H: HAIR)lady with hair



  On the one hand, I don’t care much about my hair; on the other hand –

Sometimes look in the mirror and think o no! NOW’s the time to have it cut, maybe the roots done, a flash or three here – or, and a big or, to wait awhile, maybe do the roots myself in the bathroom quickly, at much less cost and think about a cut, shape and style another time, when I have time.

Too many times I have done the hair colour myself and it’s been much too dark and perfectly horrible.

Many years ago I would take my sons as schoolchildren to George the Greek barber, until the day I asked him if he would cut my hair. It’s short you see – yes, he said, he would. I am no longer fazed by the peculiar looks of others – mostly much, much older men in the barber shop (or the mothers of boys) when I dash up the road to George for a quick trim. I get very fazed though a day or so later when I actually hate the hair cut he’s given me and then I make an appointment with Derek, at the hair salon. Which is what happened last week. The previous week I’d dashed up to George just for a slight trim thinking the following week or the week after (this week), that I would have my roots done. It looked fine that day after George had cut it; the next day it was horrible and in the ensuing days it looked just terrible. Seriously awful – I was down in the dumps. So I made an appointment at the salon with Derek this past week for a proper shape and to have the roots done.

                 Derek (Vidal Sassoon trained (I know – from one extreme to the other) is used to me coming to him to fix my folly. We had an interesting discussion. He maintains that the obsession with hair is a form of addiction, not unlike alcoholism, drugs, retail therapy or any other form of addiction. Instant gratification is what is required he says. He says that it is extraordinary how women allow their hair to be tortured into shapes that their hair really doesn’t want to go. The amounts of money that women spend on their hair would make me gasp he said. We talked about hair – most people he said don’t have good hair, it’s too thick or too thin, or they suffer hair loss.

Well, I was intrigued, especially given my need for instant gratification when I am not happy with my hair (inter alia). On occasion while travelling to exotic places, I have stopped by the roadside where hair is being cut and had a quick trim. Actually, I have done this several times and if not at the roadside, then in cities other than my own – searched for a salon that can take me NOW. A frisson of excitement –

A tiny bit of google research yields interesting information ..

Hair expresses what we are and wish to be –

Ancient civilisations: our thoughts dwell in the hair – and maybe it’s true –

It is our skin’s expression; it communicates us; it has message and sensuality; it has a biologic function but we ornament it, giving it a social meaning –

Within its chemistry, the hair keeps our mood and the memory of our ailments –

Maybe in a 2000 years, somebody could take a look on our hair (sic) and know something about us –

The above excerpted from: thehistoryofthehairsworld.com

So, for the moment I am happy with my hair re-shaped and roots done, rescued from my folly by Derek. Next week I will have some flashes or highlights or whatever they are called, by Derek at the salon. Or maybe later on this week – I’ll see when I look at my hair tomorrow, or the next day and check out my satisfaction or otherwise.

I wonder what this all means?

46 Comments on H : HAIR

  1. Hair! What a great topic. I do a family history blog and doing a post about the different types of hair in the family would be fun. I’ll have to file that away in my mind for future use.

  2. It is so interesting to note that you received so many responses here. I agree with Derek that hair is an addiction. I think it moves quickly back and forth from Obsession to Addiction and always will. It is a crowning glory after all.
    My years as a hairdresser taught me that it one of the biggest instruments of focus when an emotional upheaval has happened in life. I remember councelling many distraught (they hid it well) women who at crucial times in their lives chose their hairstyle as a catalyst for change. Often I asked them to reconsider and just as often they were adamant that it was a well thought out rational decision 🙂 (NOT)

    • Lesley, thank you so much for commenting – much appreciated!

      That is so interesting that you too, like Derek a professional hair stylist, found that when women are in upheaval, their crowning glory becomes the focus and this is what they want changed – even against professional advice. It is very psychological ..

      It is also extremely interesting to me that this particular blog received so many comments .. who would have thought? Not I .. but I have a greater appreciation now of the ‘issue’.

      I wonder if men have the same obsession with their hair?

      Thank you again ..

      • They do in fact especially since they are very attached to the style they had in high school (not even joking). When they head into a area of pressure, stress, or life crisis they also want a change in hair style but are not willing to change their habits hence they end up very disappointed. They generally want a very quick wash and wear but bring photos of ‘coiffed’ styles. Poor dears.

  3. it’s the opposite with my hair. i can’t just go anywhere to get it cut because nobody in this damned country can decently cut and style thick curly hair, unless you want to shell out enormous amounts of money (which i sadly don’t have). my only consolation is that in a country obsessed with stick-straight hair, my own stands out and some people actually think my hair’s pretty cool.

    and let me just say, you’re lucky to have a Derek who knows how to take care of your hair. 🙂

    • That’s so lovely Ria, thank you! Your hair looks gorgeous in the photo!
      Believe me, I imagine that many go green eyed with your head of hair!

