Friday, May 7, 2010


When I enlisted in the Air Force, my first haircut took about two minutes, no fuss no asking how I wanted it cut. The barber did not even say hello, just a bored ‘next’ when he was done. We all got the same haircut. When we were kids, whenever we got a haircut, everyone asked us if we had our ears lowered.

My sisters, we were Catholic, never went to church without a hat, except for evening choir practice; but for Sunday mass, hats were required. It was a no, no for women to enter the church without a hat. Men of course are required to remove their hats upon entering a church, or a mosque; for a temple a yarmulke is accepted. For men its hat in your hand when you enter the Lord’s house; a sign of humility.

But for some reason God does not like to see women’s hair.

Women and men react differently in regard to hair. Men have their hair cut when it gets too long, except if they are musicians or famous scientists, then they are allowed to let it grow long. Long haired musicians are considered great musicians and so we have the term long haired music.

On a serious note, women always shield their hair from God. It is interesting to note that Nuns, Islamic women and Eastern European women always cover their hair. My mother always wore a babushka when she went outside. Women of some Jewish sects wear wigs whenever and only when they go outside. God, who is all powerful, is foiled by a hat, scarf or wig, but indoors the roof suffices. In those sects the females will not wear a wig made in India for fear the wig may have been made from hair from females who are prostitutes. God would be furious if he knew he was being thwarted by a prostitutes’ hair. Maybe that explains why women spend so much time on their hair. Whenever we need a prohibition it is always directed at the women.

When I go to a barber, I like the fastest barber and the cheapest. Of course today even men are spending more time on their hair, what with dyeing and curling and of all things styling. But, women still spend an inordinately longer amount of time with their hair: frequent washing, curling, dyeing, drying, discussing with their friends who is the best hairdresser and their current hair style, which salon is the best, etc.

Why did such a custom originate? What is it about hair that is so different from other parts of the human anatomy? Skin is not treated the same.

I try not to find answers to these questions. God, I am sure, must like it this way.

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