June 512, 1997
ultimate summer fun
What hath Dennis Rodman wrought?
By Margit Detweiler
Talk about your unbearable lightness of being. City Paper's Brian Howard dabbed his sweaty forehead as he sat under the hot lights. With a plastic cap on his head, a silver smock around his shoulders and bleach saturating his once black hair, he was, for the third time, going blond.P"I'm trying to get in touch with my lighter side," said Brian as he swiveled in the chair at the Locksmith Shop (the downstairs salon at the Chop Shop on South Street). Though the pain was significant, he barely winced. And all for the sake of fashion.
What a man.
Brian Howard in transition: Blonding...
According to several hairstylists around the city, all the young dudes have been bleaching their dark tresses.P"We're seeing a lot of men, from 18 and up, going blond," says Locksmith Shop colorist Marcus Matos. "It's a male revolution, really. Why not do what the women do? I think it's starting to release some machismo. It's good for them and, you know, the whole community."
So male blonding is the first step toward realizing your inner Marilyn?
Just the opposite.
"I think I look more like a hard-ass as a blond, more punk rock," says Brian. "My hair matches my dope suede sneakers and my dope suede Richard Roundtree jacket."
Mike Ippoliti, another guy gone blond (thanks to Rocker Head off South Street), likes the contrast between his conservative office garb and his newly bleached locks.
"I'm basically a suit," laughs Ippoliti, a manufacturer's rep for Haworth, a company which makes high-end corporate furniture. "I wanted to differentiate myself and let people know I wanted to have some fun in my life. My work has been very cool about it. I really thought my job might be on the line."
Right now Ippoliti's roots are starting to show, but that's the look he digs.
"I like it when it's about half and half. I look tough."
Anthony Martinelli, the Locksmith colorist who bleached Brian's head, says a movie kicked off the trend.P"I think the popularity of Trainspotting had a lot to do with it."
(The very sexy character Sick Boy in the Scottish film has very sexy bleached blond hair.)
But hairstylist Julius Scissor says it's nothing new.
"The first time I bleached a man's hair completely was in 1970. We had two guys go bleach blond, one was an African-American man. It took all day to do it but it was a very effective look."
Back then, Scissor adds, folks might have looked twice at a man with white-blond dyed hair.P"Young men now are very free to do whatever they feel like," says Scissor. "In the '90s, guys don't even think twice about bleaching their hair."
Brian, who has the lucky distinction of "having more hair than God," as he puts it, had thick black hair with blond remnants from a self-bleached, grown-out dye job. Colorist Martinelli was concerned that his dark hair wouldn't take too well the first time through.
But after an hour under a three-headed heat lamp, he was blonder than Billy Idol.He even sneered a bit (or maybe it was the effects of the heat lamp).
So the big question is: Do boy blondes have more fun?
"Some women who know me like it better blond. Some say they wished I'd gone back to black," says Brian. "I didn't see any increase in my success rate, if that's what you're asking."