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The Duck's Ass (or in the UK Duck's Arse) is a haircut style that was popular during the 1950s. It is also called the Duck's Tail, the Ducktail, or simply D.A.

Contents

History

Joe Cirello, a barber from Philadelphia, claimed to have invented the Duck's Ass in 1940.[1] A similar hairstyle, sometimes called the Argentine Ducktail, consisting of greased hair piled high on top and swept back at the sides to form a ridge or seam at the back, was simultaneously fashionable among the Mexican-American Pachucos of Los Angeles. The Duck's tail became an emblematic coiffure of disaffected young males across the English-speaking world during the 1950s. In Britain, it formed part of the visual identity of Teddy Boys and Rockers, along with the Quiff and the Elephant's Trunk.

The combing technique

The style required that the hair be combed back around the sides of the head. The teeth edge of a comb was then used to define a central parting running from the crown to the nape at the back of the head, resembling, to many, the rear end of a duck. The hair on the top front of the head was either deliberately disarrayed so that untidy strands hung down over the forehead, or combed up and then curled down into an 'Elephants trunk' which would hang down as far as the top of the nose.

A variant of the style, the Detroit, consisted of the long back and sides combined with a flattop.

The ducktail hair style contributed to the term greasers: to accomplish this look, lots of pomade (hair grease) was required to hold the hair in place. This was still the era of hair creams, so it only required an increase in the amount to make hair remain in the desired style. Brands of grease used include Black & White, Sweet Georgia Brown and Murrays.

To ensure that the hair was just so, the wearer often touched up the D.A. many times during the day by running his greased comb through it. The character "Kookie", played by Edd Byrnes on the 1950s television drama show 77 Sunset Strip was constantly tending his hair, leading to Byrnes's 1959 hit song with Connie Stevens, "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb".

Significance of the style

The D.A. quickly became a stereotypical feature of rebels and nonconformists, and gained popularity especially after the rise of rock 'n roll legend Elvis Presley, who sported the same look. Although the ducktail was adopted by Hollywood to represent the wild youth of the Fifties, only a minority of males actually sported a D.A., even amongst the British Rockers and Teddy Boys of the same era.

References

  1. ^ Wallace Andy, Barber to stars, inventor of DA haircut dies at 79." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service February 14, 1994, http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-5508465_ITM Accessed: July 8, 2008

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