Hairy Issues

I have always wanted to write about hair. Tales, myths and legends have been spun about hair. They are trademark of rebellious children's heroes such as Pippi Longstocking, the Red Zora or Struwwelpeter, inspirations for songs and fairy tales such as the golden hair of Raputzel, the red glowing hair of Ariel the Mermaid and the black, shiny hair of Desdemona or document social upheavals such as the bob or the long hippie hair.

Hair shapes and transforms us, gives us reassurance and the feeling of being in the “in crowd.” Anything is possible, anything goes: Nowadays, men wear their hair short or long; they have a pony tail, some are bald. The spike of punk scene crowns the heads of office employees. Hair trends establish social conventions: African-American rap stars cultivate their iconic dreadlocks, some Japanese youngsters wear wigs, dye their hair pink or bleach-blond. There is probably no culture that is completely indifferent towards hair.

Those with straight hair want curls, the color gray triggers a mid-life crisis. And what about people who have natural curly hair? When I wake up in the morning and moan about my disheveled and shaggy lion's mane, my sister shakes her head. Her smooth hair, carefully combed and fixed into position each morning, does not fare well with wind or rain. The visit to the hairdresser, a thorny issue: Only one person is allowed near Vanessa’s hair, and every move is watched through the salon mirror. For me, however - whether rain, sun or snow - my hair is dancing in smooth curls around my head. Even the hairdresser is looking forward to cut my curly hair, he proudly presents his work to his colleagues: "This is how a perm should look, but never does."

© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved.

All names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this blog are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. © All rights reserved.