Paper Monitor: The perils of side-partings

Mad Men with side partings
Image caption Working the look

Eye-catching opening lines are a must for a feature writer. And the Daily Mail's Mark Palmer delivers, with: "Hitler had one - which, of course, doesn't help."

No, not a toothbrush moustache.

Men, grab your combs - the side-sweep is back. Apologies to those who don't have enough hair to work this one.

For those who do, think Mad Men's John Hamm (Don Draper) or Daniel Radcliffe, if you prefer.

Palmer is clearly no fan of this retro trend. Under the title Return of the hair style time forgot, he writes that the side-parting brings back "awful memories".

The problem is, the sidey always looked too neat and tidy - a predictable style "passed from one generation to the next because no one bothered to challenge it".

Paper Monitor is no expert but apparently the side on which one parts one's hair can take on a deep significance.

"My brother and I had to part our hair on the left," writes Palmer. "It was made clear to us that those who parted their hair on the right were either drawing unnecessary attention to themselves or were plain weird."

It was the Beatles, he says, who "heroically knocked the short back and parted sides for six and liberated us from this establishment tyranny".

So why, Palmer asks with incredulity, has this abomination returned?

He turns to style guru Peter York for answers, who says it's about finding comfort in the past. "The side parting gives a man certain gravitas... even if his life is falling apart."

A parting tip on whether or not this look is for you comes from a South London stylist: "My advice is that fat people and men under a certain height should avoid it. You could end up looking plain daft."

Paper Monitor is now looking around the office to see if any one has opted for the on-trend matinee idol side-swept look. It doesn't spot a single one. But, based on the evidence, it looks like the comb-over could be big for 2014.

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