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World Cup Fans go for Patriotic Hairstyles

German hairdressers are doing roaring trade this World Cup with young men demanding "patriotic" hairstyles in the country's black-red-gold colours // .

"Guys only dare to try unusual hairstyles when mass enthusiasm breaks out and there's some big event on like the Cup," observes Stefanie Koehn, president of the German hairstylists' association in the central city of Goettingen.

Demand for "really weird styles" of dyeing surged after the tournament began.

Most women customers valued their own hair too much for bizarre experiments and preferred to apply black, red and gold to their faces as make-up, Koehn says. Colour sticks that can be applied to both skin and hair and then washed out were selling well.

"At first, girls usually put just a teensy little dab on the cheeks, but then come back for more sticks," comments Wolfgang Tasche of the city of Hanover's hairdressers' association. Men have fewer compunctions against plastering themselves in colours of flags.

"We had one guy in here who got us to shave practically his entire head and then paint it in the German colours," Tasche says.

Koehn believes Germans copied the idea from Brazilian fans, whose team is the reigning title-holder. Many young Germans may perceive painting the head, chest and other body parts as part of the magic needed to win.

"They're not concerned about looking beautiful. They just want to declare their loyalty to Germany," says Koehn.

At Heiko Klunker's hair salon in the city of Bremen, colours are also a big seller.

"We have templates to paint them on the head. A lot of guys are asking for mohawk hairstyles in the German colours."

The mohawk, also termed "iroquois" in many European nations, requires both sides of the head to be shaved, leaving a strip five to eight centimetres wide down the middle of the head to be spiked up or fanned out. It was popularised by street punks.

"The mohawk
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