wife, actress Angelina Jolie, loves Mohawks on guys -- so she scalped hubby real good.  

And from the looks of this picture, she had lots of fun doing it..  .

In fact, Angelina is such a big fan of Mohawks on guys, she even Mohawked their young son, Maddox.

Here's a family shot of all three --- Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and their son Maddox..

Thanks, Angelina, for championing the world's greatest haircut.  You're helping to spread the word. 

Here's a close-up of Angelina and Maddox.

Cute kid.

Cute Mohawk.

Here's a fashion blog that, tongue in cheek, credited young Maddox with convincing the New York Times that Mohawks were suddenly the "in" haircut:

Below is rock star/actor Jared Leto:

 

"BIG BROTHER' TV MOHAWKS

But the celebrity who probably did more to popularize the Mohawk than anybody but soccer player Beckham was a former college and semi-pro football player named Nick Starcevik who was one of the temporary housemates on the TV program "Big Brother" in 2009.

Mohawks have always been very big with "Big Brother" contestants in various versions of the show in countries around the world..  Whenever the housemates get bored, they seem to break out the clippers and start shaving Mohawks on each other just for the sheer fun of it.

Women all over the U.S. were in love with Nick's beautiful tresses, seen here just before his housemate shaved him.  So when he agreed to submit to the clippers, half the women in America shed tears at the thought of his tresses hitting the floor.    

But the other half of American women were delighted -- convinced that he looked even hotter with his head shaved into a warrior scalp lock.

All of America watched in fascination as the cameras zoomed in on the scalping procedure in great detail from start to finish as Nick's dramatic transformation unfolded on nationwide TV.and America held its breath.

It turned into the all-time greatest how-to-do-it lesson.

Lots of Americans had seen a Mohawk, but until then, very few had seen one in the process of being shaved.  They were fascinated.

Thousands of American men watched Nick's hair being shaved off on TV and decided if a Mohawk looked that hot on Nick, then maybe they should surprise their own wives and come home with a Mohawk of their own.

"Look, Dear.  You'll never guess what I did today.  Surprise!!!"  

Suddenly Nick's Mohawk was the talk of dinner tables and water coolers all over America in 2009.  Everyone assumed Nick must have previously sported a Mohawk at some point during his college football days.  So suddenly every high school football player wanted one just like Nick's. 

Other versions of "Big Brother" in other countries likewise found that whenever things got slow, it immediately livened up the show -- and jacked up ratings -- to just shave some guy's head into a Mohawk.

This Big Brother contestant in Canada played a game with his housemates where participants earned extra points by agreeing to accept what they termed a "punishment."

This guy agreed to accept the punishment of whatever haircut the group decided upon.  The group voted to give him a Mohawk.

That punishment Mohawk was so popular with the Canadian "Big Brother" audience that shortly afterward the female housemates grabbed the clippers and punished this other guy in the same house.

And here (see photo below) is a "Big Brother" contestant in England getting punished.




The English victim above wasn't nearly as unfortunate as another dude on the English version of "Big Brother" in the photo below.  To win a 6,000 pound prize, he agreed to accept whatever punishments the girl housemates wanted to inflict on him.  First they submerged him in fish guts.  Then they deprived him of all food except water for a day. But still unsatisfied that he had suffered enough, the girls decided to give him a new look. They grabbed a pair of hair clippers and forced him to submit to having a bald strip shaved right through the middle of his hair -- a "reverse Mohawk."

Warning him that he wasn't permitted to cover up the shaven strip, the girls brushed his locks away from both sides of the bald strip so everyone could see what was done to him.

 

One of the dudes said, "I think it looks good

Another Big Brother contestant at the right, apparently in some Scandanavian country, got punished with a forced Mohawk at the hands of the female housemates.

Apparently the girls on "Big Brother" really get their jollies by shaving guys' heads.  And, as we said, in doing so, they did more to popularize the Mohawk around the world than anyone since Beckham.  

Did anybody ever leave that show with their hair?

Among professional musicians, Mohawks only show up on rock stars, right?  

Nope.   Here's classical violinist Hahn-Bin, a Julliard graduate, widely acclaimed for his performances at the staid Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center:

 

The most innovative, exciting, classical concert organist these days is the daring  Cameron Carpenter . . . creating fireworks seldom heard before from a concert organ and achieving rock star status . . . famous for his daring Mohawk.  Audiences flock to his concerts, not just to hear his organ pyrotechnics, but also to see his magnificent Mohawk, which he loves flaunting.  Hey, nice shave job!!!

Thank goodness -- Mohawks are finally making classical music unstuffy, fun, and approachable.  It's about time!!!  Maybe the Mohawked musicians will help to reverse the dwindling audiences for classical music and suddenly give it relevance and excitement again, bringing younger Americans back to classical music.  Wake up, symphony directors.  You've been handed a gift that just might save you.  Teens are likely to think:  "Wow -- if a dude with a Mohawk actually loves Wagner or Berlioz, then maybe there's something to that stuff after all."

People have now become so accustomed to seeing fully shaved sides on their sports heroes that, in most situations, they’ll now accept that shaved look – even if it does still have the delightful, exciting power to shock.   Like the prize winner below.

The so-called "jock hawk," like the ones on the baseball players below, is one type of conservative Mohawk -- so called because of its widespread adoption by so many athletic teams.  The jock hawk is kept low enough to the scalp that it won't be too messed up by a football helmet, baseball cap, or swimming pool water.  

The more conservative Mohawk is also sometimes called a “warhawk” or a “military Mohawk” because of its strictly unofficial association with the military, going back to its famous adoption by U.S. paratroopers during the Normandy Invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944, in World War Two.  These were the original jock hawks.  

It was those World War Two paratroopers from the famed 101st Airborne Division who first popularized Mohawk haircuts.  (See that little known story a little later in this article.)  

The military Mohawk is one of the most conservative Mohawk styles.  And this ex Marine has one of the best-looking military Mohawks or "warhawks" that I've seen anywhere.  It's a classic.  He wore it for awhile in the Marine Corps (against some resistance).  And he continued wearing it into civilian life, where his warhawk has become his trademark as a civilian defense instructor. He has worn it proudly for more than five years.  It's conservative enough that he's able to wear it anywhere -- even in business settings.

But on the training field, he finds it looks especially appropriate.-- a walking advertisement for his warrior trade.

The more conservative Mohawk is also sometimes called a “horse’s mane Mohawk” or a “Spartan,” because of its resemblance to the "roached" mane of a horse or the “shoe brush” bristles atop an ancient Spartan soldier’s helmet.  

Conservative Mohawks -- roaches -- are now quietly accepted at many high schools that once banned them.  More and more high school principals and athletic coaches have gradually realized belatedly – thanks to those American paratrooper heroes from World War Two -- that Mohawks are now as all-American as apple pie and crew cuts.  

And what could be more All-American than the Boy Scouts?  Their neatly trimmed Mohawks in the photos below make their Scout uniforms look even more All-American.  Is that great, or what?

Looks kind of like that horse's roach, don't they?

 

MORE AND MORE EMPLOYERS NOW ACCEPT MOHAWKS – BUT NOT ALL OF THEM: 

More and more employers are beginning to tolerate and even embrace the more conservative Mohawks.  Now-a-days I frequently see them on check-out clerks at Costco, Walmart and Home Depot  and other stores where just a few short years ago Mohawks would have been strictly banned. But it may depend on how modern and progressive the local manager is – so proceed a bit cautiously if your job is at stake. 

There are still some older managers whose sense of fashion was ingrained in them back in the bygone days of fedora hats and three-piece suits for men.  But as more and more of the old time bosses die out and are replaced by younger, hip bosses who grew up perfectly comfortable with the more conservative Mohawks, they are slowly becoming more and more acceptable in the workplace. 

 

Now-a-days, it’s hard not to accept the Mohawk as an increasingly mainstream phenomenon when Mohawks seemed to be the most popular haircut at the recent World Cup, like Neymar (pictured at the right) and Hansik (shown below)…..causing many coaches of American youth soccer teams in ultra-conservative, upscale, suburban  neighborhoods to say, “As a result of the World Cup, now all the kids on my soccer team want Mohawks.”


Mohawks are now so wildly popular among professional soccer players, it's almost easier to list the ones who DON'T sport scalp locks.

Here's one of the best-looking horse manes in professional soccer -- proudly worn by Rome's Rasdja Nainggolan.

By having the guts to have their heads shaved into Mohawks, professional soccer players have done more to popularize scalp locks as the ultimate symbol of masculinity -- more to make them widely acceptable in polite society -- than almost any other group.

 

Soccer star Raul Meireles' scalp lock -- a classic -- has helped greatly to popularize the Mohawk.  

Since he sometimes wears his Mohawk with a dignified business suit, we showed him higher up in this blog as an excellent example of a Mohawk that is short enough and dignified enough that he should be able to fit into almost any corporate board room.

Meireles' wife, Ivone, liked his Mohawk so much, she ended up shaving half her own head to partially match her husband's shaved look -- to bond with him.  Great move, Ivone!!! What a kick that would be to go out in public with your wife in matching haircuts!!!  Is that great, or what?  (See photo below showing the two of them together.)   Cool.


Swiss Soccer star Michel Morganella has one of the all-time classic Mohawks.

Beautifully trimmed!!!

One of the most famous Mohawks of all time -- and one of the best-looking ones that any barber ever carved -- was worn by USA soccer star Clint Mathis.

At the 2002 FIFA World Cut, Mathis shocked TV viewers all over the world by suddenly shaving his head into a stunning Mohawk -- whereupon he scored a goal in the United States' 1–1 draw with South Korea.. 

And tens of thousands of young soccer players on American neighborhood teams decided it must have been the Mohawk that did it.  

So suddenly they too began asking their barbers for "a Mohawk just like the one Clint Mathis wears" . . . instantly sparking a huge leap in the popularity of Mohawks.  

But many Mohawk fans say that Marek Hamsik, captain of the Naples soccer team, has the absolute best Mohawk in soccer.  I would go further and say that it just may be the single best Mohawk anywhere -- bar none.  Stunning!!!

This photo of Hamsik -- like the photos of Mathis, Morganella and Meireles above -- shows the huge appeal of a freshly shaved Mohawk. Keeping both sides of the head "shaved to the bone," if you have the time, makes the Mohawk really stand out proudly against an egg bald scalp.  

Hamsik has such a picture-perfect scalp lock that he's the only Mohawked dude who warrants several photos of the same guy on this Website to celebrate his classic tuft from multiple angles. Reportedly every boy in Naples is begging his parents for a haircut exactly like Hamsik's.  

I like the way he is diligent about shaving the sides every single day.  

By keeping it freshly-shaven, he seems to be saying:  "Hell yes it's a Mohawk!!!  And I'm damned proud of it.  I'm not going to wimp out by trying to make it look like a regular haircut."




That white scalp is a way of saying:  "I'm really proud of my scalp lock, and I like flaunting it."

Another factor that makes Hamsik's Mohawk so eye-catching is that he has deliberately grown the scalp lock long enough to really stand out atop his shaven head.  But it's still short enough to keep a somewhat conservative look.  Perfect length!!!

You'll also notice that Hamsik's barber  achieved a geometrically perfect, gradual taper from fairly long over his forehead to somewhat shorter on the back of his head . . . which is the way most painters depict the scalp locks atop the shaven heads of Indian warriors.-- but still long enough all over to make the scalp lock really stand out very prominently all over.

Yet another factor that makes Hamsik's Mohawk so totally awesome is that he keeps it flat on top rather than being pointy -- a "flattop Mohawk.".  My personal opinion is that a flat Mohawk usually looks more masculine than a pointy one.  

The close-up below of Hamsik's scalp lock atop his sweaty head shows how it's so flat on top, it looks like it was buzzed using a carpenter's level.  His barber has created a masterpiece!!!

You'll notice that virtually all the paintings of Indian warriors wearing Mohawks show their scalp locks as being flat on top like a shoe brush.  Indian warriors weren't much into pointy roaches.  And if anybody really knew the proper way to trim a Mohawk, it was obviously the folks who invented that haircut -- Native American warriors.

You'll also notice that the rear of Hamsik's Mohawk is neatly squared off where it ends at his neckline (see photo below), rather than ending in a sharp point.  Again, that's the way artists have always depicted the roaches atop the heads of Native American warriors.  

I can't explain why, but for some  reason having the tuft squared-off rather than pointy just looks more masculine -- more warrior-like..

I also like the way Hamsik's scalp lock in the photo above has the slightly tousled, so-called "bed head" look -- which tends to give the scalp lock a fluffier, thicker, more natural look.  

.

Here's one final look from all angles at Hamsik's picture-perfect Mohawk -- a real classic for the ages.  This one should definitely be enshrined in the Mohawk Hall of Fame.

One of the best looking sports Mohawks of all time turned heads at the 2016 Olympics when  flaunted by beach volleyball champion, Casey Patterson.

Bravo!!! 

I love the soft, fluffy, naturalistic effect he achieved and the fullness spilling down the back of his neck . . . and the fact that he left his scalp lock long enough to give it real heft, to really make a powerful statement with it.

Definitely one for the ages!!!

Here's another great shot of Casey Patterson's eye-catching Mohawk in action at at the 2016 Olympics.

Wow!!!

And here's Patterson's athlete Mohawk from the rear, as his team member celebrates a spike shot..

Mohawks are also the hottest thing going with everyone’s mixed martial arts heroes. MMA 
fight cages are a virtual hotbed of warrior Mohawks.

"Mohawk mullets," like this one, whereby the lower end of the Mohawk is allowed to cascade down onto the guy's shoulders seem to be becoming more and more popular with athletes.  

Below is another look at this cage fighter's "Mohawk mullet."

One particular MMA fight was a bonanza for Mohawk admirers when BOTH of the cage fighters showed up with matching scalp locks.

Hot dog!!! 

 

In the wrestling portion of the fight, Mohawks make great handles to grab for leverage.

 

Not so great for the guy on the bottom

Here are even more cage fighters sporting Mohawks.

Why do so many MMA fighters shave off their hair into a Mohawk? 

Same reason so many football players submit to the clippers.

Because nothing screams raw masculinity and the warrior ethos better than a bristly scalp lock.  It's a way for cage fighters to publicly celebrate their masculinity -- to revel in it,

Do you need a better reason?  

 

 

But it was cage fighting's distant cousin, professional wrestling,that really popularized Mohawk haircuts -- starting way back in the late 1940s right after World War Two with wrestler Don Eagle (see photo at left).

Amazingly enough, Don Eagle really was a genuine Mohawk Indian, who had been trained in wrestling by his father, who had wrestled professionally as Chief Joseph War Eagle.

So if any wrestler ever was fully entitled to sport the scalp lock of an Indian warrior, it was Don Eagle.  The younger man had also been an amateur boxer in 1945.  

Don Eagle came along just as the newly invented television sets were beginning to appear in American living rooms.  

The newly opened television stations were desperate for inexpensive live program to fill the airtime.  And professional wrestling was cheap and plentiful.

And the Mohawks made the televised matches even more colorful.

So suddenly Don Eagle's shocking haircut was beamed directly into the homes of millions of Americans, who had never before seen a Mohawk haircut except on American paratroopers during the Normandy Invasion on D-Day and in a few historical paintings of Native Americans.  

For the first time, millions of American television viewers fell in love with that daring "bad ass" haircut.  For a few years, the Mohawk was actually known as "the Don Eagle haircut," and suddenly tens of thousands of young boys wanted a haircut just like Don's.

Suddenly it was the incredibly sexy haircut that every man secretly wanted, but few had the balls to wear, knowing they'd be stared at every time they entered a room.

Soon other professional wrestlers, seeing how wildly popular Don's daring haircut had become, began likewise submitting to the clippers and shaving cream-- knowing that if a Mohawk suddenly appeared atop their own heads, their fame would be instantaneous.

So Don began training another Mohawked wrestler named Billy Two Rivers (in the photo to the left), who, like Don, was also a real Mohawk Indian.  

After Billy Two Rivers retired from wrestling he became a leader of the Mohawk Nation, helping his fellow tribesman in the now-famous blocking of traffic on the Honoré Mercier Bridge during the 1990 Oka Crisis.

Billy Two Rivers, in turn, formed a tag team with yet another Mohawked wrestler named 

Jean War Eagle. (on the left in the photo below). 

And suddenly it seemed like half the wrestlers on television were sporting Indian warrior haircuts.  

Here's "Animal" of the wrestling tag team called Master Blasters.

His Master Blaster tag team partner was "Hawk" 

The two of them took the shocking haircuts to a new level.  Interlocking Mohawks.  Positive and negative. Animal sported a Mohawk mullet, while his partner, Hawk, submitted to a mirror image reverse Mohawk.

Suddenly professional wrestlers realized the crowds loved the crazy haircuts -- which made the Mohawked wrestlers instantly recognizable.  


And along came a Mohawked "Dr. Kliever.".

 

And Jon Bolen (left).

Even a midget wrestler called Little Beaver.-- who may have been short, but he sure knew how to carve a bad ass Mohawk.

 

And this unidentified wrestler with a really neat Mohawk..

Hey, is there any wrestler who does NOT sport a Mohawk?

 

Australian Marcius Pitt has one of the all-time great wrestling Mohawks.  

Wow!!!......one for the ages!!!.

Memorable!!!

 

Meantime, even professional, competition lumberjacks began sporting Mohawks.

The lumberjack above trained his son to follow dad's footsteps as a professional lumberjack -- and he has obviously trained his son how to carve an equally awesome Mohawk.  I'm guessing father and son trim each other's Mohawks when they're bot busy sharpening chain saws  Wow . . . Nice matching scalp locks!!!. 

Even competitive weight lifters began sporting Mohawks.:

Here's another competitive weightlifter with a nice Mohawk.

I'll have to admit it. The Mohawk does add to the powerful image of strength.

Perfect touch!!!.

A MOHAWK LOVE STORY

This conservative gospel singer and "American Idol" star (Colton Dixon) wore this truly awesome Mohawk on his church-focused album cover.  Who says God doesn't love Mohawks just like the rest of us?     

Wow!!!  That is definitely one of the all-time great Mohawks!!!  An absolute classic!!! And his adoring fundamentalist Christian fans love him for daring to wear it.  

A short time after that Mohawked religious album cover came out, Colton kicked it up another notch by shaving the sides egg bald with a razor . . . a huge improvement. Truly daring and eye-catching.  I love it!!!  This man has balls!!!

I especially like the way he grew it thick on top to deliberately contrast sharply with the closely shaven sides -- clearly advertising that this is a man who loves Mohawks just like the rest of us and who really knows how to wear one.. Spectacular!!!

In January 2016, Colton married his longtime girl friend.  She had long been his makeup girl  in charge of the way he looks on performance days, which suggests that she probably encouraged hubby to wear the scalp lock on stage.

In fact, I'll bet she was the one who urged him to take a razor to the sides to make it even sexier looking . . . because he seems to have adopted the egg bald look just in time for their wedding ceremony.    

He even wore the fresh-shaved look for their actual wedding ceremony.  Cool!!!  All true Mohawk lovers should show their guts by getting freshly shaved for their wedding ceremonies -- showing off their daring scalp locks in wedding photos for their grandchildren to see.

Flaunt it!!!

Mohawk pride!!!

After the wedding, Colton appears to have stuck with the fresh-shaved look. I'll bet it was his bride who insisted he must keep it freshly shaved.  Good for her!!!

