who can concentrate with hair touching their shoulders?
- December 12, 2019
- William Lewis
Got a rubber band mark on your wrist? Welcome to the club, says Caroline O’Donoghue.
Last week, I had lunch with a friend. The friend works in comedy, and for that reason, found herself eating dinner with Tina Fey. Well, near Tina Fey. Eating near Tina Fey is enough for me to lose my mind, and I’m full of questions: imagine, the Grand Dame of Modern Comedy, in the same restaurant as you. What was she like? Was she nice, funny, bitchy, austere? My friend didn’t have enough face time with Fey to find out, but grinned when she told me the following.
“When her spaghetti came,” she says, savouring every word. “She tied her hair up to eat.”
“Yes,” I said, relief and joy flooding my synapses. “Yes. Of course she did. Oh, man. Tina.”
“Tina,” she responded. We then have the conversation that I’ve had so many times with other friends: how, if you want to know if a woman is basically cool, watch what she does with her hair when her food comes.
The next day, I’m scrolling through my Twitter Feed and find Elisabeth Moss on the cover of a magazine with a ring around her wrist – the unmistakable indentation of a spare hair bobble (or “hair tie”, “hair bobbin”, whatever you choose to call it) left on too long. The tweet, sent by @RhiannonEv, has over 200 retweets, and the women commenting are clearly as delighted as I was the point at which I discovered Tina Fey binds her hair to eat spaghetti. “Love her,” says one lady. “This makes me love her considerably more,” says another.
There have been hundreds, thousands of words dedicated to what it “means” when a person takes off their wedding ring. Fiction has lots of fun with dodgy metaphors about the pale skin underneath a golden band, and I feel as though I’ve seen more photographs of Ben Affleck’s ring finger in the last two years than I have of Jennifer Garner ever. By comparison, the mark of the hair bobble has not garnered nearly enough attention.
I have never seen Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman hold up a female cadaver’s wrist and check it for hair bobble marks, which is funny, because it tells you everything you need to know about a woman. A nice handbag or a good pair of shoes can tell you what she does, but a couple of deep hair bobble furrows in her wrist will tell you who she is.
She is someone who needs to focus, and twisting her hair into an elastic band is the ritual she needs to achieve that focus.
She is someone who eats quickly, who does things quickly, and has places to be. She does not need tiny pieces of hair falling into her face while she tries to eat a burrito.
On particularly stressful days, she buys a new packet of brown hair slides to deal with the annoying back-of-your-neck-hair that keeps falling out of her ponytail.
She knows she should twirl her tagliatelle into her spoon to avoid dripping carbonara sauce on herself, but she doesn’t do it, because who the hell has the time to eat pasta like that.
If you see a female scientist in a film who has her hair smoothly falling down her back while she examines DNA samples, you can be absolutely sure that this film will not pass the Bechdel test. Nobody can concentrate and have their hair touching their shoulders at the same time, and if you can, then I’m sorry, but you’re a monster equivalent and I can’t relate to you at all. You are Ursula the Sea Witch when she steals Ariel’s voice and becomes Vanessa. Sorry.
Do you know that Cake song, the one that goes “I want a girl with a short skirt and a long, long jacket”? I want a girl with a short skirt and three, maybe four hair bobbles on her wrist.
“Relatable” is a word that gets bandied about a lot in the media, which is funny when you think about how, 50 years ago, relatable was the last thing a celebrity wanted to be. Being an actress was about being Venus, Oprah and the Virgin Mary all at the same time. It was Elizabeth Taylor’s diamonds, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s lovers, Josephine Baker’s cheetahs, Greta Garbo’s cool distance. To be relatable was to be like everyone else, and why would the public pay to go see themselves on screen?
Somewhere along the line, divas gave way to sexy girl-next-door Goldie Hawns, and somewhere else along the line, we were sold the idea that Jennifer Lawrence is just an everyday geezer who stumbled her way to an Oscar and three Golden Globes. And while this new era of the “relatable” star might not always be entirely truthful, I’m here for it. I’m here for Elisabeth Moss’s wrist and Tina Fey’s spaghetti eating. Welcome to the era of hair-bobble visibility. Long may it last.