Hair, There, and Everywhere by Deb Tiffany

debauthorpicMaybe because I have the most non-descript kind of hair (dishwater and now shot with gray, straight-ish) the subject of my own hair completely bores me. Totally. There’s just not much to say. It’s on my head for the moment, it more or less looks okay and does what I tell it to, and I try to have the good sense to work with what the maker gave me.

Put me in a different setting, though, and I become a creature of mystery and allure! That’s what happened to me when I was traveling by train through China in the early 1980s. I’d step off the train into a village and instantly be surrounded by hordes of curious locals, gawping, pressing close, and, eventually reaching out to grab my hair. The same thing happened to me when I traveled in Southern Ethiopia, among tribal populations. My hair became a touching and talking point. It’s a weird feeling to go from being unremarkable and boring in a crowd to the freak-show of the hour, but I think it’s one everyone should have, especially a fiction writer.

In my current book, one of my heroines has red hair. The kind of red hair that invites sin and scandal. It’s her scarlet letter, in fact. I always wondered what it would be like to have hair. You know, the kind of hair that would figure first in a police description, or that you might plan an entire outfit around. I guess the closest I’m going to come to knowing that is to continue in my current line of work, or maybe another trip, say somewhere like the inner Amazon? Bon vivant!

5 Replies to “Hair, There, and Everywhere by Deb Tiffany”

  1. Katie, I had really short hair in my twenties, too, then I grew it out. Either way, I don’t like to fuss with it too much. Ever tried the wet washrag trick when your hair is sticking up? You just wet a washcloth, drape it on your head, brush your teeth, wash your face, and, voila, your hair behaves! And Eve, yes, let’s go! No hair dryers. Just lots of insect repellent, some good books, a few sarongs, and the thing I never leave home without: my sink plug.

  2. Wow–everyone travels such interesting places in this group. I remember taking my brother to see the redwoods (his hair was white blond at the time) and we were surrounded by Japanese tourists all wanting to take his picture. But a couple of weeks later, we were in Iowa and completely lost my brother at the pool amongst all the other towheads… it’s all context, I guess. But it’s fun to fantasize about a what if situation in our books…

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