Let’s face it, Minnesota: We’re going to emerge from this period of pandemic-triggered sheltering in place a tad shaggier than we were when we could still visit a salon or barbershop for a tidy trim or a new ‘do. If your bangs are getting trapped in your eyelashes or your neckline is swiftly transforming into a mullet, then read on for inspiration. Even if hair is not your head’s strong suit, read on – and then share ideas with your friends who are starting to become unrecognizable. Because everyone knows someone who has hair and may be in need of help.
As in most times of uncertainty, a swift turn to history proves instructive – so we thought we’d share some ideas that might just inject your Stay-At-Home Hairdos TM with a dash of historical flair.
Lena Olive Smith
These posh fingerwaves are just the thing for approaching life with that perfect blend of poise and punch. With this crown of waves that would make even Lake Superior jealous, you can tackle anything that comes your way. For Smith, that included becoming the first Black female lawyer in Minnesota, the first female president of the Minneapolis NAACP and helping to found the Minneapolis Urban League.
Wondering how to achieve that polished, punchy look? We have no idea either. But a quick search reveals a slew of options – some involving heat, while other methods prefer pins.
Before becoming a lawyer, Lena Smith worked in real estate, a profession that brought her close to Minnesota’s blatantly racist housing practices. Learn more about one of her most well-known law cases that involved housing discrimination in the documentary Jim Crow of the North.
We imagine that for most of us, if we just let our hair keep on going au natural – with the occasional, almost accidental cut to keep the strands out of our eyes – we’d end up with an approximation of Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam’s perfect shag. But really, who’s got time for a trim when you’re simultaneously holding the title as the only non-British Python director, writer, actor and (according to his fellow Pythons) monosyllabic Minnesota farm boy. We recommend letting your hair grow and hoping for the best.
Our friend Lyman truly sported a mop to be reckoned with, one that you, too, can pull off with the right amount of devil-may-care je ne sais quoi. All the more appropriate if you, like Dayton, are an outrageously wealthy railroad speculator. Though we have speculations, ourselves, about Dayton’s choice in coiffure, it certainly didn’t get in the way of his success: After all, both a Minnesota town and a Saint Paul neighborhood bear his name.
As far as hockey hair goes, you could do far worse than taking inspiration from Henry Boucha. His flowing mane, kept in check by that trademark sweatband, just screams “champion.” Rocking this ‘do, you never know how far you can go or what goals you might score. For Boucha, a member of the Northwest Angle No. 37 Ojibwe band, that included serving in the US Army, being a key member of the US Olympic hockey team, playing for the Minnesota North Stars, and being an activist locally and nationally for Native American causes. At certain moments in his career, Boucha also sported a dapper mustache – so we recommend that as an additional option.
Love MN sports? There’s so much more where that came from.
Frances Ethel Gumm
For the littles in your life, taking a page out of Gumm’s style book may be a smart move. An oversized headband can transform your messy moppet’s mane nearly as well as it did for young Frances. After her formative first four years in Grand Rapids, Minn., the notorious FEG would go over the rainbow to become Hollywood icon Judy Garland. So gather up your paper plates and some ribbons and maybe that random filigree you’ve been collecting since 1992, and make your kiddos some headbands. We’re betting they’d even like to get in on the craft-making fun.
Charles M. Loring
Is it possible for people to start resembling their careers in the same way some people resemble their pets? That’s the best explanation we can come up with for the Father of Minneapolis Parks’s bushy sideburns. To recreate this hirsute hairstyle, you need to link together your facial hair, head hair and maybe even neck hair. After all, if Loring managed to secure the property surrounding the Chain of Lakes for public use, then we’re pretty sure you can manage to connect the various forms of hair on your face and head. In a playful twist – much like the children’s park play equipment that Loring advocated for – this style also requires you to fluff out the ends of your hair. How fluffy? Just picture the historic elm canopy along Victory Memorial Parkway that Loring funded. That should give you a ballpark.
A bouffant sized to match her ambition, Rose Totino’s hairstyle will inspire you to think outside of the (pizza) box. From “exotic” PTA potluck food to star of her Northeast Minneapolis pie shop to the top-selling frozen pizza brand in the U.S., Rose Totino’s pizza-making prowess made waves. And her beehive – paired with her people skills and tenacity – led her to become the first female Vice President of Pillsbury and put her name in the frozen food aisle (and in the Minnesota Inventors’ Hall of Fame). How high will your beehive take you? The answer lies in another question: How many cans of beans have you hoarded during your shelter-in-place experience? We hear that cans of beans make an excellent scaffold.
Pouf in the front, pony in the back and a heaping helping of side curl, this ‘do comes to us courtesy of colonial explorer Jonathan Carver – and every other well-to-do wigged gent of the 18th Century. Though his ego may have been bruised when his explorations of what is now Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin were not recognized by the British king and Parliament, his hairdo reflects the big head he may have gotten after having a Minnesota town, a county and a community development corporation named after him (Carver, Carver County and the Jonathan Association, respectively). One note of caution: Those beguiling side curls may draw passersby to you, breaking our six-foot distance rules. Because who can resist the urge to fit their finger inside that audacious coil? No one.
A haircut as no-nonsense, practical and uncompromising as the woman wearing it, this close-cropped, center-parted style inspires one to blaze trails and push boundaries. Just as Martha Ripley was simultaneously a doctor, suffragist and activist for under-resourced and ostracized women, you, too, can take on the world with this determined ‘do. And if you just roll out of slumber to your home office these days, our best guess is that your bed-head will mask any errors you made with this precision cut.
Jimmy Jam Harris
We could listen to Jimmy Jam Harris talk about the Minneapolis music scene all day – and we could also stare at his 1988 hairstyle all night. Like Harris, himself, this head o’ hair has got a lot going on: There’s the pompadour on top, the slicked-back sides, and the long, luxurious locks in back. With a look like this, you, too, can reach for the stars – which, in Harris’ case has led to working with the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Boyz II Men, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, George Michael, Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross, among many others. For the rest of us, reaching for the stars may mean scooping up the tiny shapes in the cans of Chicken-and-Stars soup we eat for lunch on sad-lunch days.
There are many more late ’80s hairstyles (and music) to be admired in the documentary The Minneapolis Sound.
Whether you are about to embark on your first at-home trim or you’re an old pro, we hope you find yourself inspired to try something new and – dare we say it – bold. Perhaps a new style to manifest a new idea or a new adventure – or maybe just for the shear fun of it.