Posted by: littlehouseonthebigisland | December 20, 2013

Helmet Head

I’m wearing a head scarf today.  And I wore one yesterday when the rabbi came to the farm to visit. When I wash my hair, I’m lucky if I get one day to wear it down, with nothing holding it back. I build my wardrobe around my hair.  Like stripes when it’s clean, before it becomes helmet head.

Two years ago a couple from Virginia ‘woofed*’ with us over Christmas.  They were managers of an organic farm there, looking for an inexpensive way to stay in Hawaii during the holidays.  They were super strong and knew how to do everything without hardly any instruction.  About a week into their stay, Stacy appeared one day without a scarf, a headband, a hat, her hair tied back, or some combination thereof. I almost didn’t recognize her.  Even when we are done working, those of us with longer hair tend to keep it up or braided or with some way to pull it away from the neck and face.

That’s because once you’re on ‘hair lockdown,’ there’s no going back.  Especially after middle age sets in. Hair behaves differently as we get older.  It gets thiner and moves in the most unbecoming way.  It gets stringy and pasted down (or up) once I bind it and start sweating profusely.  If I leave it down, it’s boiling hot with little wisps tickling and tangling and getting in my eyes.  Every few minutes I’m sweeping it back, only to have it fall forward.  If I am stuck in thick folliage with the sun lazar-beaming into my eyes, it’s the last straw.

So I tie it up, put on a headband, and cover it with a hat to work outside, and then take off the hat when I come back in.  And I don’t braid it, because if I have to go out, I want to be able to brush it and put on  a pretty scarf.  Which is why, whenI saw Stacy’s hair down, I had to laugh, she looked so different, and because as farmers we both knew about helmet head.

* a term that means workers on organic farms.

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