Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession

Edited by Elizabeth Benedict

I guess it’s comforting to know that most women, no matter how successful, are a little crazy about their hair, but the essays in this collection become a little tiring after awhile as themes start to repeat – women who learn to accept a natural look; women who defiantly color and don’t care who knows it’s fake; women who were obsessed with their hair when younger but have mellowed into acceptance with age.  There are some highlights (ha ha).  “My Black Hair” by Marita Golden succinctly illustrates that “Black women’s hair is knotted and gnarled by issues of race, politics, history, and pride.”   No matter what they decide to do with their hair, it’s sure to be controversial from some segment of their friends, family, or co-workers.  On the lighter side of the spectrum, Jane Smiley writes about the time she had a makeover and looked fabulous for a couple weeks.  Her advice?  “Try to look your best as infrequently as possible.”  Because, no matter how you look, the people who see you all the time will become accustomed to it.  So, if you only make an effort for special occasions, your friends may be in for a pleasant surprise.  “No, they didn’t know you had any taste.  No, is was not clear that you were actually pretty, but you are!  This is not the same as letting yourself go.  It is more like being dormant, so that from time to well-chosen time you may blossom.”  This collection is best read one essay every few days instead of all at once.

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