Monday, September 19, 2011

Apropos of nothing

It feels kind of silly to be putting this up after the previous entry. But I also feel like I want to move that entry down--a kind of spatial way of noting that life goes on, as awkward as that feels. (But that's part of mourning, too, right?) So here goes.

The other day I was thinking about chickens. Specifically, about rooster feathers. You see, early this past summer, I saw two young women on campus who had a distinctly non-central-Ohio look to them. They looked like they were from New York: chic, edgy, daring. And they had something in their hair, little wisps of something that looked kind of stripey. I found out through some sleuthing that it was FEATHERS. And immediately I wanted some.

(Apparently the popularity of these things is causing the sport fishing industry a lot of anxiety: they have been used for fly fishing, and now that people are wearing them in their hair, the price has skyrocketed...)

As we traveled east in June, I spotted some of these accessories at the beach, but I kind of hesitated getting them (there was a line of young women in front of me, and I didn't feel like waiting). And then as we traveled west in July and stopped by a big mall in Minneapolis (the big famous one), I looked for these feather things, but didn't find any I liked.

Now they have them in our little town (at the bead shop)! Wonder of wonders. So why am I not down there right now getting some put in my hair?

First of all, I have to figure out how to tell the difference between *real* feathers and the synthetic ones, and the synthetic ones are what I want. (Apparently roosters are killed just to harvest these feathers... This seems silly and wasteful; I'd rather have the cruelty-free option.)

And then there's the other part: I'm feeling a bit self-conscious. You see, some of my students are now sporting the feathers-in-hair fashion. (It has finally made it to central Ohio.) And the LAST thing I want is for my students to think I am trying to be like them, or fool someone into thinking I'm younger than I am, or that I am trying somehow to act like a kid.

I rather enjoy life as an adult. I just want to wear feathers in my hair because I like the way it looks.

Which makes me then think of this woman I see on History Detectives (on PBS), Gwen Wright. She is probably about 60, and an academic in addition to being a tv history detective (of course), and she is SO COOL. She has this punky hairdo, and brightly-colored glasses frames, and she wears knee-length skirts and Doc-Marten-type shoes sometimes, and her jewelry is always interesting, and she never forgets her lipstick. And of course she is smart as heck. She is just so fabulous. (Here's her web site; go check her out!) I hope I can be like her. Instead of worrying about aging gracefully, I want to think about aging fearlessly. Actually, maybe I want to do both.

So then I realized, as I was thinking about this, that I'd gone from chickens to hairdos to aging. Brains are wonderfully strange sometimes, eh?

Hope you have a wonderfully strange day!


P.S. Here's a NYT article in which someone in fashion says he can take seriously a woman at a business meeting wearing feathers (if it's done subtly, not a la Stephen Tyler). Good to know.

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