Story: Hair

Marlene Haring's piece

Marlene Haring’s piece

I’m really intrigued by Marlene Haring‘s work on hair. Hair is a strange thing. I actually have days of hair management where I get a hair cut and a wax in one day, meaning I’ve devoted a morning to sitting in chairs being tortured for the sake of my appearance. This was especially true when dying my roots blonde with burning bleach…just by the way.

In Rosie Garland’s novel Palace of Curiosities, Eve the main character is lion woman, elaborately covered with hair. There are some beautiful descriptions of her hair too, if my kindle hadn’t died I’d share one with you.

And people in general have long relationships with hair right? Whether you are worried you will go bald early or are obsessed by perfectly smooth arms. I’ve written a really silly fairytale inspired by the Blank Media Equals exhibition piece by Marlene Haring.

Rapunzel and Goldilocks just got married. They redecorated their home with the shorn locks of Goldilock’s teens and twenties. She wove it into the furniture of their house. Every time you sat down the salty breath of her hair embraced you, diffused into your nostrils and tangled around your nails. The late afternoon sun warmed the chairs till they were radiant with heat. The burden of Rapunzel’s hair was borne by the bed. The huge silken plait wound around the bed posts and layered the quilt. When you press your face to it you smell dried lavender and musty hay.

Goldilocks dyes her hair red and gets a crew cut. She changes the name on her passport to Redwing and makes transatlantic flights in her new job as a Geologist. Rapunzel works as a hairdresser on weekends and teaches karate part time. Redwing and Rapunzel make up stories together about the way people live and sometimes they people watch for fun and design each other’s thoughts. Redwing brings strange rocks home and they arrange them on top of their hair coated mantle piece. They make love on hair coated rugs and bristle in the baking heat of the garden where wooden chimes swing on the end of long, honey coloured strands. Everything tastes of sawdust and sugar and when they bake gingerbread they eat it straight away without pausing for breath or for it to cool. They kiss with tongues hot from oven baked sweetness and teeth sticky and drain each other of all the sun they have inherited. The door swings to with the hush of a pair of scissors slicing through a wolf’s tender stomach.


2 thoughts on “Story: Hair

  1. Hair is such an incredibly important thing to a human being- it so affects your psychology. . My hair is actually really curly and when I was younger I kept it really long and when things got tough I ended up almost hiding behind it- a bit like a mask. When things got better, I was determined never to hide again, so I had it all chopped off, and I’ve had it short ever since. the best thing I’ve ever done. Thanks Becca for the post and for making me think about this again, .

    • I love your release from your hair story! There was a tradition once that when a woman’s husband died she cut her hair off out of grief, and I love the way women now do it as a release from the connotations of restricted vision and shield. Thank you for sharing that I’m glad you liked the post :D.

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