Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Chavi and the Hair

Tuvia and I were married May 31, 2010, which means that on November 31, while we're gallivanting around Israel, we'll celebrate our Six Month Anniversary (cue loud, booming voice and doomful music). That will be six months of tichels, hats, scarves, and a sheitel (that's really a fall meant to be worn with headbands and hats). That also will be six months of an experience that seems to entertain or captivate the likes of blog readers the world-over. My posts on hair and hair covering are some of my most well-read and most talked about. Most days I wonder why that is, but I usually come to the conclusion that it's because it's 2010. It's the 21st century and the idea that there are women out there willing to cover their hair in a bounty of ways seems foreign, if not archaic or unsensible, to probably 90 percent of the population. Women, after all, are liberated, right? We're proud to share the right to vote (in the U.S. anyway) and equal opportunity for jobs (even though we still make less than men for equivalent work) and those with house husbands are free to work their tushes off without worrying about raising their kids full-time. Women are free, free to do whatever they want, which to most means wearing pants and letting those locks fly freely in the dirty, NYC wind.

When I first posted about hair covering, I got a lot of comments that my sentiments would change. I'd grow weary of it quickly, my head would itch and I would throw off my scarf in rebellion, embracing my awesome hair and the liberation that uncovering can bring. I'm not being flippant, but there were people who expected me to give up on covering. So we're only six months in, and maybe there's still hope that I'll go back to my awesome 'do next year or in ten years or moments before I kick the bucket ... but don't count on it.

I've got drawers and nooks and crannies stuffed with scarves of every color and size, headbands for my fall, and now that winter is upon us, boatloads of cute knit winter hats. I'll admit, hair covering in summer sucks. It's hot, no matter how thin your tichel, and with my style -- homegrown bangs -- it's an even hotter mess. Thus, thank G-d for winter ... I can wear my knit hats with or without the fall, and look like a cute ski bunny in the process.

My hair has finally grown a bit to the point where I can comfortably leave a bit less than a tefach out of my knit hat without feeling uncomfortable. The look, I think, suits me. Of course, I was concerned about meeting the criteria -- being covered and being bound. My hair is short enough that I can't bind it, so the rim of the hat tends to keep it bound in place (that is, it doesn't move), so through executive decision, I've deemed it both stylish and legitimate as far as kisui rosh goes. My knit hats are blue and gray and brown and black and one even has a big ridiculous bow on it. I've discovered that K-Mart is an excellent locale for knit hat shopping, and even my super sequined sparkly black hat from Target gets the job done. Winter, for me, is without scarves and tichels for the most part, although we're going to Israel at the end of the month and Israel is a place where wearing a scarf is more comfortable than a hat or sheitel. I intend on packing a few necessary scarves and to buy up Israeli ones while I'm there.

I can't say that I'm any more comfortable in my sheitel than I was a few months ago when I got it. To be honest, I probably went a month without even wearing it, bringing it out this Shabbos for a schlep to family in Monsey. The weather was up and down, and, feeling perpetually warm, I opted out of the hairy option. I keep toying with the idea of getting it chopped, as sometimes it feels bulky and annoying. I see so many women with cute short 'dos, and I have to wonder what would work for me. Sure, long hair is sultry and sexy, but that's not exactly the point of it, nor is it what I'm going for. Functional and comfortable are the key words for hair covering in my book.

Overall, hair covering ain't no thing for me. I wake up, I throw on a hat, I run out the door. If anything, it's made my life loads easier. I've almost mastered cutting my own bangs (okay, not really, but I try), and I look darn cute in a winter knit hat. It might push me to move to the Great White North so I can rock this look 24/7/365. I'm still coping with the bangs + tichel/scarf look. I feel like it looks weird, where I once thought it looked awesome. Would I get rid of my bangs? Probably not. They're my signature. People usually ask whether they're homegrown or fake (yes, you can buy clip-on bangs). The question I'm sure most are wondering is whether if it "ain't no thing" if I'm getting anything spiritual or religious out of it. The answer is a resounding "of course." I walk a certain way, talk a certain way, dress a certain way, and it all starts at the tip-top of my head. It allows for a full and embodying sense of self-awareness that I strengthen with each day I cover my noggin and hair.

What about you, readers? For those of you who cover, does it get easier, harder? What has really pushed you to reconsider or reevaluate your own hair covering? What keeps you trucking and what trips you up?