Reason #24 for Getting Married

I found another white hair!

I’ve always had one white hair for as long as I can recall. In seventh grade a friend found it, announced it, and yanked it.

“Hey!” I protested. “That’s my hair.”

“If you pull one out three more grow back,” another friend protested.

“That’s scientifically improbable,” I paused from my indignation to point out.

It grew back. Only one hair. And it’s been there, smack in the middle of the front of my head ever since.

Well, yesterday, while gooping mousse into my hair, I found another one. It’s underneath, in a bottom layer of hair, so not easily seen. But it’s there.

Dear God. One hair, then two, then next thing you know they’re springing up all over and it’s the hairdresser’s every two weeks so you can maintain that illusion of youth while dating increasingly salt-and-peppered men. Oh for a ageless wig to pop over it all!



Designer Bride – II

Continued from previous post reviewing ‘How to Create the Perfect Wife’ by Wendy Moore: Designer Bride I

If you know what kind of life you want, and you know what kind of spouse it will take to make it happen, why shouldn’t you insist on exactly what you need? Such hubris led our hero Thomas Day to attempt to create the woman he could not find. He adopted a 12-year-old orphan and raised her himself, inculcating her with his doctrines.

Sadly, it did not work.

At the age of 14 she rebelled against the heavy burden of housework he put on her. Also, she wasn’t enjoying being pricked by pins and shot at with a pistol to develop her stoicism.  It seems that even meek, grateful orphans have their limits. So he banished her to boarding school.

Lesson 1: You can’t force people to fit your mold.

Day went back to dating women of his social class who were out of his league. One had to be dumped because she was too attached to her earrings. Another returned his proposal-by-contract with a point-by-point rebuttal, saying things like “Equality is essential for a happy marriage,” and “I couldn’t imagine being subservient to a husband in all things.” Yet a third suggested that she’d marry him if he became socially presentable, like by brushing his hair and wearing clothes that fit and weren’t rumpled. (Lesson 2: The most deficient are the most demanding.)

In despair, he went back to his orphan, who was finished school. He gave her strict orders on exactly how to dress for his proposal. But something small was off (record doesn’t say what, but friends agree it was a trifle), and he banished her forever, furious at her disobedience.

Lesson 3: You can’t demand perfection in your spouse. They’re only human.

Unbelievably, lesson 4 is that every pot, no matter how dented and warped, has a lid. There was a woman who wanted to marry Mr. Day. And she did. It was a rocky marriage though, between Thomas Day and Esther Milnes. A marriage full of his tests and trials. A marriage full of verbal spats. A marriage from which Esther stormed off at least twice, moving out of the cottage in the woods and in with her mother-in-law. See lessons 1 & 3.

Which brings us to lesson 5: If you’re pretty sure that the reason you’re single is all the fault of the opposite sex, the fault is probably in you.

Continued in next post: Designer Bride III

HT Kansasian

Designer Bride – I

I just finished a great book called How to Create the Perfect Wife. It’s a non-fictional account of Thomas Day, a Georgian-era gentleman, and his attempt to, well, create for himself the perfect wife.

Thomas Day knew exactly the sort of life he wanted to lead. He wanted to retire from the shallow, frivolous contemporary society and live in a small cottage in the woods. He would spend his day reading philosophy, writing poetry, dispensing charity, and trying to make the world a better place. And he knew exactly the sort of woman he needed as a life partner.

She had to be smart and educated in all the same interests as he, but not so ambitious as to write her own novels or poems. She had to have simple tastes and spurn the frippery of the times. She’d wear her hair loose and unstyled. Her neckline would be high, her sleeves long. She would not own earrings or, preferably, any jewelry. She would be strong and capable, willing to endure his difficult life of privation and philanthropy. She would not engage in trivial pursuits like music and dancing, and she must have plump white arms.

Crazy, isn’t it? I mean, what kind of guy dictates the way his wife does her hair or what she does her spare time? Oh wait…

I once met a guy whose first criteria for a potential date was “doesn’t have Facebook.” His second was “will only cover her hair with a scarf or hat.” It only got more detailed from there. Another guy had a list of acceptable college degrees for his wife-to-be. I asked what he’d think if I found him the right girl, but she came with her own list, like how many times a week he has to learn, and maybe something against the way he asks random girls like me to call him by his nickname. His response was that if their lists didn’t match, clearly they weren’t meant for each other.

This is how many of us date. We have a dating pool of perhaps a few hundred candidates, but we still reel off detailed criteria down to how many years he should want to learn and what he can do bein hazmanim. And heaven forbid he should show up in a pink tie.

But if you know what kind of life you want, and you know what kind of spouse it will take to make it happen, why shouldn’t you insist on exactly what you need? Such hubris led our hero Thomas Day to attempt to create the woman he could not find.

