Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hair-Raising Thoughts

The story of Rapunzel is one of the classic fairy tales: a beautiful young woman is imprisoned in a tower by an evil witch (no, not Michelle Bachmann), and the only way to reach her (since the tower has no door) is to call "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair/that I may climb the golden stair!" Rapunzel backs up to the window and lowers her tremendously long hair, which the standard handsome prince is able to climb.

The rest of the story depends upon whether you are reading the adult or the children's version, if you get my drift.

I hadn't thought about the story of Rapunzel for a long time (other than in the context of the wonderful animated film Tangled) until I saw this online article the other day: Rapunzel Number Helps Scientists Quantify Ponytails.

It seems that there is a particular number - the Rapunzel Number - which provides a key ratio needed to calculate the effect of gravity on hair relative to its length, determining whether the ponytail looks like a fan ...

or whether it arcs over and becomes nearly vertical at the bottom ...

This is a generally a matter of interest only to a limited audience. According to the article, scientists say the Rapunzel number and related studies of hair "(have) implications for understanding the structure of materials made up of random fibres, such as wool and fur and will have resonance with the computer graphics and animation industry, where the representation of hair has been a challenging problem."

Hmmm ... and here I thought long hair was just an attractive feature of some ladies.

It can be dangerous, too. Until you've danced a fast swing with a lady with a long pony tail or braid and had that hair smack you in the face at high speed as the lady spins, you don't know just how dangerous.

But not all ladies choose to wear their hair long. And for those who choose to wear it short, there are a few "fightin' words" we observers should avoid. According to this article, here are seven things you should never, ever say to a woman with short hair (with my helpful translation of what the lady hears when you make the mistake of saying them):

1. "May I help you, sir?" What the lady hears: "I'm an inobservant twit."

2. "It totally reminds me of Sandy Duncan in Peter Pan." What the lady hears: "You look like a 1970's fairy."

3. "Did you just give up when you had the baby?" What the lady hears: "Please rip my head off and beat me to death with it."

4. "I loved you back when you had long hair." What the lady hears: "I only loved you for your hair."

5. "Don't worry - it'll grow back." What the lady hears: "You spent $150 on that?"

6. "You look so much better with short hair." What the lady hears: "You were ugly before."

7. "Your short hair makes you look thinner." What the lady hears: "You're fat."

Hair, long or short, has been described as a woman's crowning glory. Just tell her she looks beautiful and no one will get hurt.

And I don't think that "Hey, baby, I'll bet you've got a great Rapunzel number!" will ever be a good pick-up line at the club on a Saturday night.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

Good advice for commenting on a woman's hair. Don't say any of those.

At least the focus is on her hair.

Fan or vertical; what do guys prefer?

Duckbutt said...

An interesting concept and application.

Mike said...

I'm going to review all the numbers and get back to you on my favorite.

Amanda said...

Ha! Ha! I've got one of those whippy ponytails. It even gets my own face!