Three Days Straight

My hair is dis-gus-ting!” Good4 shouts, whizzing past me into the bathroom. The door slams. “It’s soooo greeeaaaasy!” I hear muffled through the door. And that’s the only sound for a while, except those associated with lather-rinse-repeat.

Grease is not really my problem. Volume is. At this point in the joyous holiday, my hair most closely resembles a modern afro: big, frizzy, and kinky, but less stylish. I lift a dry, frizzy lock, and think wistfully that, if this were only a four-day chag, I’d have the set-up for a lovely head of dreadlocks.

I do like dreadlocks. At least on black people. White people can’t seem to make them look right. Somehow, they always look like they fell asleep for a month with their hair in a bowl of peroxide. But maybe I could set a new trend. Nice, neat, white-person dreads, compliments of a season of three-day chagim. I could move to Bat Ayin and be the envy of all the hippies. All I need to do is not wash my hair.

“Haven’t you taken a shower yet?” my mother interrupts my meditation.

“Nah, I’m seeing how long I can go.”

And really, how hard can that be? Inertia. Why start now, after three days without? All that detangling and moisturizing and washing hair down the drain… it’s easier not to.

“It’s a kapara on all my avonos,” Good4 says fervently, exiting the bathroom in a trail of steam, her hair wrapped in a towel. “That’s what I keep telling myself about a three-day yom tov. It’s a kapara on all my avonos.”

“You really think you have so few avonos?” I ask, dropping the future-dread I was trying to curl.

I think there’s another reason Hashem gave us three-day chagim. So that we’ll dream of wearing a sheitel. Hair you can hang up at night.  Hair that looks the same the next morning. Hair that, if you don’t like how it looks, you can just put away.

But until then, I’ll have my dreadlocks.

The Love Poem of J. Alfred Einstein

You know those soppy sonnets about how her eyes are blue as the sky, her lips as red as a rose, etc? Well, it’s about time someone updated the concept, don’t you think? This poem was inspired by two separate comments regarding my hair both made by geeky types.

Geek: I would love to calculate the Hooke’s Law constant for your hair.

Me: Awwww…. I think. (Well, at least it’s a step up from “Can I pull one? Please?”)

Why stop there? A romantic geek could keep going, putting all his love into scientific and mathematical metaphors. I know this sonnet isn’t quite at the level of John Donne, my poetic hero, but it’s a start. I hope it inspires a new wave of geeky love poetry for the age.

 

The Love Poem of J. Alfred Einstein

I love to gaze at your beautiful eyes

Reflecting wavelength 754

I cannot maintain a realistic guise

That your hair’s cysteine bonds hold no allure.

The Hooke’s Law constant I would calculate

For every curl that you’ll ever grow

But Oh! I simply cannot concentrate

For you define the golden ratio.

Around you time passes at the speed of C,

And matters compress to Boson size

The answer’s always 1 for P(A&B)

Because I have already won the prize.

You be a charm quark and a strange I’ll be

And we’ll match our spins through eternity.

Now See Hair…

I always thought it was just the yeshivish community that had an unreasonable grudge against curly hair, perhaps dating back to when straight was in fashion. Or when curly was in fashion. We tend to be slightly out of step with out prejudices. Sometimes the line is “That’s in fashion! It therefore can’t be modest to dress that way!” But other times, the argument is,  “Nobody wears that, so it’s completely unacceptable  to stand out like that.”

Curly hair, sadly, gets the negative end of both approaches. When curly is in, it’s fashionable-and-therefore-wrong. (“Why would you want to look like some pruste bum from Hollywood?”) When curly is out, it’s outlandish (“It stands out and screams ‘look at me! I want attention!'”).

So, I always thought it was a frum thing. Until NMF#7 sent me this link about curly hair in the general population, making me wonder if the curly prejudice isn’t more widespread than I thought. Really? A mainstream woman in a liberal artsy field complaining about hair discrimination? We totally need a support group.

What on earth is wrong with curly hair?

Off Topic: Parts of You That Don’t Belong to You

Americans are profoundly aware of this thing known as “personal space.” It is a 1.5-foot radius that surrounds us at all times (excepting during subway rides and parades) and must be kept as barren of human presence as a demilitarized zone between two warring countries. In a show of goodwill, we will sometimes reach across this void for a handshake; in extreme situations we may dive in for an embrace.

