Sunday, October 24, 2010

What to do about all this hair

Take a look at this picture. This is Child No.1's hair when it has been de-plaited. That hair is apparently what mine would look if (a) it was long and (b) I had more of it. In other words, it is my genetic fault. 

Dealing with this hair is a major cost. To keep it under control it has to be plaited -- more than 10 will last a week but here in the US we have been getting it done outside the house with 64 plaits (lasting a couple of months). The next picture shows the result of that.

So let's add up the costs of all of this. On the plaiting side, there are hairdressing costs. The last time this was done, it took 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours. She sat there for 8 hours. And suffice it to say that involved a considerable monetary cost too. 

But of course every plait eventually has to be de-plaited. Rather than pay for that, yesterday, Child No.1's mother and I undertook that task ourselves. It took both of us working at the same time 5 hours to get rid of 64 plaits. That is 10 'person' hours in total. Suffice it to say, never again, is my new motto.

All this caused me to contemplate the meaning of this endeavour. As with all such things, there is a history. When she was younger, this hair was, in fact, naturally curly. Shirley Temple had nothing on Child No.1. And so that hair became a part of her identity. As I have mentioned before, she has no stereotypical 'girl' like preferences; except for one thing, having long hair. We have saved on dresses, to be sure, but over the years that hair became harder and hard to manage.

For many years, Child No.1's hair was done once a week by her mother. It took about one and a half hours to get 10 plaits. But the problem was not the plaiting but instead just brushing the hair. That was taking all of the time. Something had to be done.

When we came to the US, we worked out that there were other children with similar issues and so opted for braiding, as they call it here. Of course, that has turned out really not to be economical in any sense of the word.

So we are now at a cross-roads. There are two camps. First, there are the cutters; those who believe the hair should be cut to about half of its current length and become within some level of manageability.  I am a loyal and vocal member of this camp. Indeed, at one point yesterday I suggested the merits of cutting the current hair completely off, making a wig, shaving her head and using the wig as a substitute. Despite its compelling rationale, such sensible strategies are not receiving serious air time in our deliberations.

The second camp has no name. It is to do 'something else.' The problem is that the members of the camp do not know what that 'something else' is. So I am putting that question out there to the friendly readership of this blog. What should we do about all this hair?