Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Boiled Walnuts and Leeks - let's talk HAIR

So, yes, the topic of hair. It will go. In fact it started today, a small but noticeable set of strands in my hand. I will mourn its loss.  I think every woman knows (even if secretly not admitting it) that hair is the source of our outward world facing-happiness - bad hair day = bad day. Oh, c'mon you know it is.

Over the years, I dyed my hair blond, I cut it, permed it, I grew it long again - it was/is part of my identity. Owen likes it mussed up and curly, Noami likes it sleek and brushed. Frankly, I just like it clean, out of my face. Michael has never expressed a preference.

Naomi has purple hair now, quite a lovely shade of violet and very shiny. Owen's hopes for "Hawaiian Blue" were dashed as the colour did not quite take. Oh well. Life is full of small disappointments, like, say pulling out chunks of hair. I need to dig up a really bad picture of me with a spiral perm from 1989 and then I won't feel so bad. God, why did we do that to ourselves? Chemo for hair it was, ruinous.

Anyhow, I found this brief little history of hair, and adornment, and thought I would post it

Some of the first references to hair care appear as early as 4000 B.C., when Egyptians crafted combs out of dried fish bones. In 2000 B.C., Egyptians mixed water and citrus juice to make shampoo, and they applied animal fats and plant oils to their hair for conditioning. In 1800 B.C., Babylonian men powdered their hair with gold dust, and in 1500 B.C., Assyrian slaves curled the hair of kings and other nobles with heated iron bars. In 500 B.C., hair styling was born in western Africa, where sticks and clay were used as early versions of curlers and setting gel. Accessories and color were introduced in 35 B.C., when Cleopatra wore jewel-studded ivory pins in her hair and Roman prostitutes were forced to dye their hair blond.


In the first century A.D. hair color became even more prominent. Women attended Roman feasts showing off their dark, shiny tresses,thanks to dyes, which were created from boiled walnuts and leeks. Saxon men charged on the battlefield toward their enemies with their hair blazing in threatening hues of blue, green, and orange, in the year 100. In Rome, circa 200, sculptors began to attach marble wigs to their artwork to update them in accordance with the hairstyles of the times. And in the fourth century, there was an emphatic show of hairnets and scarves. Fast forward a millennium: If you think that permanent solution now smells awful, empathize with European women in the 1300's who conditioned their hair with dead lizards boiled in olive oil. And that's not all they had to endure; they also shaved their hairlines to show off high foreheads and piled hair high on their heads to make their necks look longer.

We find it difficult today to meet society's physical ideals as projected by television, magazines, and other forms of media. Imagine the challenge women had in the 1400s, when the somewhat devious theoretician Machiavelli announced the standard for appealing locks, claiming that a woman should be crowned by hair that is "loose and blond, sometimes the color of gold, at other times honey, shiny as the rays of the sun, wavy, thick and long, scattered in long curls, and fluttering on the shoulders.
I forgot where I got it from - oops. Oh well. I am not going to pull my hair out about it...Ach!

xo KO

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a little bird told me that it is gone, so you can put away that lizard you were planning to boil in olive oil. I'm sure it will keep in the freezer...