It's a Mohawk for the ages!!!

Another contestant on "American Idol," singer Phillip Phillips said that every girl in America was dying to reach out and feel Colton's Mohawk.

Since they couldn't, Phillips decided to do it for them.  During rehearsals - strictly as a joke -- Phillips stroked Colton's scalp lock while he sang. To his astonishment, the producers on "American Idol" loved it.  They demanded that the two of them repeat the scene on live, nationwide TV.  So they did.

“Yeah, it was my idea,” said Phillips.  “I knew every girl in America would be jealous. All the girls love Colton because of his Mohawk.

 

Colton told reporters:  “Phillip just naturally did that during one of the rehearsals and everyone
loved it so much, they made us do it,” As one publication put it, "Now, it’s a moment that will go down in 'American Idol' history.  Shortly afterward, the two of them married their girl friends -- thus taking Colton off the market for all those girls who missed their chance to touch it.  

Sorry, girls.  But there are plenty of other dudes out there who will be delighted to let you feel their Mohawk.

Colton isn't the only Christian singer sporting a Mohawk.  A huge California fundamentalist mega-church hired a music minister proudly sporting a Mohawk in order to attract more teenage members (hey, it worked) -- -- proving again that even conservative, fundamentalist Christians love Mohawks.  The music minister's Mohawk attracts hordes of teenage members who’ve discovered that religion can actually be cool and “with it.”  What a brilliant idea.  The Mohawk has suddenly gone from a huge negative to a huge positive in some churches that are working hard to get a younger image.

 The Mohawked music minister is shown below.. Cool.

 

THE GUTSY NATIVE AMERICAN BOY WHO MADE THE WORLD SAFE FOR MOHAWKS & MADE THE OPPONENTS OF MOHAWKS LOOK PRETTY RIDICULOUS

This boy is now a big hero of tens of thousands of Mohawk-loving American teenagers.  He left the rapidly dwindling number of school principals who still don't allow Mohawks looking totally ridiculous in September 2015 when a school principal in St. George, Utah -- in the heart of Indian Country -- sent this youngster home until he shaved off his scalp lock.  

 

And why did it make the school principal into a laughing stock when the news story and the photo were flashed around the world?  Because . . . wait for it . . . because the boy's parents are Seneca and Paiute Indians.  The boy's father said his son chose a hairstyle that is popular with native peoples in many places.  Well, yeah.

The Native American boy was allowed to return to class only after a member of the Seneca National Tribe in New York penned a letter to school district administrators confirming that the hairstyle is a common tradition among tribal members.  

The Seneca Nation tribal Councilor told the clueless school principal:  “It's common for Seneca boys to wear a Mohawk because after years of discrimination and oppression, they are proud to share who they are.  It’s disappointing that your school does not view diversity in a positive manner, and it is our hope that (the boy) does not suffer any discrimination by the school administration or faculty as a result of his hair cut.”  (The tribal councilor could have added -- but didn't:  "Otherwise, see you in court.)  

Translation:  Those school officials suddenly woke up and realized they had placed themselves at serious risk of being hit with a major lawsuit for violating the law by discriminating against Native Americans when they tried to outlaw a great haircut that for more than 300 years has been associated with the American Indians who invented it.   Maybe if more Native Americans began proudly sporting that great haircut and daring anyone to tell them they can't wear it, it would help to make the world safe for EVERYONE who wants to wear that All-American haircut.

If that school principal needs proof that some Native Americans really do still wear the warrior scalp lock with pride . . .

Here's John Kane, a political activist who is part Mohawk.

We should thank the Native Americans for sharing their really cool haircut with us.

 

So banning Mohawks on American youngsters is like trying to ban the playing of the fife and drum at 4th of July parades. 

Besides -- nothing looks cuter on a young boy that a neatly shaved Mohawk.  

Like Kane and like that Native American that Native American boy mentioned above, some Sycuan tribal firefighters below from California adopted the Mohawk haircut as a proud symbol of their Native American heritage.  Great idea, guys!!!

                            "TOUGH MUDDER" MOHAWKS  

Also helping to popularize Mohawks and make them even more admired have been the various "Tough Mudder" and "Spartan" obstacle course races all over the nation -- the civilian versions of Army Ranger training.  No self-respecting guy would think of undergoing one of these grueling ordeals without first demonstrating his toughness by submitting to a Mohawk.  By giving up your hair, you demonstrate your commitment to complete that tough obstacle course.:

Is there anything on earth that looks more badass than a tough athlete with a Mohawk crawling through the mud beneath barbed wire?  Mohawks ought to be an entry requirement  No wonder some of these obstacle races provide barber tents at the starting line to carve your bristly tuft before you dive into the mud.

.

At every Tough Mudder obstacle race, special booths are always set up, staffed by barbers wielding hair clippers, ready to shave Mohawks on race participants who volunteer to be shorn.  

Participants have their race number inscribed on their foreheads in Magic Marker ink -- right under their Mohawk..

You want to know what in the world it is about Tough Mudder obstacle races that makes otherwise sane, white collar businessmen submit to bizarre weekend Mohawk haircuts?  

This Tough Mudder says originally he had planned to shave off his scalp lock the day after the obstacle race before he went back to work.  But he ended up loving his Mohawk so much, he just couldn't bring himself to part with it.  

He kept it for days or weeks. Right on, Dude!!!  You discovered what the rest of us Mohawk lovers discovered a long time ago -- that nothing is more fun than a nicely carved Mohawk!!!. 

The businessman in this photo likewise found it difficult to part with his Tough Mudder Mohawk when Monday morning came.   He explains better than anyone else ever has, why Mohawks are such a powerful, visible symbol of commitment to a team. 

 

"As I walked into the office on Monday morning, I caught a glance of myself in the reflection of our front door and smiled. I was still sporting my bristly Mohawk from this past weekend. Probably not the most professional fashion statement to make, but one I was quite proud of. Yes, proud – not because I’ve always secretly wanted to ‘rock a hawk’ since I saw MR. T in the 80′s! Proud because of what it symbolizes.

"For that first Mudder, we raised money for the Wounded Warrior project and as a showing of our commitment to WWP and Mudder, we decided to cut our hair. Granted this event is loaded with as much machismo you can imagine and the hair cut became synonymous with that machismo.  

"Four years later, having done Mudder each year, I’ve come to view the annual haircuts as something bigger. Its a visible display of why we do this event. For the few days we walk around with those absurd haircuts, we can proudly say we do ‘em because we are a team, we do it for Wounded Warrior, we do it because Mudder represents the BEST way to build trust, camaraderie and team work. When you share blood, sweat, and tears with your co-workers then come talk to me about team building. Bring on the hair clippers and our team will be ready to tackle the next Mudder and show you how well we work together inside and outside of the office!"

Wow!!!  Beautifully stated!!!  (And, by the way, nice Mohawk.)  He has managed to explain what countless football players, hockey players, baseball players, wrestlers,  MMA fighters, combat paratroopers, and Tough Mudder racers have never quite been able to find the words to express -- just what it is about submitting to the clippers that so powerfully makes a man feel like a totally dedicated team member.   He has finally found the words for all of us. On behalf of all us Mohawk lovers, thanks for putting it into words so beautifully.

TO COLOR OR NOT TO COLOR?  Dyed Mohawks are gradually becoming more and more popular -- but until the dyed ones become more widely accepted in conservative settings (especially if your job depends on it), proceed with caution.  A Mohawk in your natural hair color is going to be much more widely accepted than a dyed one -- at least for now. But that may change eventually with the rapidly exploding popularity of brightly dyed hair in general.  

Meantime, however, it's hard to deny that the bleached and bright-yellow dyed Mohawk sported by California mixed martial arts athlete Kyle Pimental in the cage photo below is truly awesome.  An absolute masterpiece!!!.  Any Mohawk fan would be intensely proud to wear it.

 

  

If you're going to push the envelope with your boss and go for a dyed Mohawk, then bright yellow somehow seems a bit more subdued (a bit more conservative) than most of the other colors, perhaps because it's not too far from a natural blond Mohawk.  Pimental's spectacular, back-lit, glowing yellow tuft in the fight scene above, contrasted dramatically with the darker stubble in the freshly-shaved sides, would look awesome in any setting.    

Likewise the yellow tuft on the soccer player on the left from a Nottingham, England, team . . . one of the best-looking scalp locks in professional sports.  But I'd recommend testing the waters with your boss by going for your natural color before pushing the envelope a bit further with this.


Almost any other color but yellow is pushing the envelope, because the other colors end to look strikingly artificial.   

 

HERE’S THE TIPPING POINT -- THE EXACT MOMENT

WHEN THE MOHAWK FINALLY ARRIVED

IN THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE: 

It happened on August 6, 2012, when millions of people around the globe tuned in to watch NASA’s Mars Rover successfully land on a distant planet – and were utterly delighted to find one of the top-level supervisors in the NASA control room sporting one of the coolest Mohawks you’ve ever seen.  NASA’s so-called “Mohawk Guy” instantly became world famous. 

 

 

Was his boss, President Obama, upset?  Nope.  Quite the contrary.  NASA’s “Mohawk Guy” was immediately invited to sit beside Michelle Obama in the U.S. House of Representatives to watch the State of the Union speech.  Here he is in the House Gallery with his Mohawk on Feb. 12, 2013, applauding Obama's speech -- beside all of the nation's highest government leaders.  

After that moment, how could any boss possibly object to that neat looking haircut in a corporate board room?

Obama himself telephoned NASA the next day to say:  "I understand there is a special Mohawk guy working on the mission.  I thought about getting a Mohawk myself but my team keeps on discouraging me. Now that he's received marriage proposals and thousands of twitter followers, I'm now going to go back to my team and see if it makes sense."  Thus spoke the President of the most powerful nation on earth.

 

The big bosses at NASA were tickled pink – because overnight it changed NASA’s image from nerds with plastic pocket protectors and duct tape on their eye glasses into incredibly cool dudes with Mohawks.  Millions of American teenagers suddenly said:  “Wow, you mean you can be a NASA scientist and still wear a Mohawk?  That’s where I want to work!”  

Suddenly women all over America -- hot for his Mohawk -- were posting online tributes to “our sexy nerds at NASA”… like this posting:

 

 

So it took an incredible 68 years for the lowly Mohawk to make that agonizingly slow journey from shocking the entire world as bristly tufts atop the heads of courageous American paratroopers in the 1944 Normandy Invasion to acceptance atop the head of America’s best-known NASA scientist.  After that, hopefully no American teenager will ever again be kicked out of school for daring to sport that quintessentially American haircut.  Ten-thousand high school principals finally gave up the fight the night NASA’s “Mohawk Guy” caught the President’s eye . . . when the President of the U.S. hinted that he wishes he could have a Mohawk.

 

It doesn’t hurt the growing acceptance of Mohawks in the workplace that America’s most famous Silicon Valley mega-corporation, Google, allows Mohawks in the office. 

 

 

One of the Google guys in the photo above explains it thusly:  “Two of my favorite colleagues at Google had Mohawks, and they decided that I needed a Mohawk, too. So on the last day of my internship, one gave me a buzz.”  Thus helping to make the American workplace a little bit safer for Mohawks.  Who wants to work for stuffy IBM when you can work for a really cool company like Google?

 

Here’s Google’s top-ranked Director of Marketing, Brett Crosby, joining those with enough balls to wear a Mohawk in the workplace – at least for a few days:

 

 I’VE WORN MY OWN MOHAWK IN SOME OF THE MOST UPPER-CLASS, EXCLUSIVE PLACES YOU CAN IMAGINE – WITH NEVER A SINGLE ADVERSE REACTION......at five-star, white tablecloth restaurants, at two of the most exclusive, high-society, private clubs in America, at operas, churches, funerals, weddings, prestigious business meetings, government offices,  even on the floor of a state legislature – and not one single person has ever objected.  Not once.  Not ever.  Not in six long years. 

 

Quite the contrary.  To my amazement, most of the people in those exclusive places loved it and went way out of their way to tell me how much they loved it. Go figure.  The reaction has been so overwhelmingly positive and congratulatory that now I can’t get rid of my Mohawk, because I’d disappoint so many people who want me to keep it. 

 

Yes, I realize that’s sort of a good news/bad news situation.  It’s bad news because…..well, OK, let’s be honest.…half the fun of being  Mohawked is its legendary power to shock.   Half the fun is knowing with certainty that it really takes balls to wear a Mohawk.   

 

WHY ARE MOHAWKS MORE ACCEPTABLE NOW THAN THEY WERE A COUPLE OF DECADES AGO? 

Why – and how – did the Mohawk suddenly become amazingly respectable, even in prestigious social settings?  Well, I suspect it may be tied to the fact that 30 years ago, a man with his head shaved bald was something of a curiosity – something to be stared at, like an escapee from a prison, a victim of freshman hazing, or a military recruit in boot camp:

Thirty years ago, the sight of a strip of bare scalp carved through a man's hair by the clippers was shocking.

But now-a-days, a man with a shaven head is not only totally acceptable virtually everywhere (even running for high political office or in corporate board rooms)– it’s actually considered very stylish, very professional, very upscale, and intensely masculine. 

 

And when Americans gradually noticed that half of their military heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan had shaved heads – well, that too got most Americans completely comfortable with the sight of a shaved scalp.  Every American guy wanted to look like those shaven military guys.  Bring on the clippers!!! 

 

So my theory is that the now-total acceptance of men who are shaved bald has, by extension, made the world a lot safer for the Mohawk.   After all, as I said before, a Mohawk is just a head-shave with a little tuft left behind.  So what’s the big difference? 

In other words........What initially made Mohawks so shocking 30 years ago was not so much the hair left standing erect.  What was so shocking in those early days was the fact that the sides of the head had been shaved bald.  It was the shaving process that shocked people.  The general public in those days just couldn't conceive of why any man would shave any of his hair off.  That was what happened to college freshmen being initiated.  Therefore, when totally shaved heads finally became widely popular and acceptable virtually everywhere, it made Mohawks seem a lot less shocking.

Also helping to make the world safe for Mohawks were U.S. Marines and Army Rangers with their distinctive and widely admired “recon” haircut (seen below), which is . . . well,  just a Mohawk without a tail.  Check out the awesome recon haircut on the military man below.  Add a tail, and you've got . . . well, a military Mohawk:

 

Most Americans found it difficult to complain about anything their military heroes did.  So if large numbers of the military were proudly wearing little tufts of hair on their otherwise shaven heads . . . well, then it must be perfectly OK . . . because these men were red-blooded, All-American heroes.  And once those recon haircuts were acceptable, it was hard for anyone to draw much of a distinction between the recon cuts and Mohawks.  If one was OK, then maybe the other was OK too.  

And when the designers of a wildly popular video combat game, Call of Duty, gave a Mohawk to one of their biggest fictional heroes, Captain Soap MacTaqvish – becoming one of the most widely admired Mohawks in history --  that likewise helped to cement the popularity of the Mohawk.

 

In addition, the increasing acceptance of the Mohawk may be the result of the fact that Americans just aren’t as uptight as they used to be.  They’re much more open now to informality, to individualism, to exploring new fashion ideas – and to just plain having fun, even with haircuts.  .

Star player Mitch Creek of Australia’s National Basketball League agrees.  He says he hopes this Mohawk that he flaunts on the basketball floor provides momentum in his hope that others can “be themselves.” 

Inspired to submit to a Mohawk by an in-team challenge, Mitch says "I don't really care what people think about my Mohawk.  I want to get the message out there that it's OK to be yourself.  I've shaved my head….. It's all about being yourself.  I hope it encourages others to feel good about who they are."  Right on, Mitch!!!   (Nice Mohawk, by the way.)  He had guts enough to pave the way for you to get one.  So don’t disappoint him.  Submit to the clippers like he did.

One of the biggest contributing factors to the rapidly exploding popularity of the Mohawk has been the series of "Mad Max" movies, with their bands of roving bad guys wearing Mohawks and biker leathers..  


Since then, Mad Max costumes have been a huge hit at Halloween parties . . . which immediately provided a great excuse for guys to explore their inner Mad Max by shaving their hair into Mohawks.  "Gee, boss, I had to do it for this Halloween party.  I was sure you'd understand."

Here's a Mohawked female guard in Max Max's "Thunderdome."

Miley Cyrus shaved her hair into a Mohawk . . . and donned a full-scale, biker leather Mad Max costume.

Cool!!!

 

And reportedly it was the Mad Max movies that inspired recording artist Cassie to shave her hair into a Mohawk. .  

Shortly afterward, Cassie unleashed her real Mad Max alter-ego by also shaving the other side of her head to make a full-bore Mohawk.  Nice!!!

TV audiences all over America were stunned when Cassie and Pink showed up at the MTV Music Awards with matching Mohawks . . . and TV viewers began to wonder if Mohawks were taking over the world.  Chalk it up to Mad Max.

Also fueling the exploding popularity of Mohawks are the ancient, leather-clad Nordic warriors in the TV series "Vikings," with their Mohawk-like haircuts.-- further proof of the powerful warrior image conveyed by a Mohawk.

 

WITH YOUR MOHAWK, YOU’LL MEET TEN TIMES MORE PEOPLE:  You’ll be stunned by how many strangers you will meet, just because they admire your haircut.  Total strangers who would never have dreamed of coming up to you in a public place, introducing themselves, and striking up a conversation will now do so, just because they admire your guts for daring to wear a Mohawk.  Men, women, teenagers, little old blue-haired ladies, soldiers on leave, people in society restaurants, high-ranking government officials – people of all ages, all classes, from the funkiest beer hall to the fanciest society church – will go out of their way just to tell you how much they love your Mohawk.

Because of my Mohawk, I meet hundreds of fascinating strangers I would never have met in a million years. Your Mohawk will be life-changing!!!

The 2005 New York Times article – the one that said the Mohawk has finally become acceptable in polite society – remarked on that same phenomenon, . . . the fact that the sight of a Mohawk somehow causes total strangers to strike up conversations.  The Times quoted a Mohawked, 17-year-old New Jersey guy as saying:  ''I'm not too good at communicating with people.  I like people communicating with me. People look at me and say: 'I want to talk to that guy. He looks pretty cool.' I like the attention my hair gets.'' 

 

At first I thought maybe people were just being polite.  I thought maybe they were just paying my haircut compliments, because they were so shocked, they couldn’t think of anything else to say.  But I quickly found out that wasn’t the case at all.  I quickly noticed that large numbers of people were actually going way out of their way to speak to me – crossing crowded rooms or crowded stores, even crossing streets just to accost me and say how much they love my Mohawk. When you cross a crowded room to tell someone you really love their Mohawk, that’s not just being polite. It happens scores of times every week – often four or five times a day.  It’s truly phenomenal.

 

I was gassing up my car at a gas station when some guy crossed two rows of gas pumps to get to me.  He grabbed my hand and started shaking it, saying:  “I just had to shake your hand and tell you how much I admire you for having the balls to wear a Mohawk.”  Then, two weeks later at another gas station, the exact same thing was repeated by another guy, in almost the same words. 

My wife and I were standing outside a biker bar when this biker chick spotted my Mohawk from all the way inside the bar.  She ran out of the bar, threw her arms around me, gave me a big hug, and exclaimed:  "I Just LOVE your Mohawk!!!".....while my wife's jaw dropped open.  

