Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hair personality

This hairpisodes blog is subtitled "What we do to hair, what hair does to us" for a reason. Because it goes both ways. We style our hair for what we like and what we think looks good on us, and also as a form of self-expression. Meanwhile, hairstyle "authorities" are out there making claims regarding the impressions our hair makes on others. Generalizations run rampant:
Dark Hair -- You're thoughtful
Red Hair --You're fun-loving
Blonde Hair --You're a man magnet
Gray Hair -- You're confident
(from Reader's Digest, 13 things your hair could reveal about your personality)

Well, that's just silly. Quintessential White People Problems.

Cosmopolitan's article 20 Things Your Hairstyle Says About You is more intriguing, based on author Jean Haner's "studies in 3,000-year-old face reading derived from Chinese medicine."

Image from Book of Research
Wait, face reading? I am so going there. Apparently, Haner is interpolating her hair wisdom in the "20 Things" article from the Chinese ancient practice of Mien Shiang.

"The age-old Taoist practice of Mien Shiang is an art and a science that means literally face (mien) reading (shiang). It is an accurate means of self-discovery, and a great way to help us understand others. As the ancient Taoists said, the face records the past, reflects the present, and forecasts the future." (from The Book of Research)

The Book of Research web site offers a lot of info on Mien Shiang. Next to nothing about hair, though, except for discussion of the hairline (related to socialization) and eyebrows:

6. House of Siblings (Xiongdi Gong) -- Eyebrows and the areas directly above them represent it, and it also oversees your relationship with your friends and colleagues. The state of your hair has a direct connection to the physical conditions of your parents at the time when you were conceived, which means it has a lot to do with your genetic make-ups. Brows that are dark, thick, long, smooth, orderly and located high above eyes indicate a healthy hormone level that gives rise to affection, calmness and courage. If they look sparse, thin, pale, short, or chaotic, or too close to eyes, or marked with a scar, you could be tormented by your own physical or emotional states.
Okay, we're talking rampant generalizations again. But it's got me thinking about the reality of "hair reading," about the human tendency to generalize about a person's personality based in large part on their hair. It is what it is.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Garden hair

There didn't used to be deer in our neighborhood. I gardened for years happily oblivious to those soft-eared, black-nosed little predators. When my hostas began to disappear, I blamed snails. I encircled the plants with crushed egg shells. No luck. Within a season, my hostas were chewed to the nub, never to return.

I still was blaming snails when, a couple of years later, my tulip buds began disappearing magically, over night, just before they blossomed. Then my rose blooms. Always, the flower nipped off neatly, leaving the forlorn stem as a reminder of what might have been. Cut worms? I wondered. But how could they get so high off the ground?

"What could be eating my tulips and roses?" I asked an avid gardener friend of mine.

"It's the deer," she said. "They get my roses, too. I have to build cages around my rose bushes, or I get no flowers at all."

I hadn't seen deer roaming around, so it seemed unlikely. Then, one night coming home from a meeting after dark, there he/she was, munching through my front garden.

Who me? Yes, you.

This spring, as I began to plant my garden and ruefully prune my roses, and yes, watch my tulip blooms rudely devoured one by one, I began to look into deer repellents. As it turns out, deer rely on smell for foraging; powerful odors, especially the smell of other animals, can be successful in warding them off. And wouldn't you know, one of the most common solutions? Human hair.

So, last week when I got my hair cut, with some embarrassment, I asked my stylist David if I could take my hair snippings home with me.

"I've brought a plastic bag," I told him. "We could sweep it in there."

He got a funny look on his face, until I explained about the deer. Then, with a shrug, he swept my hair up and handed it over.


"I'll have to hear if it works or not, next time you're in," he said in farewell.

When I got home, feeling a bit skeptical, I spread my hair around as best I could.

Last Saturday, I came home from running errands and my niece's truck was there. She's been coming by on weekends from time to time to help me out with the gardening. We hadn't talked in a while, so we reviewed recent developments in the yard.

"And can I just ask," my niece said cautiously, like she'd been wondering whether she dared broach the subject, "about the red furry stuff around the roses?"

"Oh, that's my hair," I said. "It's supposed to repel the deer. Apparently, hair smells enough like humans that it keeps them away? It probably won't work, but I thought it was worth a try."

So far so good.