Hug to Sandy
A fine head of hair adds beauty to a good face, and terror to an ugly one. ~Lycurgus
While I was writing Farewell to Polamalu’s Golden Locks I read the following in the November 7, 2013, issue of the Ligonier Echo (item published Oct. 29, 1913):
- How often you see an otherwise lovely face spoiled by homely hair—a face that would be most charmingly beautiful if she only had prettier hair. What a pity. And how foolish. Because that ugly hair, stringy, dull, lifeless-looking though it may be, can be made as glossy, soft, silky and beautiful as the heart could desire if only taken proper care of.
The piece took me back to the crossover time between the 1950s and 1960s when I worked very diligently to achieve the “do” of the day. I slept with varying sizes of rollers in my hair, styled my baby-thin hair strands into the stylish pageboy of the day, then doused it with excessive hairspray—and less than 5 minutes later my hair wimped out on me. I might as well not have bothered; I might as well have spent my time on something more productive. But I relentlessly kept trying.
- Hair: we want it; we don’t want it. We try to grow it; we try to remove it. It is despised; it is sacred. It is our ‘look,” though we cannot ever actually see most of our own. But this paradox is an old one. We have been fussing with our hair for centuries.**
Years later I was the mother of a daughter, Sandy. She was luckier than I was. She had a thick head of naturally curly hair that everyone admired.
“It’s in the genes,” I’d explain.
I call the time she spent mucho time achieving the right hair do, left the house, jumped into the swimming pool, climbed out, shook her tresses (and that’s really all it took to give her a just-been-to-the-beauty-parlor look), then entered the house to spend mucho more time refixing her do.
And I tried to quash my envy.
Years later, when I met a young man in the food line of a restaurant buffet, I commented on his waist length hair: I wish I could grow my hair (which now doesn’t grow beyond earlobe length) like yours. This young man was almost ready to donate two lengths of his 38 inch mane to Locks of Love. My, how I wish I could do that.
I decided to let go of my hair obsession as I grew older. Why, I asked myself, spend so much time fighting hair rollers and hair brushes when the result is the same lack of desired achievement each time? Isn’t that the definition of insane? To do something repeatedly, with the same result, then do it again expecting a different result? Not wanting to be considered insane on this basis I decided that there are more important things to spend my time and financial resources on.
With that decision I also decided to disagree with the following comments made by a variety of persons:
- Diana Ross: Hair has always been important.
- MartinLuther: The hair is the richest ornament of women.
- Edna O’Brien: To Crystal, hair was the most important thing on earth. She would never get married because you couldn’t wear curlers in bed.
- Hillary Clinton: I’m undaunted in my quest to amuse myself by constantly changing my hair.
Catherine Tynan: I have always believed that hair is a very sure index of character.
- Hubert de Givenchy: Hair style is the final tip-off whether or not a woman really knows herself. (Vogue, July 1985)
- I Corinthians 11:15: But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering.
I respectfully realize that hair is far more meaningful to some persons than others. To Troy Polamalu, hair is about more than making a style statement:
- Every time a piece of my hair comes out, and I look at a 20-inch strand, I’m like, ‘Wow, what happened when this first started growing? You think about all the life experience that you’ve had, and my hair’s been a part of me. It’s kind of become my fifth appendage and my identity.
Polamalu might agree with Thomas Carew’s comment:Those curious locks so aptly twin’d, Whose every hair a soul doth bind.
Back to the Ligonier Echo article. Turns out it was a sales piece:
- Harmony Hair Beautifier is just what it is named—a hair beautifier. It is not hair dye or hair oil—it is just a dainty, rose-perfumed liquid dressing to give the hair its natural gloss and brightness, its natural way softness, its natural rich beauty. Very easy to apply—simply sprinkle a little on your hair each time before you rush it. It contains no oil, and will not change the color of the hair, nor darken gray hair.
Let’s all rush out to get this product—oops, 100 years later it’s nowhere to be found.
Guess I’ll have to put up with my “ugly hair, stringy, dull, lifeless-looking…”
How about you?
Unknown: How can I control my life when I can’t control my hair? (Perhaps I decided to disagree with this quote prematurely.)
Looking Back, Ligonier Echo, Nov. 7, 2013 pp 4
**The Rumb Line, July 2008, Maine Maritime Museum, Notes from the Orlop.
(A NaBloPoMo post)