Sunday, November 22, 2009

The "Utah Claw" - bangs that shot up towards the heavens!

Leigh Ann Underwood, Fifth Grade, Peruvian Park Elementary, Sandy Utah, 1987-88.

This was my Utah Claw. The hair that Aqua Net born. This was THE look. Young women of Utah (and parts of New Jersey) are still known to brave the back-comb and aerosol fumes associated with this defining do.

Here are a few additional definitions of this hairstyle phenomena:

Utah Claw n. a female hairstyle typified by bangs projecting outward from the forehead. Subjects: English, United States, Apparel, Appearance, & Fashion, Body, Slang

1994 - “Re: “Bad Hair Day””: “It was often used in reference to something I came to refer to as the “stiffened frontal bang facade,” a hair tierra set in place with blow drier, hair spray and teasing comb. The heights these can sometimes reach is quite ridiculous.”…“I grew up in an area of West Virginia where such hairstyles are quite popular. We always used to refer to the tall, teased bangs as ‘joke-catchers’ (kept the joke from going over one’s head). A friend from Idaho whom I met in college informed me that her circle of high school friends had dubbed the style of bangs the ‘Utah Claw.’” -[ (April N. Powell)] Usenet: alt.usage.english (Mar. 7).

1999 - “Very proud to say she has never had a spiral perm nor big, crunchy bangs.”…“Around here we call it the Utah Claw.” - [kimncyn@aol.comspamiam (Cyn)] Usenet: (Nov. 16).

2000 - “Re: Application to Live in New Jersey”: Do you have the equivalent of what we know here as the Utah Claw. Long straight hair styled down with the bangs flipped up defying gravity and lacquered with hair spray to withstand hurricane winds? - Robert Nelson ( Usenet: (Mar. 17).

2003 - “A Night Out With Tiffani Thiessen” p. 9-4: “She had the Utah Claw,” Mr. Simington explained, describing bangs that shot up toward the heavens. - Jesse McKinley New York Times (Mar. 2).

2003 - “Town Talk: Should humans be playing with tigers?”: Actually, it was a “Utah Claw” that led to Roy Horn’s injury. According to the owner of the Mirage, the tiger became distracted by a woman with big hair in the front row. (I can sympathize; I also can’t help but stare at a white-trash woman with a hairdo that she hasn’t changed in 20 years.) - [Dandle] (Conn.) (Oct. 10).

2004 - “The Fartkeeper”: I never did perfect the “Utah Claw” it always fell over by 2nd period—but oh, I tried. Me and Aqua Net, we tried! - [Jessica] Very Mom (Murray, Utah) (Aug. 4).


Yessica said...

OMG this is hilarious. I'm from Wisconsin and claw bangs were all the rage in my junior high in the early 90s. Sadly, they never left.

thinkbig said...

Me: Googling 'Utah Claw.'

You: appearing in the search results.

Me: offering an explanation for this hairstyle. It's to keep jokes from going over their heads.