Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bad Things Happening to Hair

There is a certain level of humidity that does not cause my hair to frizz, but rather restyles it into something I used to refer to as Charlie's Angels. It looks like I've spent time with hot rollers and hairspray. Just now when I looked in the mirror I realized the pop-culture reference I'd been using wasn't quite accurate. The photo at left, of Blair from The Facts of Life, nails it.

In worse hair news, a friend, who I am sure would prefer to remain anonymous, called last night to say that she and her toddler have somehow picked up lice. My friend panicked and let her husband give her an emergency haircut that makes her, "look like an elderly Southern woman." (She does not happen to be an elderly Southern woman, so.) She was calling for styling help. I of course assured her that she could pull it off and we would make it work, but added that if she thinks I'm coming over any time soon for a consult, she is sorely mistaken. I say that with love.
They are on the road to recovery after a visit from a peculiar creature I have read about several times recently: the hair fairy. I first heard of this job when an employment-seeking friend laughingly alerted me to a Craigslist ad for the position. They were hiring people to visit the lice-afflicted at home, and carefully comb out the lice. I'm sure I have lost at least half of you by now, but if anyone is still reading, I have to say I am fascinated (at a distance!) by these people. My friend said the lady who came to help her was soothing and relaxed. She did indeed find the job on Cragslist. These hair fairies also showed up in a short story or essay, set in Manhattan, that I read recently. Apparently the treatments they use are all natural. Because I am me, I know that in the past, people combatted lice with essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, and hyssop. Castor oil, Vaseline, and tobacco juice are often recommended in beauty books from times when lice were nearly ubiquitous. In ancient Greece, bathing the hair and scalp in "viper broth" was prescribed. Obviously, one had to go to the witches for the broth, which they ladled out of a cauldron swimming with live snakes.