In the ‘Aye’ of the Beholder

In the ‘Aye’ of the Beholder


I thought I’d go ahead and give you the gist of “Janis’ Haircut,” especially for the benefit of those who might be relatively new to Arlo & Janis and to this Web site, bless your hearts. It certainly was not a deliberate thing, done with forethought (Hah!), but Janis’ style change from a more youthful mane to an off-the-neck bob marked a change in the strip, I believe. When I think about it, it conveniently delineates the formative period of Arlo & Janis from the modern era in ways far beyond the obvious change in Janis’ appearance. I’m not saying that one period is better than the other, necessarily. I was doing some pretty good stuff in the 90s, in the years leading up to the 1999 haircut. After that, the characters seemed to mature, and I think the strip became better day-to-day. However, I’m not sure the modern era has the creativity that appeared now and then in the formative period. Anyway, the length of Janis’ hair crops up as a point of discussion to this day. Arlo, on the other hand, shed his longish locks several years before Janis, and almost know one said anything.

20 responses to “In the ‘Aye’ of the Beholder”

  1. For no really good reason, a woman’s external identity is linked to her hair. Why is that? I agree with JJ that the strip gained some maturity around that time, and the hairstyle REFLECTED that, rather than being a cause of it. Janis’ hairstyle continued to evolve for awhile in subtle ways until it’s current incarnation. I like it. More recently, she’s also making observations about her aging body. Yup! It’s inevitable. I don’t think Arlo isn’t as tuned in to his own evolution. Hmmm… Is that a guy thing?

    • You are right; she has changed. Some of this reflects, indirectly and unintentionally, changes in my own life. I like some things about the older Janis, and I miss some of the things about the younger Janis.

  2. Our former sister-in-law wore her hair straight and then go a permanent to make it curly. My wife and I lamented that she looked so much better when it was straight. Later she told my wife that in order to make it straight, it would take her a very long time and now she just had to blow dry it.

    My wife’s hair is very short as the one time she tried to grow it out, she started to look like Rosanne Rosanadana. Not a good look.

    Janis’s haircut was a shock, but fairly quickly we decided she looked better. And it had to be easier for Jimmy to draw!

  3. Women! My wife calls me to account when I don’t notice even the smallest change.
    She once said once I would only notice if she got a crewcut or worse.
    Probably true.

  4. For me, the best bit involving Janis’ hair was the description of her ‘do as an uside down pot with a long handle.
    Once heard, never unseen.

      • I am headed up to Hillman Mi (30 miles west of Alpena). Years ago my brother-in-law lived there during the winter and he took us out to a spot where Elk were at.

        One of the Elk started to move and I literally thought a tree was moving. What a rack!

  5. Barrow, AK, where some of us have been watching momma Snowy Owl and her 4 kids. All 4 are out of the nest, still far from flying physique, mom still supplying them w/ lemmings, maybe an occasional Arctic Hare. Dad? Who he? Don’t know if any owl males act ~ good parents. Snowies don’t [stupid speelczech!]. The pink wand? Local owl watchers, I guess. Hope it is approved SOP.


    • The barn owls I watch in CA on “owlceanside” are quite family-oriented. Dad did/does a lot of hunting for mom & the kids. Owlets are all out of the box and have been for a month or more, but they still gather around it on the outside at night.

      Ever since a download of updates – oxymoron? – I have not been able to view the complete site and observe the blog. Hope that changes.

  6. Mea culpa [speelczech recognizes culpa, but not Mea]. Anyway, extrapolated from knowing GH Owl [same genus] males don’t incubate, though forgetting that they provision & defend mom and nestlings, to “males are freeloaders.” These males, unlike Andy Capp, aren’t.

    Male Bubo scandiacus, like other owls, are devoted spice and parents, they just don’t incubate. BTW, c x-p, most owl genera are in the family Strigidae. Barn owls [genus Tyto] and perhaps another genus, are in the other owl family, Tytonidae. Those are the only two families in the order Strigiformes.

  7. The hair change was definitely for the better. Not just because I once wore mine like that.

    I actually disliked early Janis so since the new Janis reflects the period I began reading again it can’t be pure coincidence.

    Fashion may drive me more than I think.

  8. I miss our younger days when the Village was full of life. Gypsy girls danced and shook more than tambourines while fragrant pots simmered on the campfire.

    Now only Village elders sit around the xmokey embers, sometimes awakening to utter tribal legends known only to them.

  9. Anon: “… sometimes awakening to utter tribal legends known only to them.” Some of us geezers and crones not only lived those legends, but are aware of even older ones. E.g., “Ladle rat rotten hut”, or PPM singing “Jesus met the woman at the well” [which misreads the legend’s message]. Probably can browse either online.
    C x-p: Yeah, nice summer herd of “American elk,” bulls in velvet. Moose/elk issue is complicated by English colonists’ misapplying the Old World “elk” which refers to Alces alces [same as our moose] to New World Cervus elaphus [same as OW red deer]. Quite possible most early colonists, predominately from southern England, I think, had never seen either red deer or elk. Elk [Alces] may have occurred only on “the Continent,” not in Britain. There are still red deer in Scotland. The “Mammals of Minnesota” [Univ. MN Press, 1982] prefers the native term “wapiti” for New World Cervus elaphus, but that’s a losing battle. Need to look up current classification, just for my own edification. Peace,

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