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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Saturday, July 15, 2006

And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair...

These days, when instantaneous gratification of material desires is widely considered to be a basic human right, and when insistence on not purchasing a specific item until one has saved up sufficient funds to buy it outright is regarded as a quaint and eccentric (but wholly unnecessary) practice, Lady Bracknell ought not to be surprised that young women who desire long hair exhibit insufficient patience to grow their own, and much prefer the costly expedient of something called, "extensions".

Quite why anyone would labour under the delusion that short hair plus extensions in any way resembles naturally long hair is beyond Lady Bracknell. On every occasion when she has been within viewing distance of a young woman with hair extensions herself, the difference in appearance between the young woman's own hair and whatever substance has been knotted into it has been very marked indeed.

"Celebrity" hairdressers will, of course, argue that their own work is of such a high standard of professionalism that the casual observer really cannot "see the join", and that we are surrounded by young women who have chosen their stylist with such care (and dedication to paying the highest possible prices) that their artificially lengthened locks are completely indistinguishable from the real thing.

Be that as it may*, Lady Bracknell remains vaguely nauseated by the prospect of having somebody else's hair welded onto her own. She is not in the habit of running her fingers through other ladies' hair, and would most assuredly have no inclination to do so in circumstances when it had been attached to her own head. Call Lady Bracknell old-fashioned, but she cannot see the difference between using other people’s fingernail clippings to create glamorous talons for oneself and using other people’s discarded hair to supplement one’s own crowning glory.

Issues of personal squeamishness and distaste aside, however, young women intent on purchasing extensions fashioned from human hair would do well to ask themselves whether the human hair in question has actually been voluntarily donated. If their consciences will allow them to contribute to a trade which results in women