My wife and I have old friends who are very conservative church people.  My wife said, “I’m worried about what Millie will say when she sees your Mohawk for the first time.  So was I.  But imagine my surprise when Millie threw her arms around me, asked if she could feel my Mohawk – and said:  “That’s the best thing you’ve ever done!  I love it!”  Go figure.  I guarantee you will have hundreds of similar experiences – fun experiences -- when you shave your head into a Mohawk.

 

I recently attended a reunion of people I used to work with at one of the most prestigious corporations in town.  Again, my wife said:  “What will they say when they see your Mohawk?” Not to worry.  Once again, my haircut turned out to be the hit of the party.  Person after person said:  “I love the Mohawk.” 

 

BUT WILL I BE STARED AT?  Well, of course.  That’s half the fun of it.  But you’ll be stared in a good way – the same nice way everyone in a room notices when a guy walks in wearing a military uniform.  So savor the moment.  It’s the most fun you’ll have in a very long time.   All the guys in the room will be envious.  Most of the women will want to touch it.

 

HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WILL ASK TO TAKE YOUR PICTURE – ALWAYS WITH THEM IN IT BESIDE YOU:   Judging from some of the comments elsewhere on this Website, that seems to irritate some Mohawked guys.  But not me.  I love it – and I think you will too.  Take it as the ultimate compliment.  It means people are so impressed with your Mohawk, they want to remember the moment. 

And many of them secretly want a photo of yours so they can copy the look when they shave their own head into a Mohawk.  Trust me – you’ll meet hundreds of really nice people that way, because after they take your photo, they usually want to talk with you about it – why did you do it?....what’s it like wearing a Mohawk?....what’s the real  story behind it? 

I’ll admit it does drive my wife crazy, because she can’t walk through a shopping mall with me without getting interrupted several times by people wanting us to stop for a picture.  

 


Recently when my wife and I had dinner at a very fancy, expensive restaurant, I was a little worried about a possible adverse reaction when I noticed that a large party of eight or ten gray-haired, very elderly society ladies wearing expensive gowns kept sneaking glances at my haircut from across the snobby dining room.  I thought they were irritated by my scalp lock. Finally one of the little old ladies approached my table.  I thought, "Uh-oh -- here comes trouble."

But instead, the little old lady said: “I’m terribly embarrassed to bother you.  But the other ladies sent me over here to ask if you’d mind posing for a picture with all of us?  They love your Mohawk.”  They put their arms around me, and one of them snapped the photo – while one of them rubbed my scalp lock.    

 

LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE WILL ASK IF THEY CAN FEEL YOUR BRISTLY TUFT:  Get used to it.  That too seems to irritate some Mohawked guys elsewhere on this Website.  But not me.  I love it.  You will too.  Just as with people wanting to take your photo, consider it to be the ultimate compliment.  Face it – Mohawk tufts were just made for touching.  It just plain feels good – same pleasant sensation you get from running your hand over the bristles of a shoebrush.  

Enjoy the feel -- and let others touch it too.  

 

 

 

Watch a guy getting his first Mohawk, and what’s the first thing he does when the last of his locks have fallen?  He can’t wait to reach up and run his hand over the tuft.   Why?  Just because it feels good, that’s why.

 

As one female fan wrote online about Puck,the Mohawked football player on the TV program Glee, “I want to have babies with his hair.”  (See photo of Puck below.)  Hey, if it causes women to react like that, then it’s worth all the stares.  So instead of getting irritated, stop a moment, lower your head, and let ‘em run their hands over it to their heart’s content.  Savor the moment!!!  You only live once. 


ADMIT IT – MOHAWKS ARE INCREDIBLY SEXY:
   Shhhh.  That’s the big secret that most Mohawked guys never talk about – but it’s true.  Why else do you think so many guys love to get them?  Why else do you think their girlfriends pressure them to get Mohawked?  But don’t let the secret out.  That might spoil the fun.

 

Decades ago, when I was a young guy in my 20s with a Mohawk – back in the days when hardly anyone but professional wrestlers  and football linemen dared to wear Mohawks (even before the punk rockers adopted the hair cut) -- I was once a little afraid I might be out of place at a fancy theater in the dress circle – until I gradually became aware of someone ruffling my Mohawk from the row of seats behind me.  I turned around to find a high-society matron in an expensive gown ruffling my bristly tuft with her fingers.  She uttered not a single word – just sat there gently and sensually stroking my tuft without asking.   


Fortunately it was dark in the theater, so very few members of the audience saw what she was doing.  Without a word and without asking permission, she just reached out and did it…..and kept on doing it for several minutes while the play continued.  So I asked her to cut it out, right?

Hell no I didn't.  I loved every minute of it.  One of the sexiest experiences I've ever had.  Years later, another woman asked me if she could feel my scalp lock.  "Well, of course," I said.  "That's what it's there for -- for people to feel."


 "Oooh," said another woman.  "It's so soft and fuzzy -- and sexy. I love the way it feels!!!  Can I rub it again?"

"Of course you can," said I, bending forward so she could reach my scalp lock again.  "Rub it to your heart's content."

The average two or three inch wide strip of hair, if it's left fairly soft and fluffy, is the perfect width to fit the hand of whoever is feeling it.  .  

You'll discover that your bristly tuft takes on such a personality of its own that people refer to it as "it." You almost feel like you ought to give it a name. 

Why are Mohawks so sexy?  Who knows.  Let’s just say that a Mohawk on a man is fiercely masculine – reminiscent of a Spartan soldier’s horse-mane helmet (photo below) or an Indian warrior’s scalp lock or a rooster’s comb.  That's probably why they’re so popular with football players, mixed martial arts athletes, and professional wrestlers – and why society matrons in fancy gowns at opera houses love to feel them from behind. 

Here's another view of the ancient Spartan helmet.  Notice the similarity to the scalp lock on the man above?

 

So you can see above why Mohawks on men are so often described as "Spartan haircuts."   

YOUR MOHAWK IS A WONDERFUL TRIBUTE TO THE AMERICAN HEROES WHO PARACHUTED BEHIND NAZI LINES TO LIBERATE EUROPE DURING THE NORMANDY INVASION:  As for those Mohawks on the combat helmets of ancient Spartan warriors . . . that's not the only military history of that great warrior haircut.  Do you know who it was that first popularized the Mohawk in modern times as a haircut envied around the world?  

It was courageous U.S. Army paratroopers of the famed 101st Airborne Division who adopted that Indian warrior haircut for their combat jump behind Nazi lines for the Normandy Invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944 . . . the invasion in which so many thousands of American heroes died to liberate Europe from the Nazis.  The military newspaper "Stars and Stripes" took a famous photo of those Mohawked paratroopers and flashed it around the world.  And suddenly thousands of teenagers all over the world wanted a haircut just like their American heroes.  That shoulder patch on the shoulder of the Mohawked trooper above is the famous "Screaming Eagles" patch of the 101st Airborne Division.

Two years later, on March 24, 1945, when American paratroopers of another division, the 17th Airborne Division, parachuted across the Rhine River to begin the final, decisive push toward Berlin, they had obviously seen those "Stars and Stripes" photos of the Mohawked paratroopers of the 101st Division -- so they copied the Mohawks.  Here are two historic photos of Mohawked paratroopers of the 17th Airborne Division preparing for the Rhine River combat jump.  What a great way to create unit pride!!!

Many of the Mohawked American heroes in the photos above -- volunteers for hazardous duty -- died in those invasions.  Casualty rates were very high -- especially in the Normandy jump..  So how could any high school principal ever again complain about the neatly-trimmed, conservative Mohawk of any youngster who is, in effect, paying an intensely powerful tribute to "The Greatest Generation" of American heroes by copying their proud Mohawks? . . . the American Mohawks that liberated Europe and were envied around the world.  It's a clean-cut, All-American image.  

And to the youngsters who wear them, I would say:  Wear your Mohawk proudly!!!  A lot of brave American soldiers died making that haircut an enduring symbol of American freedom.  Look at the surprisingly young Mohawked paratrooper in the photo above.  He was your age -- if he survived the next 48 hours.  Doesn't look a day over 18.  He and those other  Mohawked paratroopers earned you the right to wear that haircut . . . the hard way . . . with their lives.

So when you screw up enough courage to submit to a Mohawk, remember those heroes.  You honor them by carrying on their haircut tradition.  I would say the same to high school principals.

 

And when your favorite football hero takes to the field with a daring Mohawk . . .

. . . likewise think of those brave American heroes of World War Two who earned him the right to wear it.  I can think of no better way to honor those American paratroopers who died to protect freedom than to know that forever after -- whenever we see a Mohawk -- we will remember their courage and their sacrifice from three-quarters of a century ago.

(Again, for my complete military history of the Mohawk, see my separate blog elsewhere on this "Mohawks Rock" Website.  Click here.)

MOHAWKS  HAVE BECOME WILDLY POPULAR AS A WAY FOR ATHLETIC TEAMS TO BOND:   

With every passing year, it becomes more and more popular for athletic teams headed for the playoffs or headed for an unusually big game to get Mohawks for the entire team.  Some team members get them for the entire season. 

It’s seen as a strong “bonding experience”  when every member of the team is equally willing to get stared at for awhile in order to establish  visual recognition for the team as a single, cohesive unit.  

One college football player explained why he and a fellow team member got matching Mohawks:  “I just got out the razor.  He did my hair, I did his.  It was a nice brotherly bonding experience. Coach wants his players to bond. What's a better way to bond than to give each other Mohawks?”

 

Here (below) 's another high school where the entire football team bonded with each other by getting Mohawks.  

The high school football team members below submit to Mohawks every year for the big game. as a bonding experience.  As their local newspaper put it:  "Some teams bond over dinner, but the Mount Vernon football team finds unity through their hair."  After football practices every day, the team shaved another player -- one each day.   Eventually 15 players went under the clippers in a fun ritual that was stretched out over 15 days.  “It really gets people pumped up,” said one junior.    

Many of the team members agreed that the strip of hair on their heads was representative of team unity. The newspaper said the boys not only liked what the Mohawks represented, but they actually enjoyed the ritual haircuts.  “I love it,” said one senior.  “It’s a good presence."  

“That’s what we do during big game week,” said one senior. The photo below shows what the shaven players looked like.  Wow -- great look, guys!!!

On other teams, quite often an individual team member will have his head shaved into a Mohawk to demonstrate his intense, total commitment to the team.  The college linebacker on the right in the photo below said:  "Some people think I'm an idiot -- but when they see it, everybody knows I play football."  He said his coach told him, "If you shave it off, I'll kill you." His coach said the linebacker's haircut was a good luck omen for the entire team.  So the coach said he wouldn't let him shave it off.

Some high school teams take the "team Mohawk" one step further and carve their jersey numbers into the side of their football Mohawk, leaving small tufts of hair to form the numbers -- thus carrying one step further the philosophy of the football player mentioned earlier who said he loves his Mohawk "because now everybody knows I play football."

Or sometimes team members will shave their jersey number directly into their Mohawk strip . . . as seen by the number 8 in the photo below:

 

Sometimes football's super-aggressive linemen like to modify the football Mohawk into an arrow to show the world that they are fiercely committed to driving forward on the field:

One of the many football players to proudly adopt the Mohawk is Tom Zbikowski, and no athlete ever looked better in a Mohawk:  

Linebacker Shayne Skov was famous at Stanford for consistently having his head shaved into a Mohawk for the full duration of every football season.  Regrettably, at last report, he had not yet revived the Mohawk during his career with the San Francisco 49ers.   Hurry up and grab the clippers, Shayne.  We miss the Mohawk:

 

Skov apparently talked three other Stanford players into submitting to Mohawks.  (Skov is second from the left below.)

Tight end Matt Gothe at the University of South Florida was famous for keeping his football Mohawk for the entire season, becoming an instant icon for the team;s fans -- quickly followed by more than 40 other members of his team who also got Mohawked, making that haircut a symbol of the team..

"You see a football player with a Mohawk," said Kentucky linebacker Wesley Woodyard, "you've got to respect him. That shows he has a lot of courage in himself to go out there. He is going to have a lot of people looking at him, so he has to be a playmaker."

Football player Andre Woodson agrees.  ""It takes a lot of confidence in his manhood," Woodson said. "And some guys can pull it off."

Tight end Ryan O'Malley at the University of Pennsylvania sported an excellent Mohawk:  

 

And New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich:

And Safety Eric Weddle of the San Diego Chargers

And Alabama defensive lineman Jesse Williams.

And here's Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Jason Mott enjoying the feel of his freshly shaven Mohawk.  Feels nice and bristly, doesn't it?

And former major league baseball star Eric Kinske.


The Detroit Tigers (below)  do a little team bonding with matching Mohawks.  Nice job!!! Someone on that team is a master with the clippers.



 

Here's another shot of a Detroit Tiger with a freshly shaved Mohawk.  Nice one!!!

They always look best when freshly shaved.

 

And here's Drake Britton of the Boston Red Sox.

Nice one!!!  

But the most famous baseball Mohawk of all time was probably the memorable "Mohawk mullet" that relief pitcher Brian Wilson wore when he and the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in  2014 -- helping to make the world safe for the Mohawk and inspiring bazillions of teenage baseball players who wanted a haircut just like his.  

His World Series Mohawk was so famous, it even got him a guest shot on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he was asked about his famous haircut.  

One year later, playing for the L.A. Dodgers, Wilson was sporting an even greater looking Mohawk, which by then he had re-trimmed to look much more like an Indian warrior.

One of the alltime great athlete Mohawks..   

Below is NBA basketball star Chris Andersen -- with a youngster who obviously admires Andersen's famous Mohawk.  .

Swimming team members love Mohawks too.  

They usually prefer short jockhawks, because they retain their shape in pool water.

The wrestler below may be losing the match . . . but what a great Mohawk.  And freshly shaven too.  A thousand dudes would like to sport one like that.  

 

The photos of star athletes wearing Mohawks are endless . . . far too many to print here . . . thousands of them.  So many athletes that clearly the haircut is no longer just a punk rock thing.  It has finally become a clean-cut, athletic, All-American style . . . thus finally ensuring its acceptability almost anywhere.

                           

MOHAWKS AS INITIATION RITUALS: 

OK, guys.  No discussion of the enormous popularity of Mohawks would be complete without mentioning one of the most common (and controversial) places for guys to get them -- initiations.  Athletic team initiations,  Freshman initiations in colleges and high schools.  Fraternity initiations.  Crossing the equator initiations.

You may be surprised to hear that this is precisely where the popularity of the Mohawk began -- as an initiation ritual.

And you may be even more surprised to learn who was the first American to be Mohawked during an initiation ritual.  It happened more than 200 years ago in the winter of 1777 in the midst of the American Revolution.  The initiate's name was Boone......Daniel Boone.  Yup, THAT Daniel Boone.  One of America's most famous frontiersmen, explorers and Indian fighters.  

Here's how a Classics Illustrated comic book back in the late 1930s or early 1940s depicted that early-day initiation ceremony when Boone was captured by Shawnee Indians in frontier Kentucky, adopted into the tribe as one of their warriors, given the warrior name of "Sheltowee," and forced to submit to what today we would call a Mohawk haircut:  

 It may seem odd indeed that the first white man ever forced to endure an Indian warrior haircut was a famous Indian fighter . . . (say what???) . . . but real history is sometimes even stranger than fiction.  

Here's the backstory on Boone's initiation as an Indian warrior.  While attempting to launch a white settlement (Boonesborough) in 1770 in the middle of hostile Indian country in frontier Kentucky, Boone was captured by Shawnee Indians.  His captors eventually came to admire Boone's skills as a white warrior so much, they decided to adopt him into their tribe.

But first he had to undergo an initiation ritual as an Indian warrior.  It was a tough initiation, part of which required him to endure having all the hairs plucked out of his scalp (ouch), except for a tuft vaguely resembling what today we would call a Mohawk.  (Sorry -- there were no electric clippers in the Kentucky wilderness of 1777.)  

 

Hey, awesome Mohawk, dude!!!  Don't quite know how to tell you this, Dan -- I mean Sheltowee -- but your initiation Mohawk looks a heck of a lot cooler than that dorky coonskin cap and the long hair you'd been wearing.  My advice:  stick with the Mohawk.

Boone must have liked his initiation haircut, because he kept it for several months while he lived with the Indians.  

 

But one historian's description of Boone's initiation hair sounds more like a U.S. Marine's "recon" haircut:  "In Daniel Boone's captivity among the Shawnee, the scalplock is described as follows:  The Ceremony of adoption was pretty severe and painful.  All the hair of the head was plucked out by a tedious operation, leaving simply a tuft three or four inches in diameter on the crown.  This was called the scalp lock.  The hair was here allowed to grow long, and was dressed with ribbons and feathers.  It was to an individual warrior what a banner is to an army. . . . Having thus denuded the head, and dressed the scalp lock, the candidate was taken [nude] to the river and very thoroughly scrubbed [in the midst of February snows?]"

That historian's description above of Boone's initiation scalp lock could probably be used to describe the incredible power of the modern Mohawk.  "It was to an individual warrior what a banner is to an army."  Right on!!!

So Daniel Boone thus became the first white man to ever wear a Mohawk.  And, by acquiring it during an initiation, he started a trend.  Because, for almost the next 200 years, the only Mohawks anyone ever saw on white men were the results of initiation rituals.  

Prior to about 1975, except for historical photos of Mohawked paratroopers during the Normandy Invasion, most Americans never saw a Mohawk except on some high school or college freshman being initiated by upperclassmen.  Until about 1975, hardly anyone wore a Mohawk voluntarily.  In those early days, if you were startled by the sight of a guy wearing a Mohawk, your first question was likely to be:  "So how long does the initiation last?"  

One of the best illustrations of the traditional "initiation Mohawk" is the historic photo below of sophomores bowing their heads to show off the Mohawks inflicted upon them by upperclassmen upon their elevation to the University of Nebraska varsity football team.in the autumn of 1950.  Neat!!!

 

The sophomores being initiated were forced to keep their Mohawks for a week or two so that everyone who saw them would know they played football.

Back in the 1950s, every autumn the sports pages showed off the Cornhusker football team's latest initiation haircuts -- like this victim -- a great tradition. 

At about the same time, on October 1, 1949, an Associated Press dispatch reported that upperclassmen at Dartmouth College decided to inflict a mass punishment on large numbers of freshmen caught without their freshman beanies by shaving all their heads into Mohawks.


Since the Dartmouth football team in those days was known as the "Dartmouth Indians," the upperclassmen left the freshmen with Indian scalp locks atop their shaven heads. 

When someone complained to Dean of Students Lloyd Neidlinger, the dean, to his everlasting credit, responded by suggesting that the haircutting fun be expanded rather than curtailed.  He suggested that the sophomores responsible for the humiliating head shaves should themselves voluntarily submit to “free haircuts” by angered freshmen.  They did.  Thus prolonging the fun.

As a result, the Associated Press article said "for the past few days" many Dartmouth freshmen and sophomores "have been displaying distinctive Indian scalp-locks.”

Back in those days in the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s -- before the advent of anti-hazing laws destroyed the fun -- this is the sort of freshman initiation haircut that was routinely inflicted every September on tens of thousands of new students on hundreds of high school and college campuses all over America.   

Did those bald-headed freshmen in the photo above resent what was done to them?  Heck, no.  The victims took time to carefully pose for the camera, heads bowed, to proudly show off their initiation head shaves.  

In those days, every autumn, tens of thousands of American boys expected to get their heads shaved by the upper classmen, and most of them looked forward to the initiation as a rite of passage for the sense of belonging it brought -- a fun experience to remember for the rest of their lives.  


One fraternity at a major Ivy League college has a long and cherished tradition that their freshman pledges always go into their initiation night with their heads shaved with strange designs.  The head shaving was originally forced on the pledges, but now the quirky haircuts are entirely voluntary.  The pledges do it to themselves to carry on the tradition.   They go to their initiation with unusual haircuts or swirls, designs or words shaved into their hair.

“It’s a completely voluntary thing,” said one member of the fraternity.  “There’s no problem with anyone who doesn’t cut their hair. The pledges cut their own hair. It’s smiled upon and it’s amusing.  They do it to show unity of the class.”

So before reporting to the upperclassmen for "hell night," the pledges show their own excitement and their willingness to submit to initiation by voluntarily carving embarrassing haircuts into other's scalps -- after which they report to the upperclassmen to submit to the rest of their initiation, having already inflicted part of the initiation ritual on themselves.  What a great and unusual ritual.  It's a ceremony they'll remember with pleasure for decades to come.

The school newspaper reports that for a week or two afterward, the entire campus is treated to the bizarre results of the pledges' self-inflicted initiation haircuts.  ..    


 

At one high school, the penalty for missing an early-morning swim team practice without permission is a head shave.  So one freshman said when he accidentally overslept and missed a practice, the other team members punished him by forcing him to submit to a Mohawk.  

But he ended up liking his punishment Mohawk so much, he spent the next two months re-trimming it every few days to keep it looking neat for a month or two.  He was disappointed when his Mom finally  made him get rid of it. Aw, Mom!!!

But his fellow team members warned him if he overslept again, they'd shave his head into yet another Mohawk -- and they'd keep doing it till he learned to get there on time.  

 

But the last we heard, he was hoping his alarm clock would fail again.

("Mom, I had no choice.  They punished me again.")   

Another freshman (photo at right and below) says when his baseball team initiated him by shaving his hair, not into a Mohawk, but into a so-called "bi-hawk,"  he liked it so well, he kept it for awhile.  He says he deliberately wore the initiation haircut to church on Sunday morning, just to enjoy what he described as the "priceless looks on people's faces."

That's half the fun of getting an initiation haircut -- showing it off to everyone.

 

For more than 30 years, this high school swim team shown on the left has has a long and hallowed tradition of initiation rituals in which they shave the heads of freshmen just joining the team into Mohawks and other humiliating designs.  

But the freshmen "victims"

love it and look forward to it every year for the powerful sense of bonding that it brings. On this initiation night, 23 swimmers were carved up by the 17 upperclassmen who had their own heads shaved in previous years.  They figured if they could take it and enjoy it, so could the new initiates.  They were right.

“I look awesome,” said the victim on the left whose shaven head was left with short tufts of dirty blond hair extending outward from his ears. “I belong on the cover of ‘People’ magazine.”  He said the event is an initiation rite that all newcomers have
come to expect.  “This is a really good swimming program," he said, as the upperclassmen stiffened the tufts over his ears. “But it comes with consequences.” And the consequences are submitting to a humiliating haircut that gets stared at for a few days.  “My life is over,” said the guy on the right with a grin as he felt the bull's eye shaved into his scalp.  But the night was just beginning for the boys participating in a head-shaving ritual that has been in place since 1980. Every year, the team has a pasta feast and shaving ceremony prior to its biggest meet of the state tournament, where the first-year members of the team go under the razor at the hands of their upperclassman teammates. There were a few Mohawks, always a popular initiation haircut, along with the more bizarre designs.   

Because the school has strict rules, their heads must be cleanly shaven by the time the swimmers appear back on school grounds. But with winter break conveniently scheduled the following week, the athletes had a few extra days to enjoy sporting their initiation haircuts, so they can prove to everyone that they had the balls to go through the initiation..    

The coach, who submitted to having his own head shaved as a freshman in 1988, said the tradition began as a team bonding experience meant to intimidate opponents. But he said over the years, creativity in the haircuts has become as important as intimidation.  As an extra incentive, he promised the athletes that if they won that year's state title, he'd let them shave his own head "as ugly as that'll be."  We never heard whether he managed to hold onto his hair.  Hopefully not.

But since he too had already been through it as a freshman 22 years earlier, he should be able to endure a little embarrassment for the sake of his athletes.

Here's how one college newspaper describes the annual initiation haircuts that their school's baseball team inflicts every year on their freshman players:  "According to the older players, this tradition is a part of the freshmen gaining the respect from their veteran teammates and handling the head shaves with a smile.  They all knew it was coming, but on Monday the eight freshmen walked into the locker room to find several hair trimmers lined up, and they automatically knew what was about to happen. Nervously, they took their seats and allowed their teammates to go to work on their hair with complete freedom.The result is shown below.  Cool.

The school newspaper said:  "The freshmen bit their tongues and toughed it out. These horrid hairstyles had to be worn around school for more than 24 hours (no hats allowed) as well as flaunted at chapel in front of the entire student body. Conveniently, the baseball team sits in the front row, allowing their hair to be on display for everyone to see."

The school newspaper's reporter said:  "From what I have heard from the guys, they had a good attitude about it and knew that it is simply a part of being on the team."

Here's the sort of reaction those hazed baseball players above must have gotten from their fellow students during the 24 hours that they were forced to wear the bizarre haircuts to class without a hat.  (See photo below.)  This guy is at another college with a similar initiation that required initiates to wear the haircut everywhere for a few days -- but you get the idea.  This guy definitely has balls.

 

Here's are rookie soccer players at a Missouri high school submitting to the annual freshman head shaving during their initiation onto the school's varsity soccer team.   

.

  


And here's the truly memorable initiation haircut inflicted on a rookie soccer player in Argentina.   Great job!!!

A perennial favorite for initiations is the "reverse Mohawk" . . . popular because it looks especially humiliating . . . because this obviously was no mistake.  Because obviously someone deliberately set out to mutilate this guys hair.    .

One quick glance, and you can almost hear the buzzing clippers plowing through the poor "victim's" hair.  With a swath like this carved through the middle of your hair, there's no hiding the fact that you're being initiated.

But here's the all-time greatest NFL initiation Mohawk. This grinning rookie kicker for the Washington Redskins is Zack Hocker.  He calls it a "horizontal Mohawk" . . . also known as a "crosscut Mohawk" or "sideways Mohawk."  

On initiation night, the team members gave him a choice of performing a skit or cheerfully submitting to whatever haircut the team chose for him.  He chose the haircut.

So the team sat him on stage, held up photographs of three different initiation haircuts, and let the team vote on which embarrassing haircut to inflict on the hapless rookie.  

The team chose the picture of the "horizontal Mohawk," and Hocker's fate was sealed.  A veteran player picked up the clippers and went to work on the victim.  

Good sport that he is, Hocker immediately posted a photo of his own humiliation on Twitter for all the fans to see, with the comment:  "No one ever said your rookie season would be easy."  

He was supposed to wear it for a week until after the pre-season opening game -- no hats allowed.  Hocker said he wanted to shave it off before the game, but NBC said as of press time his teammates had yet to give him permission. 

A lineman for an opposing team said: "What they've put that poor young kid through makes me sick to my stomach."  But the victim himself took it all in stride with good humor and a big grin.

Recently, as football players all over the U.S. were reporting to practice, one sportswriter announced that the initiation haircuts sweeping almost every NFL football team had now reached down to the college level.  The younger guys wanted to get in on the haircutting fun.


He printed this photo of the bizarre initiation haircuts inflicted on freshman players at the University of Minnesota, saying "haircut hazing has now reached epidemic proportions."

He added:  "I don’t ever remember more rookies — and now freshmen — with bad haircuts leading up to the regular season. Freshmen all over the country should now beware: Haircut hazing has reached the collegiate level."

A FORMER HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL PLAYER POSTED ON THE INTERNET THIS  FOND DESCRIPTION OF BEING GIVEN AN “INITIATION MOHAWK” – AND WHY HE THINKS IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE

 

“I have been through hazing. My junior year I was told to get a Mohawk.  Everyone on the varsity baseball team was supposed to.


“Then, a year later, my Senior year, I in turn told the  juniors to get Mohawked.. We all met at a teammate's house. He provided the buzzer.

"The team sat around and watched as one after the other had their hair fall to the floor. Some kids were more reluctant to do it than others, but come Opening Day, we all had the same haircut.

“We were one.

“Hazing," he said, "is a part of team culture at all levels. To me, it is all about bringing a group together, making them closer. At its best, hazing can build camaraderie while initiating participants into a select group. That is what it is meant to do. That is what the definition of the word should be. . . ."

"Hazing," he said, "is carrying a pink backpack to the bullpen or dressing up in costume or getting team Mohawks. Sometimes it is worse; there have been stories of players being tied to poles or forced haircuts.  Yet, even in its ugliest forms, hazers will argue that their actions are about initiation. .

. .

“No one made me get a Mohawk those last two seasons of baseball.  It was something most everyone did, not because anyone was afraid of the seniors, but because a silly haircut gave us all a sense of unity. It strengthened our bond as a team. That was the intention and it worked."

“It did what hazing is supposed to do, what it was meant to do," he said.

“No one was hurt or injured or scarred, neither mentally nor physically.”

Well said!!!  That's one of the best descriptions I ever read of why initiation haircuts are fun.

 

THE U.S. NAVY'S "CROSSING THE EQUATOR" INITIATION PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN POPULARIZING MOHAWKS  

Another huge generator of shaved heads and embarrassing haircuts -- including a lot of Mohawks -- has been the age-old initiation of sailors crossing the equator for the first time.  

That's when veteran sailors pretend to be Neptune, the ancient god of the sea, taking over the ship from the captain for the express purpose of initiating new sailors crossing the equator for the first time, called "polliwogs."  If the polliwog successfully endures the always humiliating and sometimes painful initiation ordeal, then he joins the proud ranks of the "Shellbacks."   .  



The Shellback initiation is a cherished ritual going back more than 400 years to the early days of sailing ships.   In those early centuries, it was such a brutal ritual that it wasn't uncommon for young sailors to lose their lives while being initiated.  In later centuries it was tamed quite a bit.-- but sometimes it can still be a tough, day-long ordeal of humiliation and debasement..

One reason the Mohawk, during World War Two, acquired a reputation as a symbol of toughness was because -- in those days -- if you saw a Mohawk, it was probably worn either by an American paratrooper . . . or by a sailor or Marine who had just crossed the equator and endured one of the most grueling, day-long initiations on record . . . one that made fraternity "hell weeks" seem like a picnic in the park in comparison.. If a sailor or Marine had a temporary Mohawk, you knew he had earned it the hard way.

When this iconic World War Two photo (above and to the right) of a just-initiated U.S. Marine on the Pacific Island of Kwajalein was distributed worldwide in a major American magazine in 1945, it (like the earlier photos of the Mohawked paratroopers during the Normandy invasion) helped enormously to popularize the Mohawk -- which in 1945 was still a shocking new look to most Americans.    

"What attracted my curiosity," the combat correspondent wrote, "was the haircuts of several of the horseshoe players.  Some had their heads half-shaved.  Others had just bristly tufts extending over their otherwise bald pates. (The Mohawk was so new, the reporter didn't even know the name for it.)    'We've just become Shellbacks,' one explained.  "Yesterday we crossed the equator for the first time.  This is what our pals did to us.'"  

The reason the shaven portion of his scalp looked so patchy is because his tormentors shaved him using an old, World War Two era, manually operated hand clipper.  If you have to endure an initiation, just hope your tormentors have access to electric clippers.

So . . . since that roughhouse shipboard ritual played such a historic part in spreading the image of the Mohawk as a symbol of toughness . . . let's take a moment to examine the nature of those "crossing the line" initiations.

CAUTION:  SOME OF THE HISTORIC EQUITORIAL INITIATION SCENES BELOW FROM WORLD WAR TWO AND THE FIRST TWO DECADES AFTER THE WAR CONTAIN NAKEDNESS AND SIMULATED SEX ACTS.  SO IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED, WE SUGGEST YOU STOP READING AT THIS POINT.   But these are historic, wartime,  archival photographs from half a century ago.  Some of these scenes, which may shock you, are the reason the Navy eventually outlawed some aspects of the ritual after about 1990, under pressure from anti-hazing reformers . . . although much of the ritual continues today in a tamer form.  Some of the quotations below from sailors describing now forbidden portions of the ceremony are from a lengthy analysis of the ritual in a scholarly university journal.  

But even today,  that age-old ritual still produces lots of Mohawks and embarrassing haircuts.  

Some of the shocking scenes that you will see below will likely never happen again -- thus infuriating most old-time Navy vets who bitterly resent the partial loss of an age old ritual that once allowed them to prove their toughness.  That was the original purpose of the initiation 400 years ago.  It allowed young sailors joining a ship's crew to prove to their shipmates that they were tough enough to withstand the dangers of life on a sailing vessel.  And an embarrassing haircut -- in later years often a Mohawk -- was proof to their buddies that they had survived the ritual.

Here's a World War Two photo of a U.S. Navy sailor, who has just been subjected to a forced Mohawk during his initiation as a so-called "Shellback."  


A standard part of that grueling, day-long initiation ritual is when the "shellbacks" force the "polywogs" to submit to a haircut from the Royal Barber -- which includes chop-jobs like those inflicted on these two polywogs in World War Two in February 1944 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga enroute to the invasion of the Marshall Islands.  Notice the early-day World War Two Mohawk on the sailor on the left.

Afterward the victims are awarded wallet cards certifying that they have survived the initiation and are now "shellbacks." 

Old Navy men are intensely proud of having endured that tough initiation, so they carry those wallet cards with them for the rest of their Navy careers.  If they lose the wallet card, then they are forced to undergo the initiation all over again the next time they cross the equator.   Some sailors who are careless with their wallets have endured the initiation several times

Here's another Mohawked initiate forced to crawl along the decks during the hazing ritual.

Most civilians had never heard of that humiliating initiation ritual -- didn't even dream it existed -- until February 1945 when another national magazine published the startling World War Two advertisement below, which depicted the initiation barber shaving the head of a young Marine . . . while his grinning buddies swig soft drinks and snap photos of his ordeal to send to the folks back home.

In case the print is too small to read, here's what the ad said:

". . . INITIATING A NEW SUBJECT OF NEPTUNE.  It's a fine old custom -- the good-natured initiation of those who cross the equator for the first time."   

So you think that ad was exaggerating the situation by depicting the smiling, young Marine with his head and hands locked helplessly into wooden stocks while the initiation barber happily uses the clippers to carve bald swaths through his hair?  Think again.  The stocks and the head shaving were standard parts of the ritual -- as you will see in the photos below.

Before the reforms -- as that 1943 advertisement showed --  the initiates were indeed often restrained helplessly in wooden stocks for their "punishment" haircuts and for their ritual paddlings for supposedly entering the equatorial zone without the permission of Neptune, the ancient god of the sea.  Most warships headed for the equator seemed to have carried several sets of wooden stocks to restrain young polywogs for their initiation haircuts.  

So far, the initiation victim above still has his hair intact.  But in another ten minutes, he'll be bald.  Below him we can plainly see the piece of wet canvas fire hose that was traditionally used during these Neptune rituals to paddle initiates.  According to at least one account, retraining the initiates in stocks and pillories has been a traditional part of the initiation since the Middle Ages. 

And here (see below) is another totally exhausted, soaking wet polywog locked in the pillory for his shellback haircut, while his tormentor swats his butt with another section of wet canvas fire hose, again visible beneath the stocks.   He's trying to take his punishment like a man -- but he's totally exhausted from a full day of endless hazing.    

This nude sailor is forced to kneel before Neptune's "Royal Court" to receive his sentence and to be told what his day-long punishment will be.  The following written account from 1945 shows just how tough those "crossing the line" initiations could be in those days.    

"Many of those initiation indignities came in the form of punishment for crimes you will not find listed in Black’s Law Dictionary.

"One seaman was charged with threatening to steal the line of the equator for a kite string."   

The "Royal Surgeon" examines a blindfolded initiate to find out if he's healthy enough to endure the constant paddlings, punishments, head shavings and humiliations that lie ahead.of him.  

The diagnosis is ALWAYS yes -- the victim is ALWAYS found able to endure the day-long ordeal that began before dawn and won't end until late in the day.

To begin receiving their punishment, they are bound by the "Royal Torturer."


According to the written account, "They were then dragged to the pillory, and locked into the wooden stocks at the gunnel [ship's railing],"

While restrained in the stocks, they were paddled, and their heads were shaved . . . or partially shaved . . . or Mohawked.

One scholarly article says the initiates were provided with a "Polywog's Prayer," which said "Please look over us 'wogs' through this upcoming humiliation and torturous initiation. . . . Guide us with dignity to endure the tortures of flogging . . .'"

 

A scholarly article says:  "As the ceremony begins, wogs renounce all claims to their bodies or dignity."

Occasionally the Navy and Coast Guard punished crews for taking the initiations too far -- mainly, it appears, whenever Congress or the news media complained too loudly or when photos like these were circulated too widely..  

But the crackdowns appear to have been rare enough to allow most of the rituals to continue largely unabated -- until around 1990 when many of the excesses were strictly forbidden.

This polywog -- his body smeared with garbage and grease -- is blindfolded as the Royal Barber begins shaving his head.  His haircut design will be a shock when the blindfold is removed.

In addition to being blindfolded and restrained in the stocks, this initiate's legs are also tied with ropes . . . as his tormentors work on both ends of his body.

The Royal Barber shaves a weird pattern in his hair, while other tormentors start removing his shorts.   .

Here's a rear view of the same bound victim.  His shorts have now been removed, and his tormentors are giving him an enema composed of foul smelling garbage and then injecting blue axle grease from the engine room into his rectum and smearing it all over his genitals.

In the World War Two photo below the veteran shellbacks smear blue axle grease on the genitals of a blindfolded initiate whose head is freshly shaven.  Part of his bindings are still dangling from his wrists,   

In this wartime photo from many years ago, another initiate is likewise stripped of his shorts and forced by his grinning buddies to go through the rest of the ritual nude.  There's a big grin on the face of the nude initiate, so he doesn't appear to be upset, as a Shellback in a pirate costume threatens him with a paddle made of canvas fire hose.  

Likewise, the grinning initiates in the wartime photo below are restrained in the stocks as their tormentors humiliate them by unbuttoning their trousers and dropping them to their ankles.

In this old 8 mm home movie footage discovered in the trunk of a long deceased military veteran, a sailor is paddled with fire hoses on his naked buttocks as he emerges from a 20-foot-long canvas sack filled with week-old garbage in this 1957 initiation.. Like we told you, it used to be a really tough initiation -- and that's the way the old-timers say they preferred it.   They insist that the modern Navy has "gone soft."

These nude Coast Guard initiates in that same 1957 ritual proudly show off their shellback haircuts.

The initiates were required to kneel and kiss the grease-covered belly of the "Royal Baby" in a humiliating ritual obviously designed to suggest oral sex.

In the background we can see another polywog ("wog" for short) in the process of being locked into the pillory, while two other totally exhausted, sopping wet "wogs" are forced to remain prone on the deck, face-down, not allowed to look up at their tormentors.  

 

Here another initiate is required to kneel and use his tongue to remove a cherry from the grease-covered belly button of the Royal Baby. 

