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The Skinny By Elaine Langlois

Your Hair...Yourself

Are you tired of seeing doctors with symptoms of what later turns out to be an ulcer, Lyme disease, or a heart attack, only to be told, "It's all in your head"? In fact, it turns out they were right. Studies confirm that the source of many common medical problems facing women, from pinkeye to thyroid disorders to issues of self-esteem, is hair.

"Hair consists mostly of keratin," explained neurobiologist Lance Follicle, Ph.D., director of one study. "Like other proteins, keratin is composed of amino acids joined in polypeptide chains. Chemical imbalances in these amino acids-broken and misshapen links in the chains-cause many of the medical conditions women complain of."

When asked whether scientists could repair the chemical imbalances, Follicle replied, "We probably could, but why bother? It's not like it affects anything important, like women's ability to give us sex."

The Hair Connection

"Who among us can doubt that this current research is correct?" says Nancy d'Tanglio, author of The Frizz Factor. "When your hair comes out just right, it puts you in a cheerful mood. You exude self-confidence. When you style and style and end up with bad hair, it sets the tone for what will inevitably be a rotten day.

"Hair is a standard by which we judge others as well as ourselves," d'Tanglio continued. "When we see another woman, we look first at how fat she is compared to us, next at her clothes-and then at her hair. Well-managed hair betokens a well-managed life!"

Clip art © Microsoft Corporation

Maybe your hair's been damaged-by elastics, aggressive toweling, or blow drying. Your ends are split or breaking-and so are you and your man. The stress of constantly trying to style the back of your hair is driving you over the edge. Things can't get much worse!

Migraines, tension
Winding rollers too tight
Clashing hair and eyebrows
Snarly attitude
Snarly hair
Trapped in unhappy life situations


Feeling dull and flat

Cure Thyself

You already know that doctors are not interested in your medical condition unless you are pregnant, unable to get pregnant, or a man. Self-help is the key to developing a vigorous, shiny mane that can bring you physical health, an abiding sense of well being, and plenty of dates.

Think big. Though not to be drunk in large quantities, a little tot of volumizing tonic here and there can help you shed those blues and make you feel genial, expansive, and bigger than your so-called problems. May cause you to overeat, spend lavishly, and swagger down streets singing Broadway tunes at the top of your lungs.

Be sure to save a little for your locks; then tease 'em high! We don't know a man who isn't turned on by big, trampy hair.

Live in a cloud. You probably know that too much hairspray can weigh your hair down, not to mention creating a fire hazard. But did you know it has the same effect on your emotions?

Go lightly instead. Spray a cloud of hairspray and walk through it. Spend a little time in there, inhaling the solvent. Soon-—if you don't asphyxiate yourself— you'll be in a calm, dreamlike state. Perhaps you're back at the beauty parlor with Mom, relaxing amid the harsh yet comforting reek of perms, the haze of cigarette smoke, the low chatter of malicious gossip. Reprise the gentle, enveloping warmth of the big hair dryers by turning up the furnace, bashing open a heating duct, and sticking your head inside.

Tend to your roots. You have to know where you come from before you can know where you're going. Put in a root cellar. Fill it with carrots, turnips, parsnips, and potatoes. Do some scrapbooking. Pore over your teenage diaries, and have a good laugh at your pathetic adolescent problems. Find that lock of baby hair. Marvel at the color it used to be. Apply a root lifter before blow drying.

Look to your ends. Once you know where you've been, you can think about where you're going. To finance those dreams, make a plan that involves living off other people or at least preying on their weaknesses and anxieties. Take things one step at a time. Get those split ends trimmed, or apply a shea butter pomade or superglue to them.

The next time you're feeling as dull and flat as your hair, or suffer from an ingrown toenail or PMS, don't dial your therapist or doctor. Call your stylist instead!

©2005 Elaine Langlois