Barbie’s Beauty Regime?
Eight months into our marriage, my husband suggested that I should go and see a barber. He said it gently without giving me cause for alarm. He didn’t use the word hair stylist, hairdresser or beautician. I wonder why? I thought barbers cut hair, give shaves and trim beards, often with mechanical tools. Maybe I’m being sensitive but to me the word has a distinct masculine connotation. Isn’t it derived from the word barbaric? Doesn’t the word barbaric mean someone uncouth and often bearded? It’s possible; it has an entirely different root word, which I’m unaware of.
Maybe its origin relates to Barbarella, the Queen of the Galaxy. She’s the fantasy space traveler, with a mane of bouncy hair. She has various intergalactic adventures and fights off evil with her shiny space gun wearing skin-tight cat suits and metallic knee high boots. Maybe he’s trying to tell me my hair needs more volume. I can easily fix that with my “big sexy spray and play” hairspray. Even though he wasn’t looking at the hair on my head when he mentioned it, I’m sure that’s what he was thinking; more bounce and body. I prefer to believe the latter derivation.
What’s All The Fuzz For?
Darwin has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to female body hair. It must have some benefit. Evolutionary science tells me so. If it didn’t it would have shed by now. My fuzz must serve some purpose. Maybe it’s protecting me from bacteria, spread of disease and harmful UV rays. That’s now all taken care of with penicillin, hand sanitizer and sunscreen. Whoever’s making the decisions must see how futile it is. Surely they must know we’re taking it all off. Why don’t they bring the human conveyor belt to a halt? Don’t they realize that faulty batches are going out? Why has natural selection turned a blind eye to the plight of over protected women?
It’s too late for me. My concern is for future generations. Every day thousands of baby girls are born with what society tells me is a genetic deviance. These girls will spend a great deal of time and money on removing excess hair. Forget the rashes, cuts and the in growing hairs. It’s the psychological damage that leave the worst scars. I knew a girl that was driven to therapy because of her deep shadowy facial hair. Her brother had given her the nickname Mach 3 when she was three years old. Twenty years later, despite hopeful family predictions, the hair had not fallen-out. She wasn’t even Persian.
Misguided information from family and friends creates anxiety. Adults tend to lie when confronted with a newly born, hairy baby girl. Female family members are particularly prone to well-meaning deception. They give the mother false hopes that the beard, neck and forehead hair on her bundle of joy will miraculously metamorphose from coarse black to blonde and eventually fall off. Just like the belly button does. They call it baby fluff. This is myth number 1. No one has the fortitude to tell the truth. It’s misleading and unkind. They recall imaginary cases when it’s happened to the baby of a distant cousin back home or a friend of a friend that they’re no longer in touch with. Their examples are always vague and never taken from the immediate family gene pool. Frankly they would be better off telling the mother the truth and allowing her to make the necessary provisions and preparations both emotionally and financially for herself and daddy’s furry little princess.
No matter how cute her dimples are when she smiles the velvety moustache is distracting, so the baby is adorned a with huge bow, gold hoop earring and a shiny name bracelet specifically to publicize: “I’m not a boy!” The color blue is boycotted. The parents invest heavily in everything pink.
Growing up, Baby Barbarella knows she’s not like the rest of the girls and feels more comfortable with other Persian Princesses or girls from the Mediterranean community. Who else can understand what it’s like to have sideburns and lose a front tooth? When she’s old enough to say moo (hair) she’s given a pink Gillette ladies razor with a tiny bow tied around it along with a can of what looks like Barbie’s whipping cream. Here begins what will be a lifetime ritual. This is the point of no return. There should be a Bat-Mitzvah or some other formal entry into this coming of age but instead it’s done quietly, discreetly and only in the presence of other women. This secret female society will play an important role in her life. The initiation is usually suggested by an aunt, cousin or a close family friend. There will always be a debate as for the best course of action. Should she start shaving right away or would it be wiser for her to wax, and prevent thicker hair growing back, or maybe her condition is better suited to threading? Which brings me to myth number 2: when you shave, wax or thread hair on any part of your body, it will grow back looking exactly how it looked before, maybe even worse. The pain you experience during your method of hair removal doesn’t give you any re-growth advantages. Trust me, I know.