Then he'll be required to eat the cherry covered with grease from the Royal Baby's belly button. ..

Don't look up, or you'll be dragged back to the stocks for yet another whipping.  

The veteran shellbacks hovering above them with canvas whips have ordered these initiates to keep their heads down.  Like down between the legs of the man in front of them -- for maximum humiliation..

Then they are forced to kneel and kiss the "Sea Hag's" feet.  

This victim still has his hair -- but he won't for much longer.

A World War Two account says "One seaman made the mistake of crying during his ordeal in the Royal Bathtub [filled with sea water and days-old garbage from the ship's galley]."  

For that mistake, the account says, he was bound again, dragged back to the pillory, locked in it again, and whipped with fire hoses a second time -- then forced to repeat the entire initiation.  

 

Some World War Two ships held a "Wog Auction," in which the polywogs were auctioned off as dogs to veteran shellbacks.  Their "masters" put collars and rope leashes on them and made them crawl around the decks all day, performing dog tricks whenever ordered to do so . . . such as rolling over, marking their territory by peeing on the legs of fellow initiates, or simulating sex with other polywog dogs on leashes . . . while their "master" whipped them along with a piece of fire hose.  

One scholarly journal quotes a veteran sailor thusly:  "When you’re a shellback you can pick one or two wogs as your personal wogs; you put them on a leash and run them around the ship. And I had this guy . . . . I often had him screwing or getting screwed by other wogs . . . ."

But even the Wogs who weren't on leashes and collars were still subjected to what was called "wog sex."  The article in a university publication says prior to 1990, "throughout the ceremony, shellbacks simulate anal or oral sex with the pollywogs. . . . [and] in several accounts shellbacks ordered pollywogs to simulate oral and anal sex with each other."  On any other day, such behavior would be severely punished -- but on shellback initiation day everyone winked at it and enjoyed watching.  Or at least they did until 1990.  

The initiate below has a steel collar bolted around his neck, while his wrists and head are locked into wooden stocks.  He's being led around on a chain by a shellback wielding a whip made of fire hose while he waits to go under the clippers.  His fellow initiate on the far right has already had part of his head shaved by the Royal Barber,  The guy in the stocks (below) is about to get the same treatment with the clippers.  Another initiate (2nd from the right) awaits his turn in the stocks .  

Notice that in the photo above, all the initiates are forced to wear the striped clothing of chain gang convicts, marking them for abuse.

The university publication quotes one veteran sailor as saying of his initiation:  "They would give you orders. You are a slave—-someone with no authority whatsoever. So I would get behind this guy and I’d be like this, having [simulated] sex with him [as ordered]  , and everyone would be laughing and stuff. . . . : It was humiliation, but it seemed OK, because everyone else was going through it."

Oldtime Navy guys universally deny that it was ever homoerotic.  "It's never gay when you're forcing them to do it solely to humiliate them.  There's nothing more humiliating than for a straight man to be forced to simulate sex with another man.  And the shellback initiation is all about humiliation -- all about finding out whether he's man enough to endure a little public embarrassment."  

Some observers insist that, instead of being homoerotic, the pre-1990 ritual actually was quite the opposite -- blatantly homophobic -- that the shellbacks forced the initiates to simulate homosexual acts precisely because that's the one thing that would embarrass them more than  anything else.  The university article quotes one Navy veteran as saying: “It’s got to be tough, it’s got to be embarrassing, just so you can say, ‘Yeah, I did it, I went through it,'  Every old Navy guy wants to go through the ordeal."

This young Marine -- with a rope leash around his neck -- is forced to crawl around the deck in the garbage while his buddies whip him with sections of wet canvas fire hose.

He'll soon be relieved of the rest of his hair.

Nobody ever said this was an easy initiation. As one Navy veteran said with a grin, "This is a sublime form of hazing."

Others, like the initiate being tormented below, were humiliated by being required to wear women's clothes while undergoing the day-long hazing.

 

On many ships, initiates were required to strip to their underpants, which had to be worn backwards and inside-out for the entire day -- to add to the humiliation and to make the constant paddlings sting more.

Notice the crude Mohawks that have been inflicted on the initiates in the background.

In this photo, a grinning, newly inducted shellback with a reverse Mohawk shows off his initiation haircut.  He has been forced to wear his underpants backwards.

The "crossing the line" initiates were intensely proud of their humiliating haircuts, because for two or three weeks, the haircuts provided strong visual proof to everyone on shipboard that they had been man enough to endure this rite of passage. The haircuts -- frequently including crude Mohawks -- were a badge of courage to be worn proudly.

Judging by his grin, this guy appears to have come through the ordeal with flying colors.  

In this scene, which appears to be on a merchant marine ship, the initiate has his wrists tied behind his back with rope as he kneels to receive his initiation head shave.  

It's possible this haircut victim is already a veteran shellback from a previous initiation -- because part of the standard ritual is that -- the day before the initiation -- the polywogs are expected to stage a "revolt."  They are allowed to capture any veteran shellbacks and, in the words of one victim, "tie them up and do anything to them that they want to."  The shellbacks willingly submit.  It;s part of the fun, and the veteran shellbacks are disappointed if the "wogs" don't revolt and initiate the shellbacks too.  It's revenge in advance for the punishment the "wogs" know will be inflicted on them tomorrow.  

So by the end of the second day, everyone has been initiated -- polywogs and shellbacks alike.  And it's all in fun.  Ever since the ship left port, both sides have eagerly looked forward to this two-day ritual -- with the two sides initiating each other.  And there are a lot of crude Mohawks on both sides.

In the photo below, a veteran shellback restrains the hands of the polywog below while the Royal Barber shaves his head.  The "wogs" on the right have already lost their hair.

These U.S. Marines ended up with these initiation haircuts when they crossed the Equator enroute to the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific during World War Two (1944).

The virtual sea of egg-bald heads shown below was likewise the result of a World War Two shellback initiation.  A memorable war story they can tell their grandchildren about.  

In a typical equitorial initiation, at the end of the day there were enough shorn locks lying on the deck to stuff a dozen mattresses.  But the initiates cherished the experience for the rest of their lives as one of the most memorable parts of their service at sea.  For years afterward they loved to recount stories of the tough, day-long humiliations they endured.     

NOW THE INITIATION IS MOSTLY VOLUNTEER:   Now-a-days, in the wake of anti-hazing reforms, the shellback initiation on many (most?  all?) Navy ships is said to be strictly volunteer.  But one current sailor reports that when his skipper asked how many guys on his ship wanted to volunteer to be hazed, 200 men signed up to submit to the initiation. They didn't want their Navy career to end without a chance to experience one of the oldest, most historic traditions among sailors.  

The university study said the ritual is normally very secretive. "As with other ceremonies" the study said, "it is considered a proud and necessary rite of passage, one that should be secretive and guarded."  The author said "All of the men I interviewed who had participated in it were very hesitant to reveal any of the details, whether risqué or not. . . ."  Which is why some Old Salts will not be happy that the most shocking of these historic, archival initiation photos reached the public.

The academic study continues:  "Rites of passage culminate with bonding between the initiates, which would not be possible without a certain amount of [secrecy].  Also, the gender bending and sexual play, which are explored in the context of the ritual, are protected by this [secrecy]."  

Again, we have explored the historic shellback initiations in some detail, because no account of the history and origins of the Mohawk would be complete without it.  The haircut came, in part, from a really tough ordeal -- in an earlier day when the Mohawk was a visible sign that you were tough enough to take it like a man.

In those early days during and immediately after World War Two, if you had a crudely carved Mohawk, everyone who saw you knew you had earned the right to wear it -- the hard way.  

SOME CIVILIAN CRUISE SHIPS LIKED THE "CROSSING THE LINE" INITIATIONS SO MUCH, THEY VOLUNTARILY COPIED THEM

Ironically, just as the military was toning down the shellback initiations considerably to avoid the criticism of anti-hazing reformers, the civilian passengers on many cruise ships -- especially university cruise ships providing students with a semester at sea -- were happily launching their own civilian versions of "crossing the equator" initiations for both crew and passengers . . . like the two women and the boy volunteering to have  having their heads shaved in this post-war photo.   

The student cruise ships took special pains to include the exciting head shaving ritual -- but only for those brave civilians who volunteer.to be shaved bald.

Like this woman who proudly holds up the long tresses that the clippers have just stripped from her head.  Brave woman!!!

But . . . surprise!!! . . . civilians on student cruises are volunteering in droves for the initiation head shaves on Neptune Day -- including astonishingly large numbers of women clamoring to be shaved bald during the initiation.

The Neptune Day head-shave is one of the most eagerly anticipated days of the entire student cruise.  Contrary to what the anti-hazing reformers would have you believe, these passengers feel the equitorial initiation head-shave is a hallowed sea-going tradition, and they don't want to be deprived of a chance to endure it like the old-time sailors did.

See the huge smile on this happy "victim's" face?  Good girl!!!

Notice that the barber shaving this girl's head has already himself submitted to an initiation Mohawk.  Now it's her turn to submit.

The volunteers eagerly look forward to the exciting day when the clippers will strip them bald.-- trying hard to imagine how they'll look after their long tresses fall to the deck beneath the clippers.

STILL DON'T BELIEVE THE MOHAWK WAS DESCENDED FROM AN INITIATION HAIRCUT?

HERE'S SOME PRETTY STRONG PROOF


Here's proof of the way shocking haircuts like Mohawks can go from initiation rituals to the fashion pages -- sometimes with amazing speed.

Exhibit "A:"  The bizarre half-shaved head -- that followed precisely the same trajectory as the Mohawk in going from an especially humiliating initiation haircut inflicted on rookie football players to an astonishingly popular fashion fad as the ultimate symbol of "cool."  

In the autumn of 2010, readers of the sports pages were startled to see photos of not one but two NFL Rookies on two different teams -- forced to endure the humiliation of having having just half their heads shaved bald.  Then they were required to let the news photographers.take photos of their humiliation and forced to wear the bizarre haircuts for several days in public.  

But whereas the Mohawk took several decades to  make that huge leap from hazing to acceptance as an avant-garde   fashion statement, the half-shaved head made that same leap in just a few months.  Amazing!!!.  


Here's one of those victims -- Mike Tepper, a rookie offensive tackle with the Dallas Cowboys -- good-naturedly brushing his remaining long hair to one side after half his head was shaved bald by veteran players during the traditional initiation night in 2010.  

That same week in 2010, yet another NFL rookie on another team -- Alex Parsons, an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders -- likewise had half his head shaved -- as another crop of rookies was shaved, photographed, and uploaded to Twitter for all the world to witness their humiliation.

So the fashion world reacted in total shock by deploring the cruelty, right?

Nope.  Quite the contrary.  Many members of the public loved the shocking new look of the half-shaved head!!!  ..  Yes, really. Read on.  

 

Within days recording artist Rihanna shocked the world by shaving half her head to match the two initiated NFL players.

And even more shocking, within weeks several other female celebrities rushed to copy the initiation look . . . one after another after another after another.

Like recording artist Cassie, seen here.

Suddenly the fashion pages were filled with half-shaved celebrities who couldn't seem to get to the hair clippers fast enough.   

They loved the sheer shock value of the bizarre haircut.  Said Cassie:  "Sometimes you need something that displays an 'I don't give a fuck' attitude.  Something to shock your mother -- but make her call you a rock star."

Tresses began falling to the floor all over America, and suddenly the Internet was filled with women sporting half-shaved heads.  

A new fashion rage was born overnight -- thanks to those two initiated NFL rookies who were subjected to humiliating haircuts.

What an amazing phenomenon. 

 

About the same time, here's how Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte, star of "The Last Man on Earth," looked when he showed up for the Critics Choice Awards.  

Here's a rear view of Will Forte's initiation look at the Critics Choice Awards.

Cool!!!

And other guys likewise began racing for the half-shaved head..

My whole point in showing this astonishing new fashion trend is because it provides absolute proof of how a bizarre initiation haircut can go from a way to humiliate freshmen and football rookies to a wildly popular new fashion statement.  Go figure.  Which is precisely what happened with the Mohawk.   

Here's an even more shocking version of the half-shaved initiation look, whereby the front half of the head is shaved, but the rear half is left intact to cascade down over the back.

But the person who has had the most fun of all with the shocking half-shaved head is actress Natalie Dormer, star of "Mockingjay." 

She even posted a video of the shaving process on the Internet for all to see.

 And then she explained in another posting how much fun she's had with it:  

"A lot of my friends ask to touch my shaven head. I just stand there and get stroked for five minutes. It's a free massage."

Natalie admits that the drastic haircut made her feel "peculiar at first," but added: "You take a deep breath and keep everything in perspective. It just takes time getting used to."

I hate to admit it.  I'll probably wish I never said this.  But, actually, I kind of like the sheer shock value of the half-shaved heads.  

If it takes balls to wear a Mohawk, then it takes TWO balls to wear a half-shaved head. But the dude below seems to be enjoying it.

  

Are we onto something big here?  Is this the NEW Mohawk for the 21st Century?

"I SHAVED HALF MY HEAD AND IT CHANGED MY LIFE"

(THIS FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT COULD ALSO APPLY TO GETTING ENOUGH COURAGE TO BE MOHAWKED IN PUBLIC)

A woman who finally mustered enough courage to do what she had always wanted to do -- to shave just half her head -- describes how being seen half-bald in public has literally changed her personality and her life -- for the better.

"I had always wanted to shave half my head.  For a year, I kept telling myself that someday I would do it—even though deep down I knew I wouldn’t.

"Then one day before my 21st birthday, I suddenly realized that I was about to become an adult in less than 24 hours. I realized I would not longer have the excuse of being an irresponsible college student. I would soon be expected to act like an adult and basically, to be boring.

"I only had a few hours left to act like a rebellious, overconfident and irresponsible teenager.“What can I do to take advantage of these last few hours of blissful freedom?”

"Without telling a soul, I shaved half of my hair off. I didn’t let myself think twice before doing it, because I knew that if I did I would never actually go through with it.

"I have never been so proud of myself. I mean, to shave half your hair off and walk around in public like you had a nervous breakdown requires some serious guts. People would look at me weirdly on the streets and in college like “What happened to her?”

"In the beginning, it was difficult.

"When I started to accept something that I once felt ashamed of, I started to accept a lot of things about myself that I didn’t like. When I accepted that it is okay to look different and it’s totally fine when people stare at me (because in my head they’re just admiring my awesome hairdo!), it healed parts of me that I had previously refused to acknowledge. . . .

"Shaving my head also made me realized that I am actually more courageous than I give myself credit for. All the things I thought I could never do? I realized that I actually could do—mostly because, if I can walk around in public looking like that, I can do anything.

"I’ve since learned that most of our fear stems from what will people think. We worry that we will seem weird to others. But so many dreams and desires are crushed under fears like these. . . .

"When I shaved my head . . . I loved the shock on people’s faces. I relished in defying societal norms and I realized that all the worry that we afford to thoughts like “What will they think of me?” is useless.

"When we realize that, we are suddenly filled with abundant courage and that courage will take us places, places our dreams and desires have already planned for us."

SO HOW DID THE INITIATION MOHAWK MIRACULOUSLY EVOLVE INTO A FASHION STATEMENT?

Well, among those who admired the initiation Mohawks on college freshmen were the early punk rock musicians -- like the Mohawked rock singer at the left.  

They were looking for some sort of shocking, daring, in-your-face look that would instantly set them apart from middle class society -- so around 1975, punk rock bands began copying the initiation Mohawks.  .

One of the first punk rockers to adopt the initiation Mohawk as an eye-catching fashion statement was British guitarist Joe Strummer, co-founder of The Clash.

It was a punk rock band that was formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk.

 

And here's rock guitarist Brian Haner.

The fans loved the radical haircuts.

In fact, the punk rock fans loved the musicians' Mohawks so much that pretty soon the fans themselves began showing up at rock concerts with their own heads shaved into Indian scalp locks . . . and a new fashion rage was born.  

The rest is history.

 

And pretty soon, Americans started seeing the shocking haircut on teenagers hanging out at the local mall and on local street corners everywhere.  

Often they blended the Mohawk with biker leathers, metal studs and neck chains to add to the rebellious but harmless look that teenagers loved.

Then, as often happens, so-called "normal" teenagers brought the punk underground Mohawks into mainstream society.  

And so today the Mohawk look -- even though it still thankfully has the power to shock -- is now (according to the New York Times) widely accepted (even admired) in polite society.  

That shouldn't surprise anyone.  That's the way most fashions evolve.  Almost every fashion we know today originally began as a shocking outlaw style -- from tall boots and slacks for women (once a huge taboo) . . .

. . .  to Levis worn here by Apple CEO Tim Cook at a formal, televised press conference to unveil a new Iphone.

And now worn to work by bazillions of American businessmen on "casual Fridays."

That's just the way fashion works.  What was taboo yesterday is fashionable today.

The Mohawk is no exception.  From shock....to grudging acceptance....and finally to the ultimate symbol of "cool."  

But still today, an awful lot of Mohawks show up in exactly the same place they began -- as initiation rituals......as shown by the annual display of newspaper pages full of NFL training camp initiation haircuts for rookies. Many of those rookie hair mutilations are   crudely carved Mohawks (such as the initiation haircuts below for rookies joining the Oakland Raiders)-- yet another testimony to that haircut's incredible power as a team-building symbol:

 

Hardly anyone objects when NFL rookies get their hair forcibly carved up for a week or so . . . like St. Louis Rams tight end Mason Brodine 

They're big boys, tough enough to take it. Everybody gets a big chuckle out of their haircut ordeal and admires them for having the balls to wear the haircut hazing in public.  

Here's a great haircut hazing endured by one 2014 rookie on the Indianapolis Colts NFL team during initiation night, which they cheerfully dubbed "team bonding night."

According to the local newspaper sports page, the rookies "volunteered for the haircut humiliations."  Good for them!!!

And the big grin on this rookie's face suggests that the rookies enjoyed the team-bonding experience.and the feeling of acceptance it brought.  

But when many high school and college athletic teams -- intrigued by the mutilated haircuts on their NFL heroes -- copy the idea and inflict similar initiation Mohawks and other more bizarre haircuts on their own freshmen on high school and college teams, some anti-hazing reformers object..  

The reformers are absolutely right to protect the kids from some of the really brutal and dangerous initiations, which can very quickly get out of hand..  The shockingly -frequent, fatal alcohol poisoning of initiates comes to mind.  But haircuts?  Hey, it's just totally harmless fun. Hair grows back, folks. Get over it.  

Let's have a lot more harmless initiation haircuts -- and totally cut out the forced binge-drinking and other dangerous type hazing which has  killed hundreds of kids.  Keep it harmless but fun.

A great many of the high school and college athletes (maybe even most of them) actually look forward to the initiation Mohawks.  It's a greatly anticipated rite of passage -- as a way to show that the older guys like them enough to initiate them -- especially after seeing their football heroes undergo a similar, fun initiation.  

Most of the kids frankly enjoy the powerful feeling of inclusion.that this small act of sacrifice brings.   Fortunately a great many fathers stand up for the right of their sons to undergo this fun rite of passage.  Hang in there, Dads!!!  Stand up for your son's right to prove his courage -- and have fun while doing it.

Beginning in the early 1960s, reformers began passing laws to criminalize virtually every form of college and high school hazing.  And the cherished freshman head shavings began disappearing, much to the disappointment of most of the freshmen themselves who wanted to endure the haircut ritual to prove they could take it.

