“Gorgeous hair is the best revenge,” said Ivana Trump, she of the platinum blonde, sky-high hair. Hair as tool of revenge, as obsession, as embarrassment, as source of pride: Why does a long string of protein absorb so much of our attention?
In Me, My Hair, and I, authors including Anne Lamott, Adriana Trigiani, Jane Smiley and Hallie Ephron explore women’s unique relationships with their hair. As Elizabeth Benedict, who edits this glowing collection of essays, writes in the introduction, “Hair matters because it’s always around, framing our faces, growing in, falling out, getting frizzy, changing colors—in short, demanding our attention: Comb me! Wash me! Relax me! Color me! It’s always there, conveying messages about who we are and what we want. Invite me to the prom! Love me! Hire me! Sleep with me! Don’t even think about sleeping with me! Take me seriously! Marry me! Mistake me—please!—for a much younger woman.”
The essays range from poignant—Suleika Jaouad writes about losing her hair to chemo at age 22—to hilarious—Alex Kuczynski explores trends in pubic hairstyling. All of them are illuminating, revealing that for women, hair is inextricably linked to identity, a visual cue to who they are and what matters to them.
“I wanted so badly to be someone I wasn’t, wanted so badly to find a way to be comfortable in my skin,” writes novelist Jane Green in an essay that chronicles how her hair has changed to mirror her life circumstances over the years. “Hair was simply the easiest thing to change, the most obvious aspect of my appearance to alter.”
Thought-provoking and insightful, Me, My Hair, and I is a must-read for anyone who has ever dealt with frizz, gray hair, mothers insisting we get a haircut, fathers insisting we not, hair envy or hair disasters. In short, all of us.