The principal of Lycée Ronsard,You have probably gathered that a “cockscomb haircut” is what we would call a mohawk in the U.S.
arbiter of style
Piercings, scarlet-red hair, chains, OK... but the cockscomb, that’s a no! A Vendôme high school student gets sent home.
He’s a nice kid, easy-going, who is well-liked by friends of both genders. Thursday, however, his life was turned upside down: as he walked onto the grounds of Ronsard high school in Vendôme, the student bumped — figuratively speaking — into the principal, Alfred Piélot.
And that’s when all the trouble started: on the one hand, a classic suit-and-tie, impeccable grooming — everything you would expect in a high school principal. On the other, a leather jacket, funky shoes, red and blue hair, and, above all, a cockscomb haircut. A very impressive cockscomb haircut. Either you like it or you don’t. The principal doesn’t. The esthetic conflict runs deep.
The student is firmly invited to return home and get rid of the crazy-looking hair, the ostentatious character of which has shocked Alfred Piélot. Before departing, the banished student alerts his classmates, who immediately go running to the principal’s office. Over the course of an animated and acrid discussion, it becomes obvious that the two sides don’t at all share the same view of what constitutes elegance in fashion.
Chloë, who is especially outspoken, calls it a “unique and original” haircut. Alfred Piélot calls it “ridiculous.” The arbiter of fashion is the principal and the principal alone. Alfred Piélot puts an end to the discussion by sarcastically inviting the dissident students “to lead a solidarity movement in favor of their reprimanded comrade.”
The problem, with young people, is that there is no need to ask them twice when you're asking them to do something they are already tempted to do: yesterday, 30 or more of them came to school with different-colored cockscomb hairstyles.
Alfred Piélot is doing his best to remain philosophical about it all: “I am not sure that accepting the will of these young people would be doing them a favor educationally. Where are the boundaries? It’s true, last Thursday I decided that one student had gone too far. I really didn’t appreciate that modified Roman-helmet haircut. But the student was re-admitted the next day, because he had trimmed the cockscomb down to make it shorter.”
Everything changes, nothing changes. In the 1970s, students were sent home for wearing their hair too long...
17 April 2009
Here's a translation of an article that ran in our local newspaper, La Nouvelle République, last week. I enjoyed it and hope you do too.