Monday, October 31, 2005

The private life of my hair

My hair is a Halloween costume. Not my Halloween costume…but A’s, who is tripping around campus sporting a long wavy red wig with bangs, asking “Who am I?” Most of the time, she doesn’t get the question out before one of my coworkers is laughing hysterically. A. is short and I’m tall. A. has a cute button nose and I don’t. But apparently that isn’t making the question harder to answer.

I’m used to being upstaged by my hair. My hair seems to have its own sense of identity, its own social life. Remember the “Are you a Wiccan?,” inquiry. I’m asked this often enough for it to fall outside the parameters of the completely random. This question, I’m convinced, is addressed solely to my hair. I answer, “no” but my hair, apparently, ( or my Hair Apparent) is vigorously nodding “Yes. Why yes, I am!” I know this because after I answer the question, people tend to go on as if I hadn’t spoken. Uh-huh!

Further, my hair is more outgoing than I am. In the aisle of the supermarket one day, a woman came up behind me and picked up a healthy chunk of it, smiled serenely and said, “lovely.” (A. tells me this is how people feel about touching the bellies of pregnant women). Now this is a nice enough thing, I suppose. Except that I rarely fondle strangers or their bits and am unused to having them fondle me or my bits. In supermarkets or other public places. So, once again, I have to assume that my hair was up there, waving it’s L’Oreal – coated cuticles in a come-hither sort of way, like a small dog, wagging “pet me.”

Occasionally it makes enemies. In my first post, I talked about a man I met on a dating site who seemed interesting at first. But who, to my utter shock, suddenly revealed that he’d made some terribly insulting assumptions about me. “I knew you were the cry-me-a-river type.” he wrote, “It was the picture with the hair.”

Come to think of it, it’s pissed more than one stranger off.

For instance, at Sears, when I was shopping for a vacuum cleaner. A sales associate with tight lips, little slitty eyes and a bad perm informs me in a snooty voice, when I ask for a vacuum I can pick up with one hand, that I am asking for a carpet sweeper, not a vacuum. Carpet sweepers don’t vacuum, they surface clean. Okay. I’m agreeable. “I’d like a carpet sweeper. I live alone. I have no pets. I don’t need a BIG vacuum.” She regards me as if lice are about to swarm off my person, stares straight into my eyes and concludes her argument with, “You have long hair.” She says it like you might say, “You have rabies.”

If it keeps this up, (I’m warning you up there), there WILL be a hat.