Monday, February 19, 2007

The Higher the Hair, The Closer To God

I once knew a woman who shaved her head bald. We were in our early twenties, and my friend said that she wanted to "learn to deal with my face without distraction." I thought her both brave and crazy. We were in Texas and as the saying goes, the higher the hair, the closer to God. Even a lot of the men spent copious amounts of time and hair products trying to get a hairdo that I describe as the Twitty, after Conway Twitty. I wore my hair in almost the exact way I do today, long and straight, with a curl every now and then when I was feeling like too much of a hippie, which wasn't hard in those years of excess and day-glo colors and the final glory moments of Wham! Even though I spend my days in intellectual pursuits like wondering if my pores are indeed too large and a good mask would help or sending cards with evil doll faces to friends, I couldn't help but notice that Britney Spears has done the same thing and shaved her locks off. This fact made national news, news that competes with the war dead for time. So what gives?
Hair, I suppose, is power. Seldom have I known a woman who hasn't gone through a really bad break-up and not contemplated cutting her hair in an extreme style. Most do something and feel better for it. Hair holds massive amounts of our psychic energy, and the intentional cutting of it can be liberating. But the extreme act of getting rid of all of it makes us take pause. Once a male friend of mine shaved his head, hoping to free himself from his anxiety disorder. When he came to my door, I did not recognize him and assumed it was the repo man, coming to take my car, so scary he looked. He had a fierce, don't fuck with me stance, and while it lasted, people feared him. Of course, he let it grow again -- it's very difficult to maintain a shaved head. The hair grows back fast. Liberation from nature requires eternal vigilance. As for me, what was good enough in the 1970s is good enough for now. It was a look that Ted Bundy favored for his victims. Now that he's not around anymore, I think I'll stick with it since it's suited me for so long. I don't want to deal with my face. Most days the best I can do is try to cover it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I want your hair/ to cover me/ with maps of new places." Richard Brautigan
Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: the new John Lee Hooker box set -- it's very brilliant!
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!
49 days until The Sopranos airs!


realbigwings said...

Are you calling me a hippie? My locks think about curls sometimes, just before the waves slip away like dissolving humidity.

Michelle's Spell said...


You, my dear are beautiful! I love your hair. As for the hippie thing, I wanted to be nothing but while in Texas, but alas, 80s Texas was not the place for it. Now I lean more toward a goth look, but I still find myself loving the Janis Joplin look as well.

paul said...

O MightyIsis

the walking man said...

Hairy situation the vanity we place in hair, maybe Spears shaved her head so she could make a hair shirt or maybe it was to match her pubis which according to news reports (which also overwhelmed the war dead numbers for three days) had hair about as long as what was left on her head after her melt down, or maybe she thinks if she shaves her head hair it will make the other grow faster and even though it's lower it will become higher and she would be closer to God.

Actually I believe it was the vow of the Nazerite that Sampson took, which as long as he did not cut his hair he would be closer to God. I tried that for almost 15 years after the military and I was no closer, nor any further away from God. Sometimes I was further away from Detroit though, the Jerusalem of the western world. So off and on I went between the repo man look and the ponytail with the bald spot and one thing I found out is that I never look at a womans hair first or a mans either but their eyes to see how close they are to God.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle, the post and view are lovely as always. The view says 'I prefer the love of Detroit to the dry empty desert of other climes,' got to love Detroit's winter-with champagne and a fireplace and fur rug of course. Long hair is almost always prettier than short but it does make sense how you couch things. To your beautiful self and lovely and always humorous and always vigourous blog and so interesting leopard coat, Bravo!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I loved getting brush cuts, the jar head look, little butch wax to make it stand up. I swear, by God, the shorter the hair, the more alert I felt. Hair style (among other styles) has never meant a hill of beans to me. The inmates often tease me, saying, "You going to Bo Rics after work?" My response, "At least I can do my eight and hit the gate."

Sal "Big Pussy" Bompensiero said...

That's an interesting "cat" outfit you have on in the photo, Michelle. Are you saying that you love me? Thanks tons for your continued support of the Sopranos.

Wayne Newton said...

I've always believed in the concept of the higher the hair, the closer to God.

The King said...

Me too. Thank you. Thank you very much.