Supposedly Marie Antoinette' coiffeur sought to camouflage the Queen's early balding by upsweeping her thin tresses atop her head to cascade over her ears. The style lost its popularity after the Bourbon Queen's decapitation by the guillotine, however almost two centuries later Jackie Kennedy, JFK's fashionable wife, reincarnated the fashion with the help of her hairdresser Mr. Kenneth.
Everything about Jackie was fabulous in the early 60s and whether they lived in New York or Iowa women across America imitated the First Lady's glamour with a visit to the local hair salon.
The country was soon awash with bouffants with movie stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Kim Novak furthering the cause of the extreme hair-do. Only the nuns at Our Lady of the Foothills rejected the trend with their hair to the skull, although none of their students saw what was under the dimple, so the reverend sisters also might have been sporting bouffants too.
The bouffant died out with the coming of the hippie era. Young women grew their hair long and the style seemed slated for extinction, only to stage several rebirths with the coifs of lead singers of the B-52s and another with the late English singer Amy Winehouse and the actresses in TV Show MADMEN.
Last week ago a woman walked into a New York bar in the East Village. Her bleached blonde hair was piled high on her head. She looked so very 60s. I was sitting with Jamie Parker, who was recently back from Thailand and the 50 year-old ex-con said, "She looks like a 1960s transvestite."
"You don't like the bouffant?" The hair style resurrected my youth and my first yearnings for women instead of girls.
"Not at all, but this Mr. Kenneth who re-invented the hair style for Jackie Kennedy was gay." Jamie smirked at the passing beauty.Her stiletto heels were almost as tall as her hair and we caught the scent of Chanel No.5.
"You have something against gays?" Back in the 60s they were called homos and they were to be feared by young men, unless they were looking for a good time.
"Me, I love gays, but I looked at the bouffant hair style as a strategy gay hairdressers used to make straight men not want to have sex with their wives or girlfriends. It might have turned Kim Novak and Leslie Gore gay." Jamie spoke with no trace of rancor. His first love was drugs.
"I liked the bouffant. Back in 1965 I met a girl from Mattapan at the Oriental Theater. Her name was Jo with dirty blonde hair as stiff as a store mannequin's wig. She was my Kim Novak.
"How does it figure?"
"You're from Boston. Men from Boston love Jackie Kennedy. You probably went to bed jerking off to the First Lady."
"Not that I can remember." Jackie O rode horses and spoke French. Women like her were destined to marry rich regardless of their hairstyle. "I know my place."
"Don't we all." Jamie was in the States to visit his mother. She lived in the Bronx and thought that he was teaching school in Thailand, instead of running the Pigpen A Go-Go featuring fat pretty bar girls and skinny ugly pole dancers. Jamie was a man of the street no matter where he lived on this Earth.
"Easy to know your place when it's only us and them."
The them was the rich. The 'us' was the rest of the world and no bouffant would make a woman Jackie O or Marie Antoinette, except in Thailand, where some of the boys are girls and twice the girl any woman would be, even with a bouffant.
Jackie O would have love them.