The reformers have never learned how to distinguish between criminal brutality and harmless rituals that are just plain fun.  

Rugby team members at one well-known college, for example, had a long tradition of giving embarrassing haircuts to freshmen joining the team.  But they reluctantly suspended the tradition in the face of anti-hazing laws, disappointing not only the upper classmen but likewise disappointing the freshman victims themselves who had looked forward to the harmless hazing.

One senior rugger said there is something to be said for teammates going through something awful together, like embarrassing haircuts.  He said it's a great way to create strong ties among teammates.  “I think it’s a really fun and important part of the rugby team to have some sort of initiation.  It creates bonds and memories.”

Recalling his own experience with the men’s rugby initiation, the senior rugger said having his head shaved by the returning team members and being forced to wear an embarrassing haircut for a few days was definitely something that created a bond.  “I got a really bad haircut,” he said. “I think it was a fun thing to go through because it built class unity."  

He said said some of the new freshmen have come to him to see if the haircut tradition can continue.   He said “We might be able to do it if we ask them ahead of time if they’re OK with it, but that kind of takes away from the fun of it, so we’ll see.”

Many sociologists and psychologists blame some of modern society's ills on the fact that we have eliminated most of the rites of passage that once allowed boys to prove they were emerging into manhood by enduring some sort of ordeal.  

So, regrettably, many of them attempt to prove their manhood by joining a gang or committing vandalism or other crimes.

When outlawing a harmless initiation haircut results in serious anti-social acts, it's a classic case of unintended consequences.  A tragic backfire.. 

 

So if boys want to prove their courage -- if kids want to have a rite of passage by submitting to a harmless initiation haircut and enduring a few stares in the mall -- for God's sake, lighten up and let them.  It's perfectly innocent fun, and it's a hell of a lot better for society than joining a street gang and plastering entire neighborhoods with graffiti or selling drugs --or worse.

The big secret is that most guys relish the initiation Mohawk, because it gives them a widely accepted excuse to submit to a radical, eyebrow-raising haircut they secretly admire but otherwise might never have the courage to undergo.....while simultaneously proving their team spirit or school spirit.. Some of the more  timid ones may be afraid they'll be laughed at if they admit they actually wanted a Mohawk.  But if it's an initiation, they can shrug it off by saying:  "They did it to me during an initiation."  And everyone says:  "Oh, I see -- it was forced on him.  They probably held him down, poor guy."  (Not really.  He consented.  And he likes it.  But he won't admit that.)   

Here's a group of long ago, pre-World War Two, older Boy Scouts at a West Texas Scout camp in 1941 being initiated into the "Order of the Arrow," during which they were required to undergo a tough overnight "ordeal" in the forest like an Indian warrior to prove their manhood.  The "Order of the Arrow" ritual, at that time, apparently included submitting to Indian warrior haircuts. Great idea!!!  The Scouts looked forward to the chance to prove their manhood.  In later years, the Scouts prohibited what were described as hazing or demeaning initiation pranks -- but judging by the big smile on the guy's face at the lower left, he enjoyed it.  And whoever manned the clippers did an awesome job!!!.. 

 

The scene below was an initiation ritual for fire fighters graduating from their fire training academy.  Above all, guys fighting a dangerous wildfire, with lives on the line including their own, need all the unit cohesion and team spirit they can get.  And what better way to build team spirit than with initiation Mohawks?  The initiation Mohawks were especially appropriate for members of this particular fire unit, because most of them are Native Americans.  

 

The young initiates above were required to keep the Mohawks, sometimes for weeks,  until after they completed their first wildfire deployment on forest lands.  But we know it was a really fun initiation, because the instructors then volunteered to let the initiates shave the instructors' heads into Mohawks as a show of solidarity with the young graduates. What a great way to show team spirit and unit pride.-- especially for a tribal fire fighting unit. 


But a few years later in 2012 when another California fire department held a similar initiation night to inflict Mohawks and other unusual haircuts on their new "probationary" firefighters, some meddlesome member of the public complained, touching off an absurd year-long investigation and disciplinary action.

A year-long formal investigation over . . . . haircuts???  Somebody has too much time on their hands.  .  

The local newspaper reported that the story began when those firefighter recruits in uniform went into a fast food restaurant, sporting an assortment of extreme haircuts including reverse Mohawks and missing clumps of hair.    

The newspaper said some of the firefighting recruits cut their own hair during the initiation, but at least two of the recruits were held down while the veteran firefighters ran the clippers through their hair.

The newspaper said a concerned citizen in the restaurant notified the fire chief, setting off a major investigation. But the investigation proved to be very unpopular with the firefighters themselves, and was characterized by one firefighter as “the biggest morale-busting waste of money I have ever seen.”  With a few exceptions, most of the public agreed that it was an absurd over-reaction to a mere haircut.    

One blogger said: " I'm trying to figure out how big a spoil sport someone has to be to file a public complaint on haircuts."  Another said:  "Who cares, it's hair!!!"  Yet another:  " Come on, it's just a hair cut!!! 

I'm guessing those California firefighters were probably forced to go in a group to the burger joint to show off their initiation haircuts, in the same way that these European Rugby rookies were ordered by their teammates to go buy pizza for the team so the public could see their haircuts -- just to add to the humiliation . . .  

. . . in the same way that NFL rookies are forced to allow the news media to take photos of their initiation haircuts.  Public exposure is just part of the ritual. (Note the TV camera and the really cool initiation Mohawk on the kneeling player.)

 

One of the most famous Mohawks in the world is proudly worn by soccer star Neymar.

And apparently, as an aficionado of the partially shaved head,  he's a big believer in initiation haircuts for rookies.

Look what happened when Neymar, as a veteran team member, took the clippers to the heads of the three rookie team members below.

Hey, you got 'em good, Naymar!!! .

Elsewhere, as one Mohawked high school football player being initiated onto his team was quoted as saying:  "I love it, because now everyone who sees my initiation haircut knows I play football."

A small and rapidly decreasing number of wussy high school principals raise a fuss about this form of totally innocent, all-in-fun hazing, as does an occasional, over-protective
parent.  But the kids themselves love it, because it makes them feel like they've earned a
place on the team the hard way by proving to the other team members they can take it like a man . . . like this young freshman with the big smile  being initiated onto his high school hockey team.  (They're getting ready to shave his jersey number into the small patch left on the side of his head.)

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Some high school principals require the initiates to get their parents to sign a paper, granting permission for their sons heads to be shaved.  Most fathers are happy to sign, to allow their sons to show their guts by submitting to the clippers.   

Realizing the powerful, irreplaceable  bonding experience that freshman boys experience during their initiation head shave -- a once in a lifetime experience that most boys cherish --  a few high school principals openly embrace the shaving of freshmen's heads by sending a permission slip home with the freshmen boys for their fathers to sign . . . to allow their sons to experience scenes like the one below at a Catholic high school where -- in a fully sanctioned event -- seniors celebrate Spirit Week each year by shaving the heads of those freshmen who volunteer to sacrifice their hair in support of the school's football team.  What a great way for freshmen to support the football team -- by wearing an embarrassing haircut for the team.   This kid is allowing a senior to shave a "T" into his hair.  


Here's the wording of the permission slip that the father of the boy in the photo above had to sign:to allow his son to participate in that exciting experience:

:

"TO FRESHMAN PARENTS:
Traditional Freshman Haircuts.  For decades, the annual football game against our big rivals has included a tradition of freshmen haircuts, which serve to unite the class, inaugurate freshmen more fully into the school community, and provide freshmen and seniors some good-natured fraternity. Haircuts begin on September 4 this year. With your son's consent, and under the supervision of faculty and staff, a member of the senior class will ceremoniously shave your son's head using clippers.  No freshman is required to have his hair cut, but many voluntarily choose to do so because they enjoy the bonding experience.". 

 

Here's another photo (below) of that same high school's annual freshman head shaving. The victim on the left who is about to see those beautiful tresses fall the the ground -- with his father's permission --has a big grin as he watches his buddy being given a Mohawk.  He's obviously enjoying the experience of giving up his hair for the football team..

Here's how the student newspaper described that same freshman head-shaving above as one of the most exciting, fun events of the school year, which even the freshman "victims" eagerly look forward to:

"Our school has a tradition, which everyone loves to see, the infamous shaving of the freshmen’s heads. This is the most obvious tradition for welcoming the incoming freshmen, because everyone gets to marvel at their new haircuts. This fun tradition continues year after year to welcome the new class each year. The seniors get to shave the freshmen’s heads as a way of celebrating the beginning of their last year at school there. Everyone in the school loves participating in this event, especially the freshmen getting their heads shaved, because it creates a bond you can never beat!"  Well said!!!

At  another high school, here's how one young man described the initiation haircuts inflicted on freshman football players by upperclassmen on the team:

"When we returned to the locker room after football practice, we saw a table containing several sets of hair clippers, so we realized right away what was about to happen to us.  We had been looking forward to it all year.  For weeks we had been asking the upperclassmen:  'When do we get our heads shaved?'.

"The seniors tied me to a chair in the locker room and proceeded to shave my head bald.  No, I didn't mind at all.  Actually it was a fun experience, because once all my hair was shaved off, my bald head showed everyone in town that the older players had fully accepted me as a team member -- because my haircut showed them I could take it like a man.

"But the best part of the ordeal was that both our co-captains volunteered to submit to the same initiation haircuts as their way to publicly show their support for the freshman team members by sporting the same humiliating haircuts that the seniors inflicted on us.  It was an incredibly powerful bonding experience.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world."


On many campuses all over the continent, when school administrators outlawed head shaving as hazing, the kids themselves responded  in a way nobody expected.  

The kids volunteered to be hazed -- often submitting to Mohawks.  They wanted to undergo that traditional, cherished rite of passage.  They wanted to be able to brag to their friends that they endured it.  So when school administrators denied it to them, they went out and organized a hazing of themselves.  Who'd a thunk it?  Hey, sociologists. Does that tell you something totally unexpected about boys growing into manhood?  It's the same reason young men like to join the Marines -- precisely because it is tough.  Hello. 


At one prominent university, when the administration tried to outlaw freshman initiations (including freshman haircuts) at the school's annual "frosh week" rituals, a university-wide referendum of the students themselves voted
overwhelming that -- surprise -- they wanted to keep the hazing tradition -- so they did.  Amazing!!!

 

Most of that freshman class voluntarily submitted to Mohawks....hundreds of them.....

. . . along with some other "interesting" haircuts, as part of the week-long initiation activities.  The freshmen actually stood in line to receive their initiation haircuts.  Many of the freshman "victims" said later they wouldn't have missed it for the world.  Something to remember with pleasure for the rest of their lives . . . something to tell their grandchildren.

Here's a sophomore enforcer at that university shaving a freshman's head into a Mohawk..... and the victim is obviously enjoying it.  So is the enforcer, who already has his own Mohawk for the occasion .The haircut is a fun way of saying  "welcome aboard, kid."

 

 

One athlete, who frankly enjoyed the humiliating initiation haircuts that were inflicted on him as a member of high school and college teams, defended the head shaving this way on an Internet sports blog:  

"The initiations foster team unity....a "band of brothers" feeling if you will. You take it like a man and go through it together and feel a sense of achievement coming out the other end.  Embarrassment, humiliation and hard toil are all part of what can be a growing experience.  But being physically harmed does push the boundaries too far." 

In the photo below, a senior restrains a freshman's head while a girl friend of one team member shaves his head bald.

Here's another well-known U.S. college where the freshmen actually volunteer in droves to let upperclassmen shave their heads . . . including a great many female students who volunteer to go completely bald.  

At this college, it's called "bald day."  Every incoming class of freshmen competes with all the previous freshman classes to see which class can shave the most freshman heads.  

As a result, the head shaving grows in popularity each year with larger and larger numbers of freshmen submitting to the clippers. On the day these photos were taken, 110 freshmen were shaved egg bald (including large numbers of courageous bald-headed women).  

The college initially tried to outlaw the head shaving as a form of hazing.  But the students were so determined to keep the popular, long-time tradition that they began going off-campus for the annual head shaving initiation where college officials couldn't stop it.  

To everyone's astonishment, freshmen headed off campus in droves to volunteer for the shearing -- again including an astonishing number of women. They actually waited patiently in line to be shorn.  .  

So -- realizing belatedly that the freshmen didn't fear the initiation haircuts, on the contrary they loved them -- college administrators eventually relented and allowed the initiations to move back onto campus so they could ensure that no freshman had his head shaved against his will.   

In return for allowing the initiations to continue, college administrators now require that before a freshman's head can be shaved, he must sign a contract stating that he has willingly volunteered to be stripped of his hair.  No problem.  The freshmen willingly sign on the dotted line.  The college also requires that the upperclassmen wielding the clippers must sign a contract promising they will only shave freshmen who volunteer to go bald.  

According to the student newspaper, the most dramatic moments came when some of the women who had vowed they wouldn't submit to the initiation got swept up in the excitement, changed their minds, and suddenly went under the clippers.

The newspaper said there were gasps when students suddenly spied the bald heads of women they never expected to submit.  "They looked really excited to be getting shaved," said the student newspaper.

he school paper said the women saw it as a bonding experience and had no regrets at all. 

One bald-headed woman said:  "it’s an awesome tradition.  I had heard of the Bald Day tradition before I arrived here, and I thought it was cool because it would pretty much be the only time it would be socially acceptable for me to shave my head."

Another female student said:  "I had my head shaved for the event.  It was so much fun to do it and daring too! It was worth every moment and the memories too."

One female student said:  "My shaven head is an awesome conversation starter.  Everybody wants to talk with you about your bald head.  You meet lots of neat people that way.”

In addition to the initiates and the barbers, large numbers of spectators flock to the initiation ritual to watch the shearings -- including some parents who show up to watch their sons and daughters being stripped of their hair -- or given Mohawks.  

It's hard to call it hazing if Mom and Dad wanted to watch the shearing.  Wonder how Mom and Dad reacted to the shocking transformation of the two students below at that same college?.  Did the parents help man the clippers?

Find it hard to believe that freshmen actually volunteer for initiation haircuts?  Hard to believe that a great many freshmen are disappointed when reformers deprive them of that rite of passage?  Well, here's the amazing proof.  

Several decades ago when one university in New York State outlawed freshman hazing, upperclassman decided to get around the ban by inviting the incoming freshman class to volunteer to be initiated.  

They were told that the volunteers would be required to show up in pajamas at the university fountain -- the pajamas providing visible proof that they were willing and anxious to submit to hazing.  They were warned that upperclassmen would dunk them in the fountain -- and that then, soaking wet, they'd be required to hold their hands on their heads to avoid interfering with the paddles as the upperclassmen whapped them on their sopping wet buttocks.  

That brought guffaws from skeptics who said no freshman would ever volunteer to go through that initiation.

Wrong.  

To everyone's astonishment, large numbers of freshmen.showed up in pajamas, asking to be initiated the old fashioned way. . . leaving the public slack-jawed with amazement.


So no one should be the least bit surprised when huge numbers of freshmen on other campuses volunteer to submit to initiation Mohawks and other shocking haircuts. 

Years ago, on my college campus, it was easy to spot the freshman football players every autumn, because on the first day of practice, the older players shaved them egg bald..

But the most humiliating initiation head shave I ever heard of was described to me many years ago by a friend of mine who was a college football player.  He said it happened to him when he was initiated as a freshman onto his former high school football team in a tough-as-nails Pennsylvania mining town where the whole town was fanatical about football.    

He said he and the other freshmen had their hands tied behind their backs by the older players.  Then the initiates were blindfolded and led into a large room.  When the blindfolds were removed, he was stunned to see the room filled with older men who had once played football for that high school.  

They had excitedly come to see the new freshman players shaven.-- a big annual event which only ex-players were invited to witness. They themselves had once cheerfully endured the ritual head shaving, so now they eagerly looked forward to seeing younger players endure it -- an important sign to them that the team spirit was being carried on by a new generation...  

But my friend said he was baffled when they tied a transparent, plastic bag around his neck on a string.  Then, their hands still bound behind them, the clippers went to work shaving them egg bald one-by-one, while the old-timers enthusiastically applauded.  

Then he found out what the plastic bag was for. The older players scooped up his fallen tresses . . .

. . . and crammed them into the bag, dangling in full view on a rope beneath his freshly shaven head.

Then, in an action designed for maximum humiliation, he was ordered to wear the transparent bag of his own hair around town everywhere he went for a solid week -- "always on the outside of my shirt in full view.  I wasn't even allowed to remove the bag of my hair when I slept or showered or at my own family dinner table or during football practice -- so that everyone who saw my shaven head and the bag of my hair would instantly know I was being initiated."  


But it got worse.  The older players warned him that he must return the bag of his own hair to his team mates at the end of the week.  If he lost the bag, he'd be required to go through the entire initiation --including the head shaving -- all over again.  He said all week long, the older players made a game out of trying to steal his bag of hair, just so they could have the fun of shaving him bald again.  

"Three days later," he said, "a bunch of varsity players held me down and wrestled the bag of hair away from me -- so six months later, after my hair had grown out, they shaved me again, and hung the bag around my neck again for another week.

My friend said he went through a lot of athletic team initiations during his sports career -- "but none as humiliating as having to wear that transparent bag of my own shaved-off hair for a week -- and having to submit to it twice."

THE INITIATION MOHAWK MORPHS INTO THE "TEAM BONDING" MOHAWK:

Under the onslaught of anti-hazing laws, the old tradition began to die out of requiring freshman members of athletic teams to undergo some sort of embarrassing initiation haircut in order to join the team -- often including a Mohawk.  But some teams found they missed the tradition, found they had lost something important.  Regardless of whether it constituted hazing, the initiation haircuts had served an important team-building purpose.  They had very powerfully "bonded" freshmen to the team, thereby creating an incredibly strong sense of team unity. and team spirit.


So, to get around anti-hazing laws, a lot of athletic teams came up with a new idea -- the "team bonding" haircut.  The idea?  Instead of forcing just freshmen to undergo an embarrassing haircut, the entire team (including all the upperclassmen) would VOLUNTEER to submit to the radical haircuts as a team-bonding experience . . . like the high school soccer team below.  So instead of being shaved just once as freshmen, now many athletes get shaved four different times -- once every year.-- like the high school soccer team below.

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Those aren't just freshmen above with the carved-up haircuts.  Every year their entire team gets scalped just like the guys seen below -- even the seniors.  It's done at the annual soccer team dinner.  The team used to use that annual dinner to administer initiation haircuts to the freshmen players.   But, to avoid anti-hazing laws, they started a new tradition in 2006, where ALL the players, including the seniors, cut each other’s hair at the dinner.

“The seniors start by shaving their own heads," said one member of the team.  "And then it moves down to the younger guys.  Everyone who wants a [crazy] haircut gets one.  And most team members want one."  But the freshmen always get the most embarrassing cuts . . . like the victim below.  

The shaven team member says the haircuts strengthen team chemistry and that it's always a positive experience. “Everyone looks stupid together and we get to know each other a lot better [that way].”   One player said it's embarrassing when they have to wear the bizarre haircuts around town -- but everyone at school understands and loves it.  It's a big occasion eagerly looked forward to by the entire student body every fall -- to see what creative new haircuts the soccer team has to wear to school for several days and during the first big game of the year.

Every year, to collect haircut ideas, they carefully study the humiliating haircuts inflicted on the NFL rookies -- and then copy them. 

You can't call it hazing if EVERYONE is volunteering to get the same crazy haircuts.    The freshman victims enjoy it just as much as the seniors.  An editorial in their high school newspaper put it this way:  "The line is drawn where the victim is no longer having fun.  Cutting bizarre haircuts [like these] is just in good fun and does not inflict harm or pain on the victim."  Here's another of those soccer players who volunteered for the experience:  "Gee, Mom -- you'll never believe what happened at school today."

Thus . . . the initiation haircut has finally morphed into the "team-building" haircut . . including thousands (tens of thousands?) of Mohawks at high schools and colleges all over America.  The proud Mohawk has finally passed from one era into another -- going from involuntary to voluntary.  And the "team bonding" Mohawk has turned out to be even more popular -- and much more widespread -- than the initiation.Mohawk had ever been, as we will see below.  

In many cases the parents are joining  in the fun of the head-shaving....the parents helping to man the clippers and happily snapping the photos and making family videos to help their sons remember the fun they had doing it.  

One legendary high school football coach, a tough, hide-peeling ex Marine, had a 15-year-long tradition of shaving the heads of ALL his football players every fall in a celebrated ritual at football camp.  The fathers participated in the ritual of shaving their sons' heads.  The kids loved it and looked forward to it, because their bald heads made them instantly recognizable on the street as football players.  The entire community loved the annual head shave, because it made their local team instantly recognizable everywhere.and showed their fierce dedication to the team -- especially when they removed their helmets on the football field and everyone in the bleachers saw that the entire team was bald. The macho warrior look also intimidated opposition teams.

(What do bald heads have to do with Mohawks?  Read on and you will see.)

Here's how the team's famous head-shaving ritual worked, according to a local newspaper:  "It works like this.  During spring practice, the seniors vote on whether they will shave their heads before the next season as a symbol of their commitment to the team.  When late summer comes, the coach puts the players through the first week of conditioning -- Hell Week.  Then the coaches, players , and fathers set aside three days and head for a mountain lake.  We feed  'em breakfast and dinner for 2-1/2 days.  Then on one afternoon, we send 'em for a 10-mile walk.  And we have five or six shears there when they get back."

"The seniors shear the juniors, then the seniors shear each other," said the coach.  "All the juniors are scared to death.  Some of 'em have tears in their eyes. Forty kids cut their hair this year.  Ninety-five percent looked better, and 10 percent of them are damned handsome."

In 1995, that high school discontinued the shaving ritual after 15 years for unknown reasons.  But 20 years later in 2015, the ritual was restored, and the heads of 47 football players were shaved.  So the parents of those shaven players complained that it was hazing, right?  Wrong.  It was the fathers of the players who demanded that the ritual be restored.  Go figure.  The fathers wanted their sons to be able to enjoy the powerful team-building experience of having their heads shaved in order to play for the team.  The community and the team saw it as a very special privilege to go through the ritual head-shaving as a sacrifice for the team..

After a 20-year hiatus, “the kids brought up the shaving idea a few times,” said the coach.  “We have some players whose dads played football here years ago with shaved heads, and alumni have been waiting for this for a while.  I hope it becomes an annual thing again.”  The coach put the players through the agonizing "Stairway to Heaven" exercise routine of running up and down the bleacher steps numerous times.  Then he sent them to the locker room to have their heads shaved.  Here's what it looked like:

 

So how does that relate to Mohawks?  Well, decades ago, that bald-headed football team became so famous regionally that a competing team in the next town got jealous of all the admiration the bald heads of their rivals were attracting -- so they adopted the Mohawk instead as their team's trademark haircut.  In doing so, they were accused of copying the neighboring team's head-shaving tradition -- but with a slight difference.  Like the original team, they too talked their own fathers into participating in a similar shaving ritual -- but shaving Mohawks into their son's heads instead of shaving them bald.  

Instead of complaining about hazing, the fathers enthusiastically joined in the fun.  It became a great bonding experience, not only for the fathers and sons, but for the entire team.  Every week until the football season was over, each player's father made a ritual of taking a pair of clippers and re-trimming his own son's football Mohawk.  

One of those Mohawked players proudly told the local newspaper:  "An elderly couple saw my haircut at the supermarket and were so impressed, they pledged to buy season tickets to all the games."  The coach told the local newspaper:  "I think the haircuts are a great statement to make.  The players make a visual commitment."  One of the Mohawked co-captains of the team shown in the photo below told the newspaper:  "People around the community think it's a great display of spirit.  A lot of people say they haven't seen team spirit like this in a long time." 

The players kept their Mohawks for the entire football season.  Who can call it hazing if it was your own father who carved your football Mohawk?  .  Here are the Mohawks the fathers clippered:

Well, pretty soon the Mohawk idea spread to at least two other high school football teams in the same area . . . including a neighboring team where the linebacker shown below was a senior:

Commenting on the football Mohawk shown above, the local newspaper said that he figured "what better way to bond with your teammates than to get a legion of players to drastically alter their hairstyles. It was a sight to behold when he strolled the hallways as the student body president with the most intimidating 'do' anywhere, or when he pulled his helmet off between quarters."

"I loved it," said the Mohawked linebacker.  "It seemed like it drew the team together, because by the end of the year, a lot of the players had a Mohawk -- even some of the coaches."  The coaches too?  Wow -- that's REAL team spirit!!!

Similar team Mohawks at both the high school and college levels have been widely adopted by swimming teams, baseball teams, basketball teams, hockey teams, wrestling teams, lacrosse teams,  -- you name it....just one more indication of the radical haircut's incredible power as a team-builder.

THE FORERUNNER OF THE INITIATION MOHAWK WAS THE FRESHMAN "T-CUT:"  Long before Mohawks became popular as part of freshman hazing, there was the so-called "T-cut."  It was essentially a Mohawk,  but with an extra cross bar added to form the letter "T "     

Until the T-cut was outlawed by anti-hazing laws in the 1960s, upperclassmen at one of the nation's best-known engineering colleges punished any freshman caught without his "rat cap" -- or any freshman who couldn't recite on command the names of all the football players -- by ordering them to appear in pajamas before a so-called "rat court."  There the offending freshman's head was shaved bald, except for a bristly tuft of hair in the shape of the letter "T"....standing for "Tech."  According to one freshman who endured it in 1950, they were then paddled after the haircut.

They were then frequently ordered to appear in the same pajamas at the next day's big football game so the entire stadium could see their punishment T-cuts.  

Obviously the T-cuts of half a century ago were essentially Mohawks with an extra cross-bar.

Upperclassmen ordered the offending freshmen to retain the T-cut" for a large part of the school year -- for six long weeks.  That meant that for a month and a half, they usually had to report every week to upperclassmen to have their T-cut re-trimmed and re-shaved in order to carry out the full length of the sentence.  

And the NFL rookies think they have it tough?  They only have to wear the initiation haircuts for a week at most.  In the 1920s and 1930s -- when hardly anyone had ever seen a Mohawk -- the T-cuts attracted a lot of stares.  But they helped to pave the way for the modern Mohawk.

In some cases, there was the reverse T-cut.....or, in this case, an M-cut:

So, in summary, the freshman "T-cuts" eventually evolved into the initiation Mohawks,,,,but (surprise!!!) the "victims" liked the forced Mohawks so much, they eventually evolved into one of the hottest, most unique, voluntary fashion trends in modern history.

Along the way, a bunch of World War Two paratroopers during the Normandy Invasion adopted as their proud trademark what had heretofore been an initiation stunt inflicted on hapless freshmen.  The world saw the photographs of those D-Day Invasion haircuts on their military heroes, and a legendary haircut fashion was born....a gradual 90-year evolution that most people are totally unaware of.

LOST-BET MOHAWKS

One of the most popular ways to end up with a Mohawk -- one of the most exciting and fun-filled ways -- is to bet your hair.  

Bet your hair on anything.  On a football game, baseball game, horseshoes game, ping-pong game, beer pong game, anything at all -- hell, bet your hair on tomorrow's weather.  It doesn't really matter what, because it's all for the fun of it.  

You agree that if you lose, the winners get to shave your head into a Mohawk.

All of a sudden, you're the hit of the party.

All the guys in this section of photos got their heads shaved because they wagered their hair -- and lost.

The idea of wagering your hair began several decades ago when professional wrestlers discovered the huge crowd pleaser of betting their hair on the outcome of grappling matches. (See that story below.)

The winners get to whip out their Iphones and snap endless photos and videos of your locks tumbling into your lap.

Not only do you end up with a really fun haircut, but the shaving process after the game,  where you submit to the clippers, is guaranteed to be the party highlight of the year. Guaranteed to liven up even the dullest party.

Your friends get to enjoy watching the clippers carve up your hair as you accept your punishment.  They get to enjoy the sight of you wearing the ultimate mark of the loser for a week or two.  And thousands of You Tube viewers get to watch as the falling hair piles up on living room floors all over America on Super Bowl Sunday.  

The victim below lost a haircut bet with his boss.  We're not sure what they bet on.  But here he is paying off the bet . . . providing an afternoon of memorable fun for everyone..  

What's a Super Bowl without thousands of losers who wagered their hair climbing into the haircut chair for the post-game ritual?  

You didn't think I came to see the football game, did you?

After the excitement of the game is over, the sacrificing of your hair keeps the excitement going and provides an excuse for everyone to stick around for another hour and another beer, just to witness your shocking transformation into an Indian warrior.


But just one word of advice.  Don't make the mistake the blond guy in the photo below made.  Don't bet your hair against a guy who had already ended up with a Mohawk because he lost his own bet on the first half of the game.  


If he already had to submit to a Mohawk at the hands of gloating winners, then you can be certain he's going to make damn sure you have to submit to the same scalping he got.  

One the best lost-bet Mohawk stories was told to me by a high school football player working at the checkout counter of a super market when he admired my own Mohawk.  He said his football coach bet the team that if they won the regional playoff game, then he (the coach) would let the team shave his own head into a Mohawk that he'd have to wear for a month.

But, on the other hand, if they lost the playoff game, then the coach got to shave the heads of the entire football team into Mohawks, which they likewise would have to wear for a solid month as their punishment for losing.  

Well, the team lost -- so the players took their punishment like men.  The coach got to carve all their heads into scalp locks, which they had to wear to school every day for a month so everyone would know they lost.  They probably looked something like this.

But the kid at the checkout counter said the fun part was losing and getting his head shaved,  He loved his punishment Mohawk so much, he kept it for the rest of the year.  

Also increasingly popular for infliction on losers who wager their hair are the so-called "reverse Mohawks" -- just a single swath of bare scalp carved right through the center of your hair.....with the rest of your hair left intact.  

Now that regular Mohawks have become much more acceptable than they were a couple of decades ago, the sadistic winners of the haircut bets are turning more and more to the reverse Mohawk in order to inflict maximum embarrassment on their losing victims.

Since, as we said, these wagers usually require the loser to wear the mutilated haircut for one or two weeks, it takes even more guts to wear a reverse Mohawk for two weeks than it does to wear an ordinary Mohawk.  Pity the guys in the two photos below.....especially the guy in the first photo with the copying machine in the background who obviously has to wear his reverse Mohawk in his office job.  Hope he's on good terms with the boss.

With a reverse Mohawk, there's obviously no way in the world that this mutilation was an accident, a slip of the clippers.  It's obvious to everyone that this swath right through the middle of your hair was deliberately inflicted on you by somebody with a sadistic sense of humor.

One of the most widely publicized "lost bet" haircuts in recent history occurred in 2011 when German soccer star Kevin Grosskreutz bet his own team that if they won the German soccer championship, they could give him any type of haircut they chose.

This is a shot of his team members tousling his luxurious locks in anticipation of taking the clippers to them.  

Say goodbye to those beautiful locks, Kevin.  You're about to lose them.

His team won the 2011 championship . . . so within minutes of the winning goal, a grinning Kevin cheerfully paid off the bet right there on the sidelines.

His teammates whipped out the hair clippers, and Kevin submitted to the punishment haircut of their choice in front of a packed stadium of 80,000 fans . . . and in front of news cameras from all over Europe.  

His team members took the clippers to his straggly locks . . . and in seconds they were gone . . leaving young Kevin with one of the most bizarre haircuts in soccer history.  

But the head shaving probably didn't bother Kevin very much.  He was already accustomed to head shaving, because . . . .

. . . because this is the great-looking haircut he wore a few years earlier . . . one of history's all-time great "Mohawk mullets."

Wow!!!  Love it!!!

Gee, Kevin . . . you'd have been better off betting the team you'd go back to this great haircut.

.

If you always wanted a Mohawk but were afraid to admit you wanted one . . . Well, betting your hair on a Super Bowl team (or the athletic event of your choice)  is the perfect way to have a Mohawk forced on you without having to ask for it.

"Gee, boss, I really didn't want this Mohawk.  But I bet on the wrong team, and this was the punishment the guys inflicted on me for losing. Sorry, boss.  They didn't give me any choice,.But I only have to wear it for two weeks."  

"HAIR VERSUS HAIR" WRESTLING MATCHES:  

As we stated above, it was professional wrestlers who, more than 65 years ago, invented the idea of betting your hair on the outcome of an athletic event . . . copied in later years in hundreds of living rooms on Super Bowl Sundays.

In the "hair matches," each of the two wrestlers bets his hair on the outcome.  The loser will then be held down by a group of wrestlers while the winner gets to forcibly shave the head of the loser right there in the ring in front of all the satisfied spectators.      

To their amazement, wrestling promoters discovered as far back as the 1950s that -- for reasons they didn't fully understand -- crowds at wrestling matches went wild with cheers at the sight of a losing wrestler forced by the referee to submit to a public head shaving as his punishment for losing the match -- especially if he had to leave the ring with a forced Mohawk.  It was a brilliant piece of showmanship that helped to draw crowds to matches just to see the defeated wrestler lose his hair.

It became such a huge hit with wrestling audiences that today so-called "hair versus hair matches" have become a wildly popular standard attraction on the professional wrestling circuit.  They are everywhere.  Maybe because, rather than just losing some dumb belt with an oversize buckle, the loser actually goes home with a highly visible sign of his humiliation -- a shaven head that he has to wear around town for a few weeks.  

Wrestling fans love the sheer sadism of the public shaving ritual -- even though it's obviously all in good, clean fun -- just part of the spectacle.

One of the thickest, most luxuriant Mohawks in wrestling history -- the classic worn by "Dr. Kliever" -- fell victim to one of those colorful "hair versus hair" matches. Wow, what a loss!!!

He was so proud of that great scalp lock that he decided to wager it in a wrestling match against Wade Hess on March 3, 2012 in Portland, Oregon.

He signed a written contract, agreeing that, if he lost, they could tie him to a chair right there in the ring and shave off that scalp lock in a punishment ritual.  

Bad move.  He lost.  So the punishment proceeded.

To add to the humiliation, a young wrestling fan from the audience was allowed to supply a rope to tie his hero's wrists behind his back..

Then, while the gloating victor hovered over the loser with the clippers, ready to shave off Kliever's cherished Mohawk, the ring attendant tied Kliever's wrists to the chair, leaving him helpless.  

Then it was time for the bound loser to suffer the

punishment.

The cherished scalp lock fell to the clippers . . .

While the crowd cheered, loving every exquisite moment.

Only professional wrestling knows how to stage an exciting show like that.  Three cheers for them!!!

To add to the exquisite humiliation . . . the young wrestling fan who supplied the rope that bound his hero was allowed to catch Kliever's falling Mohawk in a plastic bag . . . to be presented to the winning wrestler as a trophy . . . presumably to keep on his mantlepiece as a reminder of the night he won Kliever's Mohawk on a wager on a night to be remembered for years to come.

Then the young kid was allowed to finish shaving his hero. . . while hundreds of excited fans watched the end of the punishment.  

An all-time classic Mohawk bites the dust . . . and lands on somebody's mantlepiece..

What a great show!!!  What a memorable night!!!  What great fun!!!

In the scene below from a Mexican-style lucha libre professional wrestling match, the loser likewise has his hands bound behind his back lest he change his mind about paying the ultimate penalty for losing the so-called "hair match."  His falling locks were collected in a plastic bag and he was forced to carry his shaven hair home with him in a bag to remind him of his humiliation.   What a great show!!!

But a now-famous "hair match" that took the open sadism to new heights -- the match advertised as "Bald to the Bone" -- took place a number of years ago in a massive Texas football stadium before tens of thousands of wildly cheering spectators who enjoyed every moment, as the punishment sequence was stretched out to a 20 minute sequence of humiliation.  The winning members of the tag team join other bystanders and the referee in pinning the arms and legs of the spread-eagled loser, as a winning tag team wrestler stands over him with the clippers, ready to inflict the penalty to which the loser had already agreed.

While the thousands of spectators cheer wildly at his agony, the victim watches helplessly as his locks fall to the canvas. 

Meantime, other wrestlers forcibly restrain the other member of the losing tag team, as he awaits the same fate, watching his wrestling buddy get forcibly Mohawked.  Say goodbye to those beautiful locks.  They're about to be clippered bald on both sides.

As soon as the first helpless member of the losing tag team has been thoroughly Mohawked, the other wrestlers forcibly thread the second losing teammate's body through the ropes into the ring to endure his own pre-ordained fate.

The struggling number two victim -- just like his predecessor -- is spread-eagled with his arms and legs pinned by the victorious wrestlers . . . and the clippers begin inflicting the humiliating punishment for losing.

One of the winning wrestlers even calls his younger kid brother into the ring to join in the shaving fun.-- adding to the loser's humiliation.  

The two losers are sent home with mutilated haircuts.  The more sadistic the shaving, the better the crowd likes it.  But, hey, it's all good clean fun.  It's only hair.  And the losers enjoy the fun as much as the winners -- as you can see by the huge smile on the face of the victim above..

In the "hair versus hair" match below, the winner is restraining the arms of the loser who wagered his hair.  And it looks like a previous loser who had his own head shaved into a Mohawk as punishment for losing his own match is having fun inflicting a similar punishment on this new loser.  

Hot dog, a new Mohawk is born!!!  If there's one thing a Mohawk wearer enjoys most, it's initiating a new member into the cult.  

And here's the the forced Mohawk that the loser had to endure.  Dude, you took your punishment like a man -- and actually you look a lot better with the bristly tuft.  After the initial embarrassment is over, you'll come to love your Mohawk -- just like your ringside barber did.. The crowds love watching this traditional wrestling ritual being carried out.  It's the most exciting part of the show.

Here are two losing tag team members punished with ringside reverse Mohawks.  

Unfortunately, the losing wrestler below had to submit to more than a Mohawk.

Below was the finished result of his punishment.  He's wishing his ringside barber had settled for just an ordinary Mohawk.  

Like we said, it was the wild popularity of those "hair matches" in professional wrestling that inspired the annual epidemic of shaving the heads of guys who bet wrong every year on the Super Bowl.  

Wrestling fans are also football fans, so they carried the ritual over to Super Bowl Sundays, which made Super Bowls even more fun -- because losing has consequences -- leaving piles of shorn locks on living room floors all over America and lots of satisfied party-goers.

So if you bet your hair on the Super Bowl, you'll provide your football-loving buddies with at least an hour of truly memorable post-game entertainment -- and some great videos for the family archives.  Go for it!!!

Probably the most memorable haircut wager in the entire history of professional wrestling was the time in 1959 when  "Gorgeous George" bet his opponent that if George lost the wrestling match, he would submit to having his long, flowing locks shaved completely bald right there in the ring in front of 20,000 delighted fans who had flocked to Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens just to see George undergo that exquisite, public humiliation -- and in front of millions more watching on national television.

Years later, one fan vividly remembers the moment when Gorgeous George submitted to the clippers:  "At the end of the match, Gorgeous George underwent the final humiliation of having his hair shaved off right there in the ring.  I remember my brother and I calling out to each other as the winning wrestler wielded the clippers and Gorgeous George writhed beneath them.  "They're really doing it!  They're really doing it!" we yelled.

The newly bald George immediately demanded a rematch.  But with his head already shaved, he had no more hair with which to wager.  So he shocked the entire nation by doing the unthinkable.  He made a new bet that if he lost again, he would force his wife, Cherie, to be shaved bald right there in the ring in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Unfortunately, George did lose again, Cherie tried to run from the ring, fleeing the clippers.  There are no surviving photos of her ordeal.  But in a delightfully sadistic scene,seven burly men, including the winning wrestler, forcibly held her down in the ring for her own head shave while her husband watched helplessly.

Back in those days when it was unheard of for a woman to have her head shaved, the fans loved her humiliation..  "Some of the women in the audience were crying for me," Cherie recalled many years later.  "But other delighted fans yelled that I was getting just what I deserved."  They had come to enjoy her humiliation, and they didn't want her to escape from the ring with her hair intact. They wanted to see both husband and wife shaven bald.  "People were grabbing for pieces of my hair, she said.  "I was hysterical."

The enormous popularity of the couple's sadistic humiliation triggered headlines all across the nation -- thus launching the huge popularity of "hair vs. hair" wrestling matches that continues to this day -- as shown by all the photos above.  And a good many of them result in the losers being held down in the ring for forced Mohawks.

There may not be any surviving photos of Gorgeous George's wife being chased down and dragged back into the ring to have her head shaved.  But almost half a century later, in the age of the Internet, there are plenty of photos of another woman getting chased down and shaved in the wrestling ring.

Molly Holly had bet her hair that she could defeat her opponent.  When she lost, she too attempted to flee.  But like George's wife, she too was chased down and dragged back into the ring.

Her wrists were strapped down in the barber chair, leaving her helpless to resist the clippers being wielded by her opponent, Victoria."  Molly was shaved egg bald right there in the ring in front of 20,000 delighted fans who had sold out the cavernous Madison Square Gardens to see her hair shaved off.  It has gone down as one of the most memorable moments in wrestling history.

Every so often, her opponent put down the clippers to grab a hunk of Molly's shaven locks and torment her by dangling the shaven locks in front of her face.

Some women's rights people were outraged, but Molly herself later told reporters she thoroughly enjoyed the public humiliation.  "There's nothing more shocking than seeing a woman's hair forcibly shaved off lock-by-lock.  But I was totally OK with it.  Having my head shaved was the best haircut I ever had.  It was definitely the high point of my wrestling career.  If it was socially acceptable for a woman like me to be shaved bald, I would have kept it bald.  The only thing that surprised me was how long my hair took to grow back." 

Some of Molly's supporters assured the women's rights groups that by submitting to the clippers, Molly had won the right of female wrestlers to voluntarily bet their own hair on wrestling matches just like the male wrestlers do -- something wrestling promoters had feared to allow until Molly convinced them that women were brave enough to suffer the same fate as their male counterparts..

Sure enough, a short time later (in the photos below), a female wrestler in Mexico who bet her hair and lost, wound up suffering the same fate as the men who lose in a hair match. 

In order to maximize the humiliation suffered by the female wrestler above, the ringside barber shaved her completely bald everywhere but on the back of her head just above her neck, where he deliberately left the remaining hair to hang down onto her shoulders like a man's mullet haircut.  By deliberately leaving part of her hair at the rear, in sharp contrast with the rest of her bald scalp, everyone who saw her on the streets in coming days would have absolutely no doubt that someone had punished her by deliberately shaving just part of her head -- that it wasn't just a case of natural baldness or an illness.  

Then, when the punishment haircut was complete, the barber handed the defeated lady wrestler her severed tresses in a huge wad to carry home with her in disgrace.

In American wrestling rings, it’s still somewhat rare – and quite shocking -- to see a woman shaved bald right there in the ring after betting her hair and losing the wager.  But In Mexico’s much more colorful Lucha Libre style of professional wrestling, the female wrestlers long ago fought for and won the right to suffer the same punishment as the men . . . like the woman below who is in tears as she watches her locks fall..

 

The female Mexican wrestlers seem to enjoy the excitement of facing the shaving ceremony right alongside the men, even though they know their humiliating bald heads, especially on a woman, are going to be stared at for the next three or four months everywhere they go . . . their bald heads reminding everyone who sees them that they’re being punished for losing a wrestling match.


One of the most famous female head shavings ever staged in a wrestling ring occurred in 2010 when pa female professional wrestler, Serena Deeb, asked to join wrestler C.M. Punk's so-called "Straight Edge Society."  The initiation ritual was a public head shave, which Punk had already administered to several male initiates right there in the ring -- so Serena volunteered to submit to the same public humiliation that the male initiates had to endure.

Punk grabbed a pair of clippers and stripped off Serena's beautiful tresses right there in front of thousands of wildly cheering fans.  Wrestling bloggers later commented that it was obvious from the huge smile on Serena's face that she thoroughly enjoyed the initiation.  Serena later said:  "Seeing a woman getting her head shaved was so rare, you don't see it all that often in the history of wrestling. Getting to do it as my debut was really, really cool, and really powerful."  .


For months afterward, Serena faithfully obeyed Punk's orders that she keep her head freshly shaved and always appear bald in public as his body guard.

Later, when Punk initiated three more male wrestlers into his Straight Edge Society, a bald headed Serena got to share in the head shaving fun.  In the photo below, she grabs a pair of clippers and begins stripping one of the three initiates of his tresses.  Shave him good, Serena.  Now you get to do to the men what the men did to you.    

Later Serena told one interviewer she thoroughly enjoyed the shaving ritual.  She said if a bald head wasn't such a stigma for a woman, she would have happily remained a shaven woman.

 

Then the head shaving fun turned on Serena's boss, C.M. Punk.  

While the bald-headed Serena watched helplessly, one wrestler pinned Punk's arms behind his back, and another wrestler took the clippers to Punk's head to shave him bald too . . . leaving all the Straight Edge members completely bald -- including their female member.

And leaving a lot of very happy wrestling fans. The head shavings continued for months. What a great show!!!

Meanwhile, back in Mexico, over the past  75 years since the first Mexican “hair match” in 1940, the head shaving ritual has become so frequent, so widespread, and so wildly popular with Mexican audiences that perhaps it warrants a closer examination as something of a sociological phenomenon. 

The Mexican head shavings have been carefully honed into a highly ritualized, sadistic, public punishment as stylized as kabuki theater.   

Every move in the public ritual of shaving the losing wrestler -- a cherished tradition in Mexican rings -- is designed for maximum humiliation.

 

A wrestler who loses their hair is publicly shaved immediately, right there in the ring, while the TV cameras record close-up images of their agony.   A Mexican luchador who has lost a wager match would prefer to endure the humiliation of having their head shaved rather than live with the shame that would come from not honoring their wager.  They feel honor-bound to kneel and accept being stripped of their hair.

 

To make the shaven head even more humiliating, the ringside barbers in Mexico deliberately make the head shaving as sloppy and crude as possible, deliberately leaving random patches of hair intact so that in coming days anyone who sees the victim will know for an absolute fact that this is no case of natural baldness, to make it glaringly obvious that someone has used clippers to deliberately strip the victim of their tresses.

 

Mexican audiences love the shaving ritual and cheering crowds enthusiastically give the thumbs-up signal to encourage the barber to aggressively strip the losing wrestlers of their treasured locks. 

Among the most enthusiastic members of the audience are the women, who apparently enjoy seeing fellow females voluntarily accepting the same bald headed punishment that the men are suffering.

 

In American “hair matches,” the wrestler about to be shaven usually tries to run from the ring in an attempt to escape the shaving ritual. 

But Mexican wrestlers, in contrast, view the shaving as something the loser must willingly accept without protest.  Having signed a binding contract saying that if they lose, they will willingly submit to a head-shaving, the Mexican wrestlers therefore feel they are honor-bound to accept their punishment without any protest at all. 

 

As Wikipedia puts it, the loser “has to shave his head as a sign of humiliation.”  Therefore every step of the shaving ritual is carefully designed to emphasize the exquisite public humiliation of the loser. 

 

 

 

First, the loser must kneel in front of the victor right there in the ring, head bowed in submission.  The kneeling has two vital purposes.  It signals that the defeated wrestler is now fully prepared to willingly accept their punishment for losing.  But the kneeling is also to make it easier for the barber to strip them of their hair.

 

In American “hair matches,” a chair is usually brought into the ring for the head shaving.  But no chairs will do for Mexican audiences.  They’d rather see the loser forced to kneel submissively as a highly visible proof of their willingness to accept their punishment.  . 

 


Then the loser must ask to be handed the clippers and must themselves cut the first big swath right down the middle of their own heads  – again as symbolic proof that they are willingly submitting to the public head shaving.  As the crowd watches, the victim sadly examines the first severed tresses . . . contemplating their coming humiliation. 

 

Then the traditional ritual in Mexican rings requires that the loser must submissively hand those first severed locks to the victor as yet another visible symbol of their readiness to submit to the punishment.   In the photo below, the victorious female wrestler waves aloft the first severed locks of the loser, while in the background the ringside barber continues to strip the losing woman of her remaining hair, shaving her egg bald in front of the crowd.

 

 

Or sometimes it is the barber or the winning wrestler who cuts that first swath through the losers hair.  In that case, the barber or the winning wrestler then hands those first shaven locks to the victim to emphasize to them the public embarrassment they are now enduring.   


In one match, to raise the humiliation to an extraordinary level, the father of the woman who lost the match was called upon to wield the clippers in carving the first swatch from the head of his own daughter.  Thus the losing woman not only had to endure the head shaving in public, but she had to live with the knowledge that it was her own father who humiliated her by shaving her bald.   

The wining wrestler then triumphantly raises the severed locks aloft like some sort of trophy and repeatedly circles the ring, showing the shaven tresses to the wildly cheering crowd and pumping their fists in a show of victory.  The wad of severed hair is called in Spanish “the Caballera,” and the victorious wrestlers often take the caballera  home with them to display in a trophy case as visual proof of the humiliation they inflicted on the losers. 

 

The loser, still kneeling,  bows their head to allow the barber an unobstructed access to their hair – another carefully staged show of submission.  As the barber proceeds to shave off  the rest of the victim’s hair, the winner proudly stalks around the ring, still waving the caballera in a victory dance.  And the crowd goes wild with enthusiasm for the loser’s fate.  It is truly an extraordinary piece of carefully scripted theater.  The Mexican crowds love it and eagerly look forward to the moment in a match when the clippers are brought out.

 

Here’s how a victorious wrestler in one Mexican match described the experience of claiming the loser’s severed locks:  

 

"When I signed the contract a week earlier, agreeing to submit to a head shave if I lost, I was nervous, because I knew that when the day of the match came, I might end up bald. “

But instead, the other guy lost his hair, and the victorious wrestler was cheered by the crowd as he held the losers severed locks aloft for the crowd to see. 



But the losing wrestler who went home bald that night said his wrestling career actually benefited from getting his head shaved – because after the clippers finished their work, the bald-headed loser actually got cheered by the crowd for willingly submitting to the punishment. 

So how did he feel as his head was being shaved while he knelt in the ring?  “People were chanting, and the other guy had my hair in his hands.  Yes, it is a humiliation for a fighter like me to leave the dressing room with a full head of hair and then return later to the same dressing room with a shaven head.  But hair grows back.


“If you’re a wrestler and you’ve never lost your hair," he said, "it’s because you never had the guts to wager your hair.  But me?  I like challenges, so I’ve wagered my hair many times.  I lost my hair and got shaved five or six times.  People tell me that’s a record number of times to have to kneel in front of the winner and be shaved in the ring.  But I like challenges, so I’m not afraid to risk having my head shaved.”

Speaking of those Mexican lucha libre wrestling matches, Mohawk haircuts are a very popular addition to the colorful masks worn by many of the Mexican wrestlers.  

Frequently the tops of the masks have a slot cut out to allow the wrestler's Mohawk haircut to poke through the top of the mask -- thus adding a lot of extra pizzazz to the mask, a real attention-getter.

Here (see photo below) are two other Mexican wrestlers with slots cut into the top of their Lucha Libre masks to allow their own shaven Mohawk tufts to poke through the top of their masks.

Unfortunately, this Mohawked Lucha Libre wrestler bet his Mohawk in a "hair versus hair" match -- and lost.

So the winning wrestler got to claim the loser's scalp lock for his personal trophy case . . . thus sadly proving that a partially shaved head is not any protection from the ringside head-shaving ritual.

I wonder what a Mohawk looks like when it's no longer attached to a scalp?

SUBMIT TO A MOHAWK, GET A FREE TICKET OR A PRIZE:

That's a widely popular way to get Mohawked.  If a professional baseball or basketball team has a star player who proudly wears a Mohawk, management will sometimes offer free admission to a game for every fan who submits to a Mohawk haircut so they'll look just like their idol.  You'd think there would be few takers for such a drastic way to win a ticket -- but quite the contrary.  Often there are lines around the block for fans waiting to have their heads shaved into Mohawks in a public ritual -- often ending up on the evening news.

Or sometimes companies will give away valuable merchandise to anyone willing to undergo a public Mohawk shaving.  


When a new video game called "Far Cry 3" was unveiled at a convention, the manufacturer offered a free copy of the game to any fans willing to submit to a public Mohawk shearing like the one worn by the villain in the game, a sadistic pirate named Vaas.

Vaas, the pirate, just happens to sport one of the neatest looking Mohawks in the world of combat video games.  He may be a nasty villain, but it's amazing how many fans were dying for a Mohawk just like his -- especially if it meant a free copy of the game.  

There was a long line of guys awaiting a turn in the barber chair . . . including the guy below who ended up with a truly memorable Mohawk -- one for the ages.

 

HUGE CHARITY HEAD-SHAVING EVENTS HAVE HELPED ENORMOUSLY TO MAKE MOHAWKS ACCEPTABLE

Every February and March, large crowds show up at malls and pubs in almost every American town to watch tens of thousands of otherwise sane Americans volunteer for public head shavings to raise money for various charities -- including lots of women.  The shavees ask their friends to donate money to the charity in return for the chance to see them submit to a public head-shaving, which attracts massive news coverage.by almost every newspaper and TV station in America.

A team of barbers is waiting with electric clippers behind a row of chairs where the victims take their seats to submit to public shearings that that go on sometimes for hours until the last volunteer has been shaved bald.

How have those huge events contributed to the acceptability of Mohawks?

Because if your own boss . . . or the president of your local Rotary Club . . . or the most respected business leader in town . . . of the president of your local Ladies Club . . . is shown on the evening news (or on the front page of your local newspaper) emerging egg bald after having their tresses shorn off in a public shaving ceremony to the cheers of the crowd . . . then how can anyone possibly complain if you show up at work with a freshly-shaven Mohawk?

Those public shearings have convinced even the most conservative Americans in all walks of life that . . . surprise!!! . . . a public head-shaving can be loads of fun to watch and even more fun to submit to . . . that the shavings are totally harmless . . . and surprisingly sexy.  And they raise enormous amounts of money for everything from a new high school gymnasium to a new car for the local minister, or for cancer research.

We Mohawk lovers owe those public head-shavings a huge debt of gratitude for making the world safe for us.

Some of the women enjoy the shocking experience so much, they spend the rest of the year growing their hair out so they can have the fun of shaving it off again at next year's charity event.  A few women brag that they've been shaved four or five years in a row.  They love it!!!


The leading charity organization running the public head shavings, the St. Baldrich Foundation -- says in the 16 years they've been involved, they have shaved almost half a million heads at 9,000 public events -- including (amazingly enough) almost 50,000 women who have volunteered to go bald.  In doing so, they have raised more than $118 million for cancer research.  Think of it -- 50,000 bald women -- and all of them volunteered to be shaved.

The exploding popularity of head shaving rituals was driven home to millions of American TV viewers in 2012 at an NFL football game when two ravishingly beautiful cheerleaders for the Indianapolis Colts volunteered to have their heads shaved on the sidelines during the game's 3rd quarter to show support for their coach who was battling cancer.  

They said if fans of the team would donate $10,000, they'd submit to the head shaving on national TV, while the stadium's huge Jumbo-tron screen showed close-ups of the shearing.  Instead, fans donated double that amount.  So on the appointed game day, the entire nation watched in shock and fascination as the lovely tresses of the two cheerleaders fell to the clippers.  

During the entire ordeal, the two cheerleaders had huge smiles on their faces, as they held up their severed locks for the TV cameras, leaving little doubt that they thoroughly enjoyed the exciting experience.  

Good for them!!!  

Afterward, they proudly showed off their beautiful bald heads to the nationwide TV audience and to the other grinning cheerleaders, allowing them to rub their shaven scalps.  

One of the shaven cheerleaders confided later to an interviewer that even before the team's mascot challenged her to submit to the head shaving, she had already dreamed of having her head shaved bald in front of the 40,000 spectators in the stadium.

So it was a dream come true.  What a truly brave woman!!!



After being sheared, the two bald-headed women joined the other cheerleaders to help lead the cheers for their team -- their bald heads in stark contrast to the lush tresses of the other cheerleaders.  A memorable picture.

So the whole nation can enjoy immensely watching two women being shaved egg bald in a football stadium -- but they can't let Junior endure a football initiation haircut? And hubby can't enjoy a tuft of bristly hair atop his otherwise bald head?  Yup -- when hundreds of thousands of American began standing in line to get stripped of their locks at charity events, much of the opposition to Mohawk haircuts (and initiation haircuts) disappeared.

Suddenly ordinary, conservative Mohawks looked rather tame in comparison.  

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Comment by DantheHawkMan on January 28, 2015 at 7:25am
All I can maybe add to this is my personal experience going from a conservative style haircut to morphing into a full blown Hawk. I started with a FauxHawk and then let the top Hawk part slowly get longer, then started shaving the sides shorter and shorter, until now I shave them as short as the clippers will go. I must say to all those debating on whether to shave their sides, that nothing feels better than coming out of the hair salon with freshly shaved sides. You just have to try it to believe it.
As for peoples reactions, by far more have been positive for me than negative. I work in Retail Sales, and it has gotten to the point now that when I wear my hair down at Work, some of my Customers are disappointed and ask me to bring my Hawk back! I have had people take photos of my Hawk, and yes, even want to feel my Hawk! I live in small town Saskatchewan so I am the only Hawked individual for literally at least a hundres miles around, so I am on my own for sure.
My Employer has been great about my Hawk, to which I am grateful as I am constantly reading on this Site about people that have had to shave off their Hawks due to their Employment.
If you have always wanted to try a Hawk, but are just too scared to make the whole plunge right now, I can only suggest you do as I did, and start with a FauxHawk, yes, I know the FauxHawk gets bashed a bit on here by some, but it is a good style to start with and let people get used to your slow changeover from a same ol samo style into a full blown awesome Hawk!
 

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