Wednesday, February 21

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Over a bottle of quaff last night, it was decided between myself, friends and almost-friends, that what I really should do this month is shave my head.

Although it’s an idea I’ve been toying with for about two years, I’ve never quite mustered the hutzpah to follow through on it. I’ve spent the time creating and mulling over an exhaustive list (of which I can only remember about 7 or so now) of reasons why this is a bad idea:

In winter, my head will be cold.
In summer, my head will burn.
My skull shape is not conducive to a pretty Sineadesque look.
I cheeks are not prominent enough.
My chin too flabby, my mouth too small, my ears too eary.
My head is too small for my body – I am not skinny enough to pull it off.

But essentially, it boils down to one thing for me: vanity.

And I’m not alone in this. No matter how paltry our god-given crop, we wash, condition, product, blow dry, curl, straighten, bleach, perm, cut, set, colour, defrizz, highlight or, at the very least, brush sometimes. Whatever lengths we go to perfect the coif, an even cursory glance in the mirror will take in what our hair is doing for our face, our body and – let’s not beat around the bush here - our entire day.

Historically, culturally and across religions, hair is a symbol of self-love, virility, vanity, sexuality or even possession in the case of Edvard Munch’s ghostly femme fatales. Whole myths and stereotypes have been created around one’s dead head pieces – red heads, blondes, brunettes; the long-haired princess, the wild-haired whore, the bespectacled and bunned librarian; the eighties Italian Stallion wave, the mohawk, the afro, the mullet, the fat bald guy, the touped twirp, the princess leia - the list is practically endless.

But I guess, it’s also about personal power.

After the break down of every major love relationship in my life, I’ve always done something to my hair, generally cutting it substantially shorter than it ever was. Maybe it’s a throwback to the art of biblical sackcloth-and-ashes mourning, maybe it’s a form of socially acceptable self-mutilation in the face of extreme inner pain, maybe it’s as simple as an out-with-old-in-with-the-new spontaneity…whatever the unconscious will towards the act, I’ve always walked away feeling empowered.

This time, it’s about both: vanity and personal power.

I’d like to experience my head without it’s cover, my face without its frame. I suspect I will cry (I never have whenever I cut my hair – no matter how long it was before the chop). I suspect I will feel less attractive, less woman according to gloss art, less candy box sexuality.

I suspect I will feel stripped.

I wonder what I will find underneath? I think what I will find is that raw sexuality and womanhood has little to do with hair.

I have nine days to go according to shavesa.

Anybody care to join?


Lily said...

(Bald As A Coot...)
1. What better excuse do you need to buy lots of gorgeous silk scarves to swathe around your skull. Very Kylie-chic.
2. Now's your chance to get a secret tattoo that you can hide under the re-growth and shock your great grandchildren with when your hair thins.
3. You could always blame the chilly weather and wear a snazzy hat.
4. Get an artistic friend to paint fabulous henna designs on your scalp.
5. Just tell people Brittany is your role model.

Lammervanger said...

I lost my last hair brush in 1996.

dorothy said...

lily - thanks for the ideas! certainly made the silver lining a little more silver :)

lammer - i haven't brushed my hair in YEARS. but i do wash it. mostly.

maeree said...

ek droom al jare daarvan om my hare af te skeer. jy kan natuurlik wag vir nasionale kanker maand (ek weet nie wanneer dit is nie) en dan jou hare skenk om pruike te laat maak vir mense wat vir kanker behandel word. (jy weet, die national shaveathon.)

ek het ook al opgelet dat vrouens hul haarstyle verander as 'n verhouding eindig. ek wonder of dit universeel is? en of mans dit ook doen?

daar is 'n teorie dat mense in die tyd wat die nuwe testament geskryf is, geglo het dat hare semen vervaardig. dis hoekom vroue hul koppe moes bedek.

Anonymous said...

on the vanity side, i have often thought that if you shave your head then a whole NEW set of hair will grow. even better (if possible in your case) than the last lot

dorothy said...

maeree - go to shavesa - that's the whole cancer shaving your head thing

anony - i'll keep you posted :)

Adam said...

I will join, but my head is already shaven. Maybe just for a touch up...

Adam said...

PS. I like girls with shaved heads. To me, they eminate a feeling of their virility (read: love for life)...

Lorette said...

DO it! DO it! I would join, but I might freak my psych patients out.

maeree said...

oops, was daai shavesa link van die begin af onder aan jou post? dan's dit die tweede keer hierdie week wat ek nie die laaste sin van 'n post gelees het nie. attention deficit is a pain.

Pienk Zuit said...

Oi, you missed a great party on Saturday. Would have loved to meet you before you shaved your head, but maybe another time then (sans hair maybe?).

dorothy said...

hey p - yeah, sorry didn't make it - shit just came up and had to help out some mates in fish hoek...o well.