The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 5, 2000


Carlisle Comments: Thoughts on what to do with one's hair

I keep thinking about hair and the silly things we do with it. First of all, hair sits on top of our heads, it's part of the picture that we present to the world, and we cannot see it with our own eyes when we walk around for all to see.

When I was a child, I had long banana curls. Now my hair was as straight as a stick, but every night I had to sit still while my mother carefully wrapped each curl around her finger and used a bobby pin to hold it in place. Some mothers used rags instead of pins. Thank you, Shirley Temple!

I also remember in my youth that many older women had blue hair. Why? I was told that this was to keep graying or white hair from turning yellow. Now if adding bluing to white keeps away the yellow, does that mean that if you waited until your white hair actually turned yellow and then added the blue, well. . yellow and blue do make green.

Remember the days of bouffants and bee hives? Hair, teased and sprayed until it felt like cement and then piled on top of the head. Long hair is supposed to be sexy, but who in their right mind would want to run his fingers through hard sticky hair? For that matter, after all the work and time of getting the hair that way, who would let someone even touch it?

Then along came Jackie Kennedy and we all sprayed and teased and piled. It was a little less high, and hair was a little shorter, but then we stuck a little pill box hat on top. Nights were spent trying to sleep on hard metal curlers, and it was at least an hour before anyone was allowed to see you in the morning.

Then we went outside. One drop of rain even a mile away and my hair went as straight as a stick. When we go sailing, I get boat hair. I guess that is a lot like ski hair, or tennis hair, or beach hair. Every effort at beauty and control is gone with a puff of the wind, and it's hours before you can do anything about it.

Some women never cut their hair. Their crowning glory hangs way down their backs, split ends and all. In some cultures women sell their long beautiful hair to wig makers. I think that's great, but I wouldn't want to wash and try to comb and dry all that hair.

Now for the present. My home grown, straight, bodyless, mousey- brown, hard-to-manage hair has turned gray. Now it seems wavy and thicker and more manageable. Am I satisfied? Of course not. I wonder, should I color my hair? Certainly not blue. My hair dresser says she can make that gray disappear in one sitting. I notice one annoying little thing about coloring hair is that every six weeks your part and your roots are strikingly different from the rest of your head. Is this job security for hair dressers, and makers of hair color?

Men are just as silly as women. Men do what I call strategic combing. I think we all know what that means. Later they go on to a complete flop over. As their hair recedes, it seems to reappear as facial hair. Are we supposed to think that they really didn't lose any hair, it just slid off the top and around to their faces? Some men never take off their hats, while others have transplants or rugs. My father kept cutting the sides of his hair shorter and shorter until he had just a little brown hair on top. Some men just give up and shave their whole heads. Then we aren't supposed to be able to tell just how much hair they really do have. My older brother colors his hair. Suddenly his hair, once he got the tones right, was the color of his (and my) youth, but what I can see of his chest hair is white. Strange, to say the least.

Today, we gell, we color, we style, both men and women. We seem to be more uni-sex in our approach to hair. A hair cut is a hair cut whether by a barber or a hair dresser. Men no longer hide in that little room with a curtain at the hair dressers, they actually sit in the next chair. Women can actually go to a barber.

I think we are all stuck with what I call our own individual hair gene, when what we really would like is our own individual hair genie. Now look carefully at those two words, gene and genie. What's the most striking difference? Why it is an I. "It is I." Hey, that's the proper way to say "It's me!" I'm the hair genie? What a thought, weird but true. But to get back to basics, do I really want to color my hair?

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito