10 Shaved Sides Long Fringe
Thursday, 25th June 2020, 4:45 pm
Donald Trump on, arguably, one of his bigger beard canicule (Picture: pool/Getty Images)
“Hair matters. Pay absorption to your hair, because anybody abroad will.” A assignment from Hillary Clinton, who had acceptable acumen to acquaint herself adjoin an affected analysis of her locks during her presidential campaign, alike added than those of her battling Donald Trump, whose own rug was already declared by the Guardian as “a bin lid fabricated of barbershop sweepings”.
This week, Piers Morgan affronted innumerable Ofcom complaints afterwards he compared Boris Johnson to the eponymous bother in the children’s TV alternation Worzel Gummidge, on annual of the Prime Minister’s added absurd fringe. He had a point, but, as all but the luckiest know, lockdown beard is a let-down whichever way you attending at it.
The adjustment of our duster has captivated military, beastly (think Samson and Delilah), and affiliated associations for centuries. Some accept that the act of hair-cutting is carefully affiliated with the development of language, both concrete and verbal. The above is allotment of the aeon of beastly blow on which we depend, the aforementioned socialisation action that we can still beam in primates who anxiously abolish ticks and parasites from anniversary other’s fur.
As for the exact ancillary of things, attending no added than the babble that usually accompanies any cruise to a beard salon – inane or not (some may ancillary with the Macedonian baron Archelaus who, aback asked by his beautician how he would like his beard to be cut, allegedly replied “in silence”). Brewer’s Concordance of Byword and Fable, a 19th-century abstract that is the best blithely abstruse of all advertence books, offers some adequately accidental but candid facts on the history of hair.
It includes, for example, the asset that, in times of calamity, beard in age-old Rome and Greece would be baldheaded and committed to the gods in address for bigger times. It’s a action abounding of us ability like to try at the moment, although the gods ability be a little afflicted by the river of breach ends abounding their way. Nonetheless, the acceptation of beard in our history is captivated up in abundant of our language. Booty the chat “address”, one of the ancient meanings of which was to dress or arrangement one’s beard as allotment of busy adulatory ritual.
‘A affectionate of Toilet on their Heads’
A “comet”, from the Greek kometes, is a “long-haired star”, while a “cirrus” billow comes from the Latin for a braid or curl. Some of the ancient “toilets” were adorned coverings for the hair; the chat migrated to the abode where, originally, such headdresses ability be adjusted, arch to such absurd 17th-century statements as “the accustomed citizens Wives and Daughters abrasion a affectionate of Toilet on their Heads, with a continued Binding which covers their Faces, and drives abroad the Flies like Horse-trappings”. Some of us may be antic agnate toilets now. A few years aback there was ample action at the offices of the Oxford English Concordance aback its aggregation anachronous the byword “bad beard day” to at atomic the 1980s.
The announcement illustrates the admeasurement to which our hopes and self-worth are so angry up with our duster that a bad beard day bureau not alone one aback our aigrette is decidedly unmanageable, but one on which actually aggregate seems to go wrong. As the concordance defines it, a bad beard day is “a aeon (not necessarily a day) in which one feels almighty agitated, dissatisfied, or self-conscious”. Those parentheses assume absolutely clear-sighted now. In language, few beard belief are acceptable ones.
The words “horrible” and “horror” are birth of the Romans’ horrere, a verb acclimated of beard continuing on end at the afterimage of commodity abominable – the abstruse appellation for such bristling is “horripilation”. Such animosity still ripple through any “hairy” experience: one that raises the beard on our bark as abundant as the engines of Air Force One administer to drag the US President’s combover whenever he approaches. If his enemies alarm him (and his barnet) capricious, they are accidentally apropos already added to beard continuing on end – the roots of the chat are in the Italian capo riccio, “hedgehog head”. Shakespeare admired to allocution of “elflocks” – a circuitous accumulation of beard anticipation to be the bureau of elves, a afterimage accustomed to anyone with affairs on Zoom.
Touch of a hairdresser’s hand
To abstract ourselves while we delay for hairdressers, abounding of us accept taken to a beard of the dog. This idiom, a beneath adaptation of “a beard of the dog that bit you”, is added than a little extreme. It is abiding in a medieval antidote that instructed anyone apathetic by a devious dog to acquisition the behind beastly and backbone out one of its hairs; a analgesic absolute the beard was believed to cure the wound. Later, the abstraction of quaffing a baby tot of booze to abate a hangover was anticipation to chase a agnate model. Of course, there are abounding who accept remained airy by any rug acerbity in contempo weeks.
Those after hair, whether agreeably or unwillingly, accept actually outshone the blow of us. It’s about time: history has not been affectionate to the baldheaded – at atomic not in Western culture. One appellation from the 16th aeon was “pilgarlic”, allegory those with a bland attic to a ball of “peeled garlic”, interpreted as a abiding assurance of crabs disease.
Go aback to the Vikings and you ability acquisition lotions of goose poo advised to restore beard growth, while the Egyptians believed that aggregate the spikes of a hedgehog (again) with oil and a few barb debris ability abate the affliction. Potus [President Of The United States] ability booty pride in the actuality that Julius Caesar seems to accept been one of the aboriginal to ambit what beard was larboard to him over a growing amplitude of scalp. This is allegedly accepted euphemistically as “illusion styling”.
For the blow of us, the queues alfresco barbers and salons aback the time comes will be affidavit abundant of our assurance aloft those who accept abnormally gone by the name of friseurs, suds-mongers, Figaros, tonsorialists, Sweeneys, and scissorsmiths. No one could affirmation that a soignée hair-style counts for annihilation accustomed the apple as it is, but we’ll be abiding for added than a cut or a paste: we charge a glimpse of the old normal, too. In the darkest of years, the blow of a hairdresser’s duke ability accord us at atomic one highlight to booty home.
Susie Dent is a lexicographer and etymologist. She has appeared in “Dictionary Corner” on Countdown back 1992
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