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First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbershop (Read 9833 times)
Rapunzel
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First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbershop
Jul 6th, 2003 at 10:02pm
 
Plebe summer is off to hairy start

Induction: The first day for Naval Academy freshmen is a busy one in the barbershop.

By Ariel Sabar
Sun Staff

July 2, 2003

By 8:20 a.m. yesterday, the hair was ankle-deep in places.

Black tresses mingled with blond locks, angelic curls with gel-stiffened spikes. Here, the remains of a bob. There, a tuft from a surfer's mop-top.

Though hair styles come and go, one fact about the Naval Academy's Induction Day never changes. On the first day of school, freshmen surrender their hairdos at the door.

"I guess I don't have a choice," Michael McHugh, 18, of Pittsburgh, said jokingly as he sank into a blue vinyl seat in the Alumni Hall storage room serving as the day's bustling barbershop.

"That's a big negative," confirmed Woody Landis, the man with the clippers.

Induction Day is the start of a grueling six-week initiation called plebe summer, and for most of this year's 1,236 freshmen, it is also day one in the Navy. After hugging their parents goodbye yesterday, the plebes waited for hours in a snaking line, trying on uniforms, giving blood samples, memorizing a book of rules and learning salutes.

Yet there is no surer stamp of the shift from teen-ager to officer-in-training than the haircut. "Suddenly, they're not an individual anymore," said Joe Bogansky, 57, who has cut hair at Annapolis for most of his adult life and now manages the staff of 16 barbers. "They're a big team now. They're in the same boat."

For most of her teen-age years, Rochelle Gandy, of Sacramento, Calif., spent 25 minutes a day washing, combing and styling her nearly waist-long hair. A stylist at home recently trimmed it to shoulder length, but the academy wanted it shorter. "Oh, wow," she said, running her fingers through hair that suddenly peters out now at her chin. "Oh, wow."

The barbershop is the site of this often bewildering transformation. But it is also a refuge, a place where plebes briefly escape the bark of upperclassmen herding them from station to station. So the barbers, like barbers everywhere, use their time to both clip and counsel.

"They expect more abuse when they come in here," Edwina Voelcker, an academy barber for 18 years, said in between cuts. "But the barbershop is one of the most laid-back places. I say, 'Just hang in there. It's going to be OK.'"

"It's a relaxing mood," added Ernest "Smitty" Smith, a 22-year barbershop veteran who keeps up a banter with the plebes. "Once they get out of here, everything is strict military."

Bogansky said that in years past he has seen tears spill in the barber's chair. Other barbers swear they can tell from this briefest of meetings which plebes will survive the first year and which won't.

Yesterday, though, as clippers whined and scissors clicked, there were mostly just long stares, furrowed brows, and nervous laughter. After all, it was just hair.

The plebe summer cut is the most severe male midshipmen receive at the academy. Bogansky calls it "the bald cut," meaning, he says, that "all your hair is cut off."

This is a high-maintenance style, for the simple reason that hair grows. Most plebes will pay at least three more visits to the barber before the summer is out.

Chuck Arcoria, on the job now 17 years, is honest with his male charges about their choices. "You got two options," he tells them. "Slim or none."

Women's hair must stay above the collar. Many decide to give the job to trusted stylists back home rather than roll the dice on "I-Day."

Becky Lack signed a "No Cut" form yesterday after the barbers blessed the stylish street-urchin cut she had gotten at home, in Hatch, N.M.

"I knew that everything was going to be a shock," she said, "so I wanted to have one thing stable before I got here."

The academy signed up this year to donate plebe hair to Locks of Love, a Florida-based group that weaves wigs for children suffering from diseases that cause hair loss. Yesterday, only one plebe, Cassandra Soto, of Jersey City, N.J., had long enough hair to qualify. Her dark, 10-inch tresses may be useless at Annapolis, but they'll soon be performing a community service. (Ed.'s Note: The LongLocks HairSticks Boutique does NOT endorse Locks of Love).

The rules on hair loosen after plebe summer, but only a little.

Though they can grow their hair to 2 inches, men must still keep "hair above the ears and neck ... tapered from the lower hairline upwards at least three-fourths of an inch and outwards not greater than three-fourths inch," according to just one of 15 rules on men's hair. (There are 26 rules for women, including a two-barrette limit.)

Still, this offers just enough of a window for self-expression. "Even though you wouldn't think so," says Bogansky, "the midshipmen are very particular about their hair."

http://www.sunspot.net/news/education/bal-ar.hair02jul02,0,3396452.story?coll=ba...

Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
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Re: First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbersh
Reply #1 - Jul 7th, 2003 at 4:57am
 
My goodness... I wouldn't GO to a place like that if I had to chop off all my hair!
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Rapunzel
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Re: First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbersh
Reply #2 - Jul 7th, 2003 at 9:25am
 
Well, it's all part of the discipline aspect of the U.S. military.  But I'm with you, I wouldn't make a good soldier!  I don't have any respect for authority, LOL!
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Re: First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbersh
Reply #3 - Jul 7th, 2003 at 5:28pm
 
Why don't you support Locks of Love?  Just wondering, I wouldn't donate myself, but know someone who does regularly.
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Rapunzel
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Re: First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbersh
Reply #4 - Jul 8th, 2003 at 2:44am
 
Because they throw away more hair than they use and sell the hair as well.  I also understand they have some questionable accounting practices.  Also, bikerbraid recently pointed out that doctors recommend that children not have wigs made out of human hair because they are harder to care for.  BB, do you remember on which board it was we were having this discussion?
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Re: First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbersh
Reply #5 - Jul 8th, 2003 at 2:26pm
 
Oh.  That's interesting information.  Thanks for letting me know.
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Re: First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbersh
Reply #6 - Mar 16th, 2004 at 10:13am
 
lol...I have to say...thank God I'm in the Army! Cheesy
(Well, sort of Wink )
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Re: First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbersh
Reply #7 - Mar 16th, 2004 at 2:15pm
 
Mandy;
Does the Army no longer require the short cuts for basic training?
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Re: First day at Naval Academy is busy at barbersh
Reply #8 - Mar 17th, 2004 at 4:18am
 
Are you signing up for a full tour in the Army?  Do you have a specific "goal" in mind while in the Army? 

As I understand, at least after the initial training, the hair must just be kept neat and off the collar.  Start practicing french braids and buns!
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US Army Basic Training Hair guidelines
Reply #9 - Mar 17th, 2004 at 4:30am
 
I found this information regarding the female hair guidelines for Army basic training.

[extracted from this web site http://basic.armystudyguide.com/uniforms/hair_standards.htm]

Female Hair Standards

Female soldiers will ensure their hair is neatly groomed, that the length and bulk of the hair are not excessive, and that the hair does not present a ragged, unkempt, or extreme appearance. Likewise, trendy styles that result in shaved portions of the scalp (other than the neckline) or designs cut into the hair are prohibited. Females may wear braids and cornrows as long as the braided style is conservative, the braids and cornrows lie snugly on the head, and any holding devices comply with the standards. Dreadlocks (unkempt, twisted, matted individual parts of hair) are prohibited in uniform or in civilian clothes on duty. Hair will not fall over the eyebrows or extend below the bottom edge of the collar at any time during normal activity or when standing in formation. Long hair that falls naturally below the bottom edge of the collar, to include braids, will be neatly and inconspicuously fastened or pinned, so no free-hanging hair is visible. This includes styles worn with the improved physical fitness uniform (IPFU).

Styles that are lopsided or distinctly unbalanced are prohibited. Ponytails, pigtails, or braids that are not secured to the head (allowing hair to hang freely), widely spaced individual hanging locks, and other extreme styles that protrude from the head are prohibited. Extensions, weaves, wigs, and hairpieces are authorized only if these additions have the same general appearance as the individual’s natural hair. Additionally, any wigs, extensions, hairpieces, or weaves must comply with grooming policies.

Females will ensure that hairstyles do not interfere with proper wear of military headgear, protective masks, or equipment at any time. When headgear is worn, the hair will not extend below the bottom edge of the front of the headgear or below the bottom edge of the collar.

Hair-holding devices may be used only for securing the hair. Soldiers will not place hair-holding devices in the hair for decorative purposes. All hair-holding devices must be plain and of a color as close to the soldier’s hair as is possible or clear. Authorized devices include, but are not limited to, small, plain scrunchies (elastic hair bands covered with material), barrettes, combs, pins, clips, rubber bands, and hair bands. Devices that are conspicuous, excessive or decorative are prohibited. Some examples of prohibited devices include, but are not limited to, large, lacy scrunchies; beads, bows, or claw clips; clips, pins, or barrettes with butterflies, flowers, sparkles, gems, or scalloped edges; and bows made from hairpieces.
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