But sometimes our protective zone disappears. For reasons to be explored, people feel they can, uninvited, invade our sovereign territory without so much as a by-your-leave. It’s as if some part of you was no more your own than the lamppost at the corner. Here are three such anatomical sections:

1 – A pregnant midsection. This is not something I have personally experienced, but I’ve heard enough about it from MFs. When one’s abdomen reaches the limit of the personal zone, people have reduced compunction about putting their hands on it to feel for movement inside. “That’s my stomach!” protested one MF indignantly. “Since when do you just put your hand on someone’s stomach?” I nodded sympathetically while eying her protruding belly. It doesn’t look much like a stomach, and truth be told, I’m as curious as anyone else. I haven’t felt a baby kick since Good4 was nascent, and I was only four back then.

2 – Corkscrew curls. This is my own personal cross to bear. I may be absorbed in a book or a spreadsheet or just sitting in class when I feel a slight tug at my scalp. Then another. Finally, it isn’t so slight anymore; the explorer has given a lock of hair a solid tug just to see what happens. In the general world, such an assay is followed by “How do you get it to do that?” as if screwy hair is something I consciously create every morning with a magic potion. In college, a world unto itself, the inhabitants have something different on their minds. After the tug they usually muse aloud, “I wonder what the Hooke’s law spring constant is.”

3 – Forearms. While the midsectional pat may be performed predominantly by women, the forearm punch is a male intrusion. It is a way of saying “I know you well enough to invade your space and impose minor damage without incurring retaliation!” Or, in more masculine terms, “We good buds!” Possibly it also means “I want to be your good bud!” because I’ve been on the receiving end from several guys, and if we were good buds they’d know better than to touch me. So it’s either that, or they mistake me for one of the guys. Ouch.

Am I missing anything? I know chazal say that one’s face is public property, but they didn’t mean that it was open to physical advances. Rather, they meant you should keep it looking pretty – preferably smiley – much the way you mow your lawn and whitewash your fence. Which people are supposed to stay off of.

Let the Hair Wars Begin

SoG wonders why single women think sheitels are less work than hair.

Don’t get me wrong, SoG: sheitels are delicate things. Nothing grows back, so you have to be careful when you wash and brush not to yank hairs, and that caution goes double for trimming and using heat tools when styling.

To be honest, we’re not really jealous. We like our hair better than any wig. Except when we like a wig better than our hair. There’s a reason why everyone in Hollywood owns one. It’s not that they’re less work – it’s just that they’re less work at some very critical moments when our natural hair completely fails us. Like in the morning, on road trips,  and on yomim tovim, to name a few.

When I wake up in the morning, my hair looks like this:

Messy morning hair

Your wife’s sheitel looks like this:


Neat wig

I need to shower, marinate my hair in conditioner, tease out the tangles, then spend a half-hour or so styling it with clips and things to get it looking like this:

Presentable hair
And I have to do this every single day.

Your wife’s sheitel doesn’t need daily washing and styling. A twirl and a brushing and it looks like this:

Neat wig



After plane flights, long car trips, or a nap in the lazy chair, my hair looks like this:

Mussed hair

Your wife’s hair, pinned to a head in a specially purchased box looks like this:

Neat wig

On the second day of a chag, my hair looks like this:

It's getting messy

Your wife’s hair looks like this:

Neat wig

By the third day, your wife’s hair still looks like this:

Neat wig

But mine looks like this:

three-day yom tov hair

And I’m beginning to be jealous of this:

Donald TrumpAnd seriously contemplating this:

Female buzz cut

If your wife doesn’t like her hair, she can just take it off and put in a box. I can only tie mine back and try to slick it into a socially acceptable shape with some water, a strategy that works fine until the water evaporates, leaving frizz behind.

When does the score even out? When it rains. We both end up looking like this:

Wet cat

But I just need a shower. Your wife needs help.

Care of a sheitel is nothing to sneeze at. It needs to be treated like – well, like a delicate, thousand-dollar hairpiece. It’s one of the scariest parts of getting married. And let’s face it – nobody really wants to wear one.

But you will have to be very persuasive to convince me that it doesn’t have one or two huge advantages over natural hair.

Go ahead, O MFs. Try.