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
Drinking music suggestion: the new John Lee Hooker box set -- it's very brilliant!
Benedictions and Maledictions
49 days until The Sopranos airs!