The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Not for women only

Local man decides it's 'hair today, gone tomorrow'


Why would a man wear his hair long? Really long, almost waist-length?

Because he sings in a country band on weekends?

Because he's not, you know, really manly?

Ask Paul Boylen of Newnan. He should know. His hair was long for 25 years before he had it cut recently and gave it away.

Boylen's masculinity is not in question. And on a recent Friday evening, the closest he got to show biz was to be home screening the movie "Shrek" with his wife, Wendy.

Now 50, Boylen is an ex-Marine whose coiffure was dictated by military regulations. He let his hair grow when he got out of the Corps and into construction work.

Soon he had two little daughters who told him they liked his hair long. He did too.

No one can tell him how to wear his hair. Boylen owns his own business, Southern Framing, and has four crews framing houses in five south side counties.

"I think construction workers have long hair because they can," Boylen said. "Probably more men would if they were not restricted" by someone else's rules.

Actually, Boylen could site health reasons. His hair and skin are very light, and he has pre-cancerous lesions removed from his skin annually. "My dermatologist said long hair protects the skin," Boylen said.

So, why cut it now? The reason was twofold, Boylen said: "I had grown tired of it, but also because I have two lady friends going through chemotherapy for cancer, and I did it as a gesture.

"I think they liked that I did it," he mused.

Boylen donated his 16-inch hank of hair to an organization called Locks of Love, where human hair is woven into wigs for financially disadvantaged young poeple who have lost theirs, usually due to a dermatological disorder like alopecia areata. The wigs are custom-fit and vacuum-sealed to the head.

Boylen said he got the idea after reading in The Citizen about area girls and women who had given their tresses to Locks of Love, but he had never heard of a man doing it. Parajon's Hair Studio on South Glynn Street in Fayetteville did the honors.

Boylen's wife and daughters, by the way, wear their hair shorter than he did. Wendy Boylen's is "just past her shoulders," her husband said. The girls are now 25 and 22. One wears her hair shoulder-length, the other "cut very close."

The family wanted Paul's story told "to encourage more people to do this," he said. "Most people are not aware that the program exists."

As the scissors approached, did he have any misgivings? Not for a moment, he said firmly. "I wish I'd have done it a long time ago," he said. "I was tired of having to braid it and work out all the tangles."

Now that's a complaint many a woman can relate to.

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