  4. Susan, I so laughed at your post. My grandmother dyed her hair, but when she got dementia and we had to put her in a nursing home, we could no longer afford to dye her hair. Her hair turned white and she screamed, “WHO IS THAT STRANGER!! It is NOT me!” My terrified and shocked grandmother upset her daughter, my aunt, and me so badly that we were determined to let our hair be natural.

    The funny thing is that I LOVE my now white, naturally-curly hair. It IS me. I want to be accepted for who I am! However, there IS the part of me that wishes that strangers weren’t so shocked to hear that I LOVE to dance. They must think my white hair makes my 103 or something. Can’t people with white hair like to have fun and enjoy life?

    • Hi Gwynn, and thank you for your comment. That image of your grandmother seeing herself in the mirror and not recognising herself is a stark and terrifying one and a graphic illustration of the meaning of hair to many of us. You are blessed to feel at home with your locks au naturel. Keep on dancing!

  5. I wonder what it means about aging that so many women color their hair, and men. Is it a defense or a barrier against reality and life that has been going on for centuries. We think we are the only ones to color our hair but it is an old custom from the Egyptians at least. History tells us about our current feelings about hair and life. It is an archetype or an impression lying in the conscious and unconscious.
    Thank you for bringing hair to our attention in a more conscious way as it is more than mere vanity.

    • Thank you Susan for your comment and for raising the question of its larger meaning i.e. that it is archetypal, an imprint of our original relationship to hair and all its meanings. Hair has ROOTS, that has just struck me. And the question of whether it is a defense against reality is a vast topic. Hair and what it evokes has a long history. Delilah cut off Samson’s hair which robbed him of his power. Apollo the sun god with his golden hair, the angry Athena transformed Medusa’s hair into serpents. –

    • Daniel, is it possible that I’m only NOW coming across your comment from over 2 years ago? I’m writing something about hair this day and I went back to look at my old post in the A-Z challenge and to re-read the comments. And came across yours. My apologies firstly for not responding at the time and secondly to say thank you for commenting!

  6. I can definitely relate to what you said. When I’m down in the dumps I can never be bothered to do my hair and then I feel even worse when I see my reflection. But if I’m going somewhere nice my first thought is always, what shall I do with my hair?

    • Thanks Rachael for stopping by – interesting isn’t it that this is invariably the first question we ask ourselves when we look in the mirror when we’re going somewhere special and that when we’re down in the dumps hair is still on the radar when we look in the mirror!

  7. I love this! I too go from one extreme to the other–but I do it by waiting and waiting and waiting until my hair is so long and stringy that it is impossible to do anything with except pull it back in a pony tail, and then I go to anyone who can squeeze me in, and then I regret it, and go running back to my Tina to fix it. Over and over and over. I don’t know if it’s a form of addiction, but it’s definitely a form of insanity.

    • Thanks Melanie for commenting! Check out some of the other comments – there is one comment by Susan (not me) that raises important questions. I think our hair matters more to us than we realise. Thank heavens for understanding Tina’s and Derek’s ..

  8. Susan, images of me and my constant fuss with my hair ran dancing through my mind as I read! You see my hair has been ruler straight since childhood and fine with a mind of its own. Not until recently have I had someone cutting my hair who notes that it has “bend in it” (I’m told this means it can be forced in certain directions, but not all, to do what I want). Keeping it short as menopause decides to thin it in certain places, and because it makes bending it easier and there’s less fuss drying and styling, makes life a bit easier. Oh, by the way, my stylist now tells me when I talk of highlights, etc., that I don’t need them since the Master Stylist is taking care of my highlights for me. LOL! “I wonder what this all means?”

    • A bend in the hair! Lovely image Sherrey thank you and thank you for commenting.
      So great on the Master Stylist taking care of your hair …

  9. You did make me blink for a moment when you said you stopped at the side of the road to have it cut – that’s always the sign of spring, isn’t it, all those men getting their head shaved by roadside barbers!

    • mmmm, now that you mention it Elizabeth it WAS spring in Vietnam when I stopped at the roadside! The middle of May last year.
      Glad you blinked – a necessary something to do from time to time! Thank you for stopping by!

  10. Hair is my defining feature. It is fascinating that it is so important. If I go off in the morning and my hair’s not looking good, like I got up too late to wash and dry it, I just don’t feel right – affects my self-esteem, affects my whole day. It’s crazy – and often on those days something important will happen so that I am left thinking ‘damn why didn’t I wash and do my hair this morning’. However, as I get older I care less! It is what it is. And I am who I am.

    • Thanks Vonn for stopping by! So great to get your comments! So many different responses about the value of ‘hair’! It seems a few of us have a ‘relationship’ with our hair –

      I like your last sentences – ‘It is what it is. And I am who I am’. A sound philosophy!

  11. I so can relate to this. But, I also don’t like how much time and money you have to spend in the salon. I remember going to a fancy one in Los Angeles where my hair was cut a lot shorter on one side. I mean it was like short hair on one side and long on the other. “It’s the style,” he said. “Where?” I yelled. Needless to say I wasn’t too happy even after the guy matched up the sides. At least, he was disappointed too. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth.

