And Now a Few Words From Your Hair
Ouch — that hurt! Haven't you ever heard of detangler? Maybe some leave-in conditioner, or at least a wide-toothed comb? This is what I mean. Nobody thinks about my feelings. Maybe things would be different if I was the organ that allowed you to taste chocolate. Then I might be properly appreciated. But as things stand now, it's hopeless. Well, I'm not normally into self-promotion but, as they say, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?" So as much as it goes against the grain, I feel compelled to take this opportunity to point out to you the top ten reasons why you should be very, very grateful to me, your hair, and why I should be your favorite physical feature. After all, I am your very own crown of glory, even if on occasion it's a crown of knots and split ends:
Reason One - I am extremely versatile and responsive. I bend, curl, straighten, and stand on end when you're frightened, (sometimes even when you're not). You can change my shape, style, length, volume, color and texture, and change it back again. And then I'm so sensitive, so responsive to the environment. When it's humid I go limp or frizz up, when it's windy I blow about dramatically, when it's really dry I crackle with electricity and when I get wet I change color. All without fuss, expense or complicated technology.
Reason Two. I have special powers. As far as body parts go, I'm really rather extraordinary. You probably take me, and all of my special properties, completely for granted because you are so used to expecting things from me you don't expect from other body parts. But I'd like to see what would happen if one day you woke up and decided "Today I'm going to straighten my elbows" or " I think I'll wear my nose pinned up for Amanda's party tonight."
Reason Three. I am the only fashion accessory you were born with. It's easy to think of me as just another kind of decoration, having no function other than to ornament your face. However, I must point out that, unlike your clothes, your jewelry, or that adorable belt you're wearing, I am one of the original component parts included in your particular human package — as unique a part of you as your knees and your toes. Which means, among other things, that you're not likely to experience someone coming up to you at a party and exclaiming: "Oh my God — you're wearing my hair!"
Reason Four - I am very dramatic. Think of how many examples there are of celebrities and other famous women, past and present, whose hair has been their defining physical characteristic and consider how much of their celebrity and achievement is due to the impact of their most prominent feature - me. To underline the point try this fun exercise — summon up the images of a few female legends and imagine them exchanging their signature hairstyles. For example: Jennifer Aniston swaps with Dolly Parton; Marilyn Monroe with Phyllis Diller; Marie Antoinette with Twiggy; and Farah Fawcett with Golda Meir. Are you with me? Does anyone really doubt that if Sarah Palin had Gilda Radner's hair she'd still be Mayor of Wasilla? I rest my case.
Reason Five. I bear constant rejection without complaint. If you're female it's likely you were born with the instinct to dislike your own particular type of hair. This inclination towards hair rejection begins in childhood when it seems as inevitable as Barbie dolls that young girls will envy each other's natural gifts. So, if their hair's curly they wish it were straight and vice versa. Brunettes want to be blondes, and everyone is jealous of the little red-headed girl. This sets in motion a process of hair revision/rejection that continues until you get to that certain age when you have, at last, achieved a zen state of contentment and acceptance of who you are and what you look like. This is called "aging gracefully", although even then there is a thin line between the woman who is secure and comfortable with herself and poor Harriet who has let herself go since Irving passed away.
Reason Six. I help you indulge your fantasies. During the many stages of your life which precede serenity, I serve as the principal vehicle to allow you to continuously transform yourself into whatever it is that you need to be at the moment. Back in the 50's a girl could decide in the morning to be a tough greaser and tease her hair into a rat's nest, change in the afternoon to a wholesome pony-tailed Sandra Dee type, and if the mood hits her that evening, switch to utter sophistication with an Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's updo. And what look appeals to you today? Victoria Beckham asymmetrical bob? Purple goth? Marilyn Monroe retro? Or maybe just stick with short, chopped and pointy. Whatever your mood and whoever you want to be, there is one body part that can make it happen and it isn't your toes.
Reason Seven. Unlike your thighs or midriff, I never get fat. No matter how many Krispy Kreme chocolate glazed donuts with sprinkles you snarfed down last night in frustration over the fact that your boss, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother or teenaged kid doesn't appreciate you, I remain the same slender beauty — all ten zillion microscopically skinny strands of me. Your jeans may laugh at you when you try to zip them up but I will never taunt you for your indiscretions. I will still fit perfectly on the top of your head just as I have every other day of your life.
Reason Eight. You owe me big time. In the pursuit of your incessant need for metamorphoses you put me through merciless and relentless mutilation (not that I'm complaining). I'm brushed vigorously on a daily basis with needle like bristles, cut, curled, waved, ironed, straightened, highlighted, lowlighted, hot rolled, dyed, sprayed, geled, and as the song goes, ". knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided.". Many of these procedures, if enacted upon other body parts would result in regular trips to the ER or involuntary confinement to mental or penal institutions. "I'm sorry ma'm, this is the second time you coated your stomach with toxic chemicals and then applied heat. I think you'd better come with us".
Reason Nine. I am thoughtfully designed. Whoever created humans understood, in her divine wisdom, that women would need to do all manner of things to their hair and so (with the exception of the very touchy scalp region) happily designed the organ sans the inconvenience of nerve endings. Think about the alternative — a haircut would be tantamount to an amputation, involving general anesthesia and months of recovery and pain. And every routine styling decision would become a major medical procedure. "I can't go clubbing tonight Emily, I'm checking myself into the hospital for a perm."
Reason Ten. Besides being the most flexible and acquiescent of body parts, I'm also the most forgiving. You butcher your bangs for the umpteenth time, that cheap bleach job turns your previously golden locks a khaki green, that straightening chemical makes clumps of hair in the back of your head fall out — any way in which you trespass against me I offer you absolution for your sins, because whatever you have done and whatever you will do, not to worry, it will either wash out or grow out. It's that simple and that comforting. And this amnesty program I offer is available with a lifetime guarantee. (Some say hair even continues to grow for a while after death, which is not an appealing prospect, especially to me. Yikes!)
So that's me in a nutshell — equal parts beauty, tolerance and compassion. One would think with all that you could muster up a little respect and appreciation in return. You could start, for example by banishing all those annoying "Bad Hair Day" baseball caps. I'm not bad. Far from it. It's just that well, you know, I've been through a lot. And it wouldn't hurt to use a little detangler now and then. After all, I do have a very sensitive scalp.