Continued in the next post: Designer Bride II and Designer Bride III

HT to the Kansasian

Reason Not to Get Married: Sheitels

So what if your sheitel is unnaturally thick and luscious? So what if you can see the back of it without two mirrors? So what if you can style it without getting a crick in your neck and tired arms? Raise your hand if you actually want to wear one of those things.

Anybody? No, not you, balding dude. This question was for the single women.

Reasons We Don’t Want to Wear a Sheitel:

  • It’s boring.
  • It has straight hair. Can you see my yawn? Why run a brush through straight locks when you can wrestle with kinks and waves and maybe, with luck, come up with something that looks just as nice?
  • It has limited styling options. I mean, I can go for a pompadour. Or an updo. Or a half-pony. Or a side-pony. Or a regular pony. Or straight down. Or pinned on the sides. Or a lot of stuff. Granted, I generally don’t. But I can. Nah-nah to the sheitel which is stuck with limited options. You want that down, or mostly down? Anything else will cost you a new wig.
  • It’s uncomfortable.
    • No ad-hoc ponytails on hot and sticky days. The back of my neck is cringing in anticipation.
    • Those combs and clips and things that keep your real and fake hair in place. Ouch.
    • It’s like a fur hat, only hairier. Nice in the winter, when it’s not raining. At every other time: eugh.
  • It’s hard to wear.
    • You look like you’re wearing something on your head for the first few months. I wonder why.
    • The front hairline. The ears. The pony bump in the back which you must have because if you cut your hair short the thing won’t attach. The odd way the hairs stick out when it’s not on right.
  • Its hard to care for.
    • Mistakes don’t grow out.
    • Style changes cost a lot more.
    • You’re at the mercy of the sheitel-macher who is going to make you look like a clone of everybody else no matter how silly the current fashion, and charge you through the nose for it.
  • It’s bad for your hair.
    • Wasn’t this supposed to be about your hair being your crowning glory? Not any more. Now someone else’s hair is, because yours is going the way of old soldiers – it’s fading. The replacement will never gray or thin with age, and this will look strange when you’re 90 and have the hair of a twenty-year-old.

Now nobody can accuse me of seeing greener grass. I can see it yellow everywhere when I want to. Or maybe different patches are greener on different sides. That’s life.

Shear Frustration

I was sitting in the lobby of a local university waiting to start a presentation when someone breezed past and caught my eye. I looked up and stared after the passerby, trying to make out if she was wearing a skirt.

“What?” asked my fellow presenter.

“I think she’s Jewish. Religious,” I said.

“How can you tell? From the way she walks?” he queried. I had to laugh. It happens to be that the frum women he knows have a businesslike stride, as did this woman. “No, it’s her hair,” I said. “I think it’s a wig.”

“You can tell?”

“Always trust Jewish and black women on the matter of wigs,” I assured him. “We know.” I explained that religious women cover their hair when they get married.

He turned that over in his head and asked hesitantly, “Are you going to wear one when you get married?”

“Yep,” I said. He looked shocked. I laughed. “I consider it a step up,” I told him. “Being able to take your hair off, brush it, rearrange it, put it aside, and wake up the next morning and find it looking the same as when you went to sleep.”

For a lot of us frum girls, the sheitel has exactly that appeal. We think it’s going to solve all our hair problems. But then, during a recent conversation about fads in the sheitel field, my mother commented: “My friend’s three daughters went to three different sheitel machers and came out looking identical.”

Heart palpitations. PTSD alert! Flashbacks to the salon chair! As a curly-haired woman, my life can be outlined by traumatic haircuts. Run-of-the-mill stylists think they can just make it wet and cut it like straight hair. The result is a series of profoundly bad cuts at all the wrong times.

There were the graduation photos, marred by the woman who insisted on giving me a shag ‘do even though I asked her to go easy on the angles and layers. “You’re going to love it,” she assured me, hacking steep and jagged slices into my hair. I was frozen to the seat, partially with horror, and partially because she appeared to be using a naked razor blade and I didn’t dare move.

Then there was the Israeli dude I spent a solid five minutes telling what I wanted. I was going to start both a job and dating soon, and I wanted something simple but classy that would fit all occasions. Promising me that I was going to look fabulous, he gave me one of those huge afro things popular on black women these days. To give him credit, I was impressed. I hadn’t known my hair could be so… big. He did it with the help of some practically plastic goop called Catwalk which he tried to sell to me. Needless to say, I wasn’t buying. It took a full week to wash out as it was.

After that one I didn’t get another haircut for a solid 12 months. The very thought left me trembling. I should be able to sue that guy. I should be able to deny payment to all those people. Why isn’t there consumer protection on these things?

Anyway, with my own, scalp-grown cilia, I have the option of letting stylists tamper with it as infrequently as I please. But with sheitels, you need professional help more often. The idea of regularly handing over control of my hair to someone whose sole goal is make me look like a red-carpet walker almost turns me off marriage.

Maybe I’ll marry mizrachi and go the mitpachat route.