Jewish World Review May 30, 2002/ 19 Sivan, 5762

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports

Of big hair and sanity | This year finds me with bounteous blessings. The Rosie O'Donnell show clumped to an end and Oprah's book club halted, thus bringing hope for literature beyond the Toni Morrison genre of "I grew up in a small town with right-wing hicks, and, dang, I was molested." Mercifully, ABC canceled Bill Maher and his Politically Incorrect collection of tedious hayseeds and models, the most intellectual of whom was Tom Arnold. As if these three demises were not sufficient grace from above, USA Today now reports that big hair is back. Smooth bouffants grace stylish heads once again.

The past 10 years of nouveau hairstyles have been difficult for those of us who were brought up right, with a teasing comb and a can of Aqua Net. Hairdressers discovered the ticket to fame and millions was creating hairstyles inspired by participants in extreme sports. For example, one hairdresser was able to convince Meg Ryan to wear her hair like Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. Every female with tattooed calf and/or pierced belly adopted Meg's straggle look.

Obtaining such mussed looks was no small task and enterprising hair stylists sold mousse, muck, mud, insulation foam, and other hair stiffening products in funky cans. I found one hair product called "Sex cream." Shouldn't such promiscuous fare remain behind the counter, available only via pharmacist request? Hair also never looked clean because folks applied Kraft Marshmallow crème in spray, gel or perhaps reproductive can forms "immediately after shampooing."

The era of spikes, rumples, strands, and straggles seemed endless. Even the Farrah Fawcett shag era and the Jennifer Aniston smooth-but-uneven period were easier on the eyes. The return of the bouffant holds as much promise as when that cute Dorothy Hammill, who now suffers from heartburn if the Federal Trade Commission is keeping up with accuracy in celebrity endorsements, inspired women with her fluffy, springy bob.

The football helmet look of smooth, big hair most certainly has its origins with Mother Eve for it cries out, "Free at last from the shackles of feminist locks and frocks. Give me a pair of spike heels and an Ace comb for frumpy hair is over."

I blame the feminists for orthopedic hair because they started the no-frills look with their kinky flowing mops, that kind of Janis Joplin/Chandra Levy/Carole King style that makes me mutter, "Comb your hair."

I also blame the feminist movement for men now obsessed with styled hair. How ironic that the male offspring of women who spent no time with their hair would become slaves to their hair. Men sit in salons, holding little pieces of foil to hand to their "stylists" for creating their artificial flecks of blond. Get thee to a barbershop, you sissies. Speak there of auger bits, DeWalt generators and antler decorations, not Ricky Martin.

Coed dorms were bad enough, but male integration of beauty shops is decadent. Men turned "beauty shops," a shelter for gossip and a refuge from intellect via Cosmo, into "salons" and a funky experience.

I endure a unisex salon because I followed my now-deaf hairdresser there. The salon has Dance Fever/Soul Train music so loud that is shakes my spleen. I have learned to communicate with her by signing the words, "Fix the roots. Take a little off the ends."

Oddly, in spite of all the attention to their hair, more men are bald earlier. Twentysomething men in my classes have all manner of receding hairlines. I can count the full heads of hair on one hand. They suffer from traumatic alopecia, hair loss caused by too many chemicals and too much fussing. With all the goop, root spikes, gel, and what not, men's hair is like a wall with too many coats of paint. Hair is peeling away.

Perhaps my theory on baldness also has some merit. With their own bad hair days now, men cover the muss with baseball caps. Men have worn them incorrectly (backwards) and round-the-clock, including restaurants. Their hair sheds, much like a dog's hair beneath its collar. America is home to 50 million bald men.

Real men don't fuss so over their hair. Blast the feminists who lured them into submission. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder got a court order to stop a news report that alleged he dyed his hair. The story included the opinion of a political consultant who concluded that hair coloring was a sign of insecurity and that Schroeder "would be more credible if he didn't dye his hair." True feelings always emerge.

And the bouffant has reemerged. The Laura Petrie, Jackie Onassis, Tricia Nixon, Ursula Andress, Lady Bird, Lynda Bird and Lucy Bird poofy look is back. We've returned to our roots, as it were, of orderly hair. Now if they can just boot men out of beauty shops, civilization could advance.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


05/30/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
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12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
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10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
10/06/00: The government as the pharmacy: Don't
09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings