What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


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Atop the talking heads

Posted on October 27, 2016 by Katy Byrne

Can we get insight about people by noticing their hair? Maybe I’m having a wild hair day here, but you can’t help wondering: why does Donald Trump wears his hair that way? Can you imagine running your fingers through that sticky jungle? And why is it so orange?

I guess he’s trying to be the biggest orangutan out there.

And then there’s Hillary. Kind of a nice hair-do, but what does it say about her? How long does that take to fix in the morning? Does it mean she’s too controlled or just very organized?

Maybe I’m just splitting hairs here; I needed to think about something besides the hairy world we live in. So, I wondered, what are people saying about themselves through the coif they’ve chosen?

Studying the subject has been hair-raising. Everything from scalping to cutting, growing, shaving and coloring has continued through the ages to project some meaning. Even Yogi Bhajan said, “When the hair on your head is allowed to attain its full, mature length, then phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin D are all produced… This creates more efficient memory and greater physical energy.” Maybe I’m just going over it with a fine-toothed comb, but hair seems to affect our health and our esteem.

History reveals constant changes in hair — everything from wigs in the courtroom to Lady Godiva. Her nude image with long flowing locks of hair became a symbol of civic freedom and beauty. In the 1950s, many females in China favored a short bob cut just below the ears. This hairstyle symbolized women taking control of their own lives. As it turns out, the history of hair is long.

Today the average woman spends approximately $50,000 on her hair over her lifetime. I remember rolling my hair in tin cans or straightening my curls over an ironing board, only to walk out in the rain!

Shopping lately for shampoo and seeing dozens of products, from shiners to smoothers made my hair stand on end! And which to choose? When I finally got in the shower, I had an emotional hairball (like a cat). Granted, it was a bad hair day, but I was even more frustrated when I couldn’t read which was the shampoo or conditioner. The fine print on those bottles is smaller than a split end. Tip-toeing, soaking wet out of the tub to get my Dean Edell eyeglasses wasn’t fun.

Oh well, guys have hair issues too – growing it, coloring it, trying to find it, wearing a baseball cap on backwards. What’s up with that anyway? And what about the new tight buns on teenagers? Someone said to me the other day, “those buns on young people drive me nuts.” I thought he meant buttocks, I hadn’t noticed the new bun look. Maybe letting your hair down is out, but I guess in America, everything is tighter.

What does our hair say about us? Maybe the blue streaks on some heads are for artistic types, long hair for the joy of hair itself (“gimme’ some of that hair” –famous 60s song.) Maybe short hair is for people who just accept themselves as they are?

Wondering about the meaning of hair makes me scratch my scalp. Why can’t we just leave it alone? Let our hair down? Watch the animals roam and ignore Hollywood? In “The Beauty Myth,” Naomi Wolf says: “A woman wins by giving herself and other women permission – to eat; to be sexual; to age; to wear overalls …a second-hand opera cloak, or combat boots; to cover up or go practically naked.”

The long and short of it is that writing about this makes me wonder, do I look like the weird frizzy girl who just can’t control her ADHD? Maybe.




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