Thursday, 22 September 2011

Considering Hair

The rather hypermasculine style of long hair for men, worn completely unbound - or 'naked hair', as Melina vividly calls it - is hardly ever worn for dancing, probably because of its impracticality if you're trying to dance with someone. It's far more common in specialised IT trades, and for scientists (see: Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists), engineers, and people who work in TV and radio studios. It tickles your partner's face, and they might blow in your ear.

Women tend to confine their hair at least in some sort of hairband or decorative headdress, men at least in a ponytail.

So, do I put my arm under, or over, the ponytail? Hair can be rather slippery, and I might accidentally pull it. But putting the arm underneath means excessive handling, which might be going a bit too far; and the whole process might have to be done again if we adjust our embrace during the dance. So I usually put my arm on top and let him worry about it, he can flip it out himself if he wants to. Or I put my hand lower, below the end.

The ponytail, to any length between shoulderblade and waist (depends on your genes), could - I think, wrongly - be perceived as the tango equivalent of the "Hair Explosion" affected by some holders of university professorships, perhaps to give an impression of genius, or perhaps to help their students remember who they are, or perhaps because to them it is the epitome of normal.

In my view, the true tango equivalent of the Hair Explosion is not the ponytail, but the Latin Mullet. I have never forgotten a deep-black and exceedingly glossy Latin Mullet that I encountered early in my tango career - I wouldn't have laughed at all if he hadn't also chosen deep-black patent leather shoes with a precisely equal gloss.

If people are not too flustered or absentminded, they sometimes flip it forward over the shoulder to keep it out of the way, as part of their routine going into the embrace. I think that's sweet, I really like it, and I try to remember to do it on the few occasions I dance with my hair down. Lifting it up so I can put my arm underneath is perhaps just a bit flirtatious ... but as long as you're going to maintain the embrace, I don't have a problem with it.

14 comments:

Ghost said...

In my experience, long-hair on guys simply means they're laid-back, exceptionally good at something, and cherish their freedom.

Some of them just happen to like tango :o)

Terpsichoral said...

Sorry to post this here, but comments for the appropriate post have been closed. And I wanted to let you know that I have linked to your post "Follower influence" on my Facebook. You'll find me under Terpsichoral Tangoaddict, if you are interested, and can see any comments that my readers make there.

msHedgehog said...

@Ghost - out of the four who immediately come to mind, I think I'd describe possibly one as 'laid-back' or at least wishing to appear so ;)

@Terps - no problem.

Ghost said...

He of the internalised puppy is remarkably laid back, as long as there's nothing around to stress / over-excite him :) As opposed to those people who remain stressed regardless.

;)

Elizabeth said...

http://youtu.be/LyC1Wnv-Q9g
For Brigitta Winkler. We studied with her earlier this year in Maui. She always lifts up her long hair at the initial embrace. It is a signature move on her part, but very elegant and polite I think.
My hair is quite long now, and I almost never dance with it down, but if it is, I adopt "The Brigitta". Guys could too??
E

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic. But not really a problem. If I don't want to dance with a guy because of his hair, I don't dance with him.
I'd like to see more comments of guys as it is usually the girls who have long hair - and some of them also dare to wear it down... Rumour has it that some guys actually like this. ;) At least they also have a choice.

Ghost said...

@Anonymous

I don't quite understand. If I'm leading then my arm / hand is going to be about bra strap height on the woman, so hair shorter than this is a non-issue (which would be considered long by most).

In my experience any woman with hair longer than this who wears it down has figured out the optimum way to solve the problem, usually by just lifting it up at the beginning.

I like long hair worn down, but that's just an aesthetic choice that pre-dates my doing tango.

msHedgehog said...

@Elizabeth - if I wear mine down I feel it as a bit of a nuisance to me, more than my partner, for the same reasons - it's uncomfortable and distracting if it gets pulled in the embrace. So I do the same as you, I usually wear it up, but if not, I flip it.

I think people with heavy, glossy hair can just put it somewhere and it's okay. But mine is fine and flyaway and makes a beeline for eyes and noses, so I try to be considerate!

Anonymous said...

Long hair is fine on either leader or follower in my opinion, It's unleashed Hyper frizzy hair that causes me the most grief. As a follower you can shut your eyes, but are endlessly tickled by someone else big barnet, or as a leader you have to negotiate through a haze or hair.. is it acceptable to make a small hole to look through?

msHedgehog said...

@last Anon - hahaha - yes I like long hair on both men and women - but it is tickly! part of the fun in some situations, not necessarily this one. I have at least once resorted to blowing, then they pin it back themselves ;)

Melina Sedo said...

I called it "naked hair"? Really? Sounds good, but I can't remember...
Wow... Alzheimer's kicking in...

And what can I say: I don't like long hair for men. One day, I'm gonna take a pair of scissors... in the night... and then: bye bye ponytail, Mr. D.!

;-))

msHedgehog said...

@Melina - yes, you did, but on Facebook, when I wondered if hair-down meant "I'm too stressed and not ready to dance yet". You said no ...

Ghost said...

An interesting piece of psychology - if a woman with long hair wears it forward over her shoulder, it trips part of my brain into remembering to do the same. She doesn't have to visibly put it there. The visual cue of it being there seems to be enough.

Plain Jane said...

Long hair means guys are laid-back, good at something, and cherish their freedom?
Or want to look as if they are. Or are compensating at the ends for what they're losing on top.