      Good that he got the disappointment too! That is quite funny! 🙂 That’s what happened to me last week – I mean, I honestly don’t know how George could have not seen what was so obvious – but now that I think about it, I also didn’t notice – until the next day!

  12. Oh yeah I know. My hair is so straight that not even a perm keeps it. Last time I tried, my hair broke rather than curled. So badly I had to cut off most of it. Which says a lot when I explain that it used to hang to my waist.

    Still, I don’t regret keeping it short. I can do a lot more with it now. 🙂

  13. Yeah, it seems throughout history hairstyles have always been one of the ultimate ways to express yourself. When I was younger it was definitely more important. I have two boys who are just now concerned about their hair. Should they get a mohawk, let it grow out or have it buzz cut. It’s all very dramatic. For me, if all else fails, I just put on a hat. Hey, hats… there’s a possible “H” post.

    Thanks for looking at Lakota the Appaloosa,

    • ‘It’s all very dramatic’! I am grinning! I remember when my younger son came home from Christian camp with bright orange hair! His hair is the blackest black – it was a shock! But it was his way of expressing whatever it was! My elder son has had the shaved story – very nice and now they both wear it long .. also nice.

      Thanks Dan for your comment. I am smiling!

  14. My Dear,
    When I start feeling down in the dumps and everything is the world looks pink colored then I know it is time to call my favorite hairdresser, who just happens to be like a daughter to me, and scream, Grace, I need my cornrows done again! It is something about my hair that makes me feel on top of the world, when it is done properly by Grace. She is a doll. She has been braiding my hair or plaiting my hair into cornrows for almost twenty years.

    I can honestly say my hair is a part of my expression of who I am and what I want to be. My hair sets me apart from everyone else here in Germany. It is not often that you will find African American women wearing cornrows. I wear them and wherever I go I feel attractive because I am who I am. I don’t run out and buy a perm to perm my hair and make it look straight like yours. Although I do admit to using non-chemical black color to wash away from grays.

    I love this article because I could elaborate on one of my pet subjects, hair. Please tell your Derek, he miss the nail by a small bit. Not all women seek instant gratification but gratification that comes out of wearing our hair with the acceptance that our hair is what it is. Therefore my afro or my braids or my cornrows, I wear proudly. I wouldn’t think of torturing my hair with a perm.


    • I’ll tell Derek Patricia! I reckon I was so engrossed in his story of addiction and gratification (he is a recovering alcoholic) that I too did not think of other positive ways of our crowning glory!

      I have straight hair so I don’t need to perm it. Gel does it for me or a few minutes with a hairdryer. And I like it sooo much when my hair looks good. Good cut, shape and colour etc and I feel 100% better!

      Many African women and children wear cornrows here in South Africa. They are so gorgeous! I once heard a radio show host talking about ‘hair’ and the people who phoned in – it was so interesting! The men who phoned in were SHOCKED at the cost of this. It was quite funny!

      Thank you for commenting Patricia, I really appreciate it ..

  15. I used to have that hair addiction. But after my husband got sick I quit going to the salon every six weeks (now if I got 2 x a year I am good) and I touch up the roots for color all the hair on my own. You are right about it being much cheaper. Guess I have it all in perspective now.

    • Thanks Paula for stopping by and commenting! My cheap way of doing my hair invariably costs me more than I intended. But I do the roots myself every now and then and it’s a treat when I go to the salon with a good book.

      I hope your husband is now better?

  16. Oh! Hair it goes – I love/hate my hair (really – see my post on HATE. I don’t use the word lightly). I have this whole image thing going that is predicated on having a good hair day. And when I don’t – crap. I mean, really: crap.

    So in short, awesome post! Totally, completely relatable. Remind me to tell you about when I moved cross country and left my stylist behind!

  17. I think it’s fascinating how important hair is to us culturally. I’m mystified by the aisles and aisles of hair products…can we really need so many different ones?

    Have fun with A to Z.

    Jenny at Choice City Native

    • Maybe it’s like lipstick? So much choice? But it is quite fun to have a look and be amazed at all the different products! So long as one doesn’t get dizzy.
      Thanks for stopping by Jenny and for your comment.

  18. Fascinating, Susan! I have never thought so deeply about hair as an expression of ourselves before yet I obsess about mine quite a bit (getting the roots touched up today, as a matter of fact!). And very true about hair and our health: before I started taking iron supplements for anemia, the woman who does my hair noticed I was losing a lot of it when she combed through it. She suggested I get checked out, and sure enough, I was dangerously low in iron. Great post!

    • Thanks so much Dawn! Hope you’re happy with your hair after the salon – at least I’m assuming it’s the salon!

      Great that you found out and remedied the iron lack!

  19. Hahaha it’s cute how you went from one extreme to another! Derek sounds very passionate – I would like if he could have a look my aimless head of hair 🙂

    • Aimless head of hair! That’s so funny! Want to come with me next week? He’s a sweetie!
      Thanks for commenting Melissa, much appreciated! 🙂

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