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The sweeping changes in David Beckham’s hair and our kindred fascination with him.

March 2011- the extreme part.
David Beckham- Image source: Dailymailco.uk

In case you haven’t noticed- David Beckham, the English soccer player is every woman’s wet dream (and I’m going to assume a great degree of mens too)- at least that’s what I have read in most mainstream media. To be fair, he does strike a dandy countenance, has been blessed with chiseled features, sporting acumen, lucrative sporting and advertising contracts, charisma, the company of a pop icon wife and of course the never ending changing mood of his foppish hair.

As an avid fan of all things David Beckham I was pleasantly curious when this weekend past the Guardian came out with a 20 page (yes indeed kids) spread on the ever changing moods of Mr Beckham’s hair. It seems Mr Beckham is now sporting a new look ( parted and flipped to the side and of course sufficiently well greased). All of this of course got me wondering- what is it about our public fascination with this man’s hair follicles?

Before I even attempt to speculate as to why this man’s hair has inspired a wave of optimism and imagination in the public eye I’d like to recant a biblical story that I read as a young boy that has always to this day stayed with me and perhaps this will act a segue way as to our collective fascination with Mr Beckham.

The story involves that of Samson and Delilah. Samson was the thorn in the side of the ancient Philistines and Delilah was the woman who was to coax the secret of his great unmitigated strength which had thwarted the Philistines. Eventually he divulged it was all in his hair and being the crafty duplicitous woman that she was Delilah had Samson’s hair shorn off and thus debilitated of his strength.

Which is to say, as much as it is customary for most men to have simple crew cuts, the ability of a man to grow long unfettered hair portends to virility and the feminine. Virility because of the stamina of the hair follicles and it’s connection to youth (after all when was the last time you saw bald 19 year old boys?) and femiminity  because of the ability to approximate a woman’s look (have you being paying attention to super models Andrej Pejic and David Chiang?) against the grain of expectations. Of course there has always been something attractive about a man who is able to display both masculine and feminine characteristics, a sort of harmony and aesthetic equilibrium that has its strength even in biblical books and ancient antiquity.

Which brings us back to Mr Beckham, the token male model du jour, sporting star, cover boy who after more than a decade has captured our collective imagination- off the field and on the field. Part self marketing (it has become endemic of the times), part aspirations to create ones own fashion statement and part physical requirement to keep ones hair a certain shape and size for the playing field, Mr Beckham unlike most sporting stars has been able to capture our collective fascination for the aesthetically pleasing.

February 1997- Fresh faced. Following images sourced: Guardian