What is a pompadour?
It's interesting. Never in the real world would it be okay for one dude to walk up to another and start criticizing his hair. But, for some reason, the computer screen provides enough distance and anonymity to make this okay. The community that surrounds the pompadour and pomade is greatly hindered by this -- self-righteous individuals wailing false claims to Hollywood-crafted traditions of an America that never was.
So, let's move on and talk about what is a pompadour. Or rather, what a pompadour can be...
Forget what you read on Wikipedia or saw on Grease Lightning. You don't live in an encyclopedia bounded by definitions, and you're not trying to be real life cosplays -- hopefully. You are a millenial and grounded in reality.
The pompadour is generally characterized by tightly held-down sides with a large volume on the top that gradually recedes as you move towards the back. The sides are usually slicked-back, tapered, or faded. The pomp (middle section) is crafted to have volume and forwardness. In a way, it should appear confident and have flow. The part(s) is optional. You can see examples of the two types above.
I provided a general definition because it's important to understand AND accept that the definition of a pompadour will evolve over time. These characteristics are really the only two things that remain constant in each variation. Everything changes over time, and the concept of the pompadour is no exception. As you can see below, here is a loose and finger-combed rendition of the pompadour. It has its own unique set of aesthetics.
The purpose of this article was partly to introduce you to a very general interpretation of the pompadour. The main reason was to encourage an open-mind as you become more aware and knowledgeable as you begin to style a pompadour. The definition of a pompadour changes over time and instead of whining about it as some subcultures love to do, you should embrace it. A hairstyle is a small part of your image and should not define you. You should define it.
Besides being an arrogant pomade critic, I use The Pomp as a means to promote an open-minded approach to the pompadour -- one that accounts for the uniqueness of every individual and not constrained by a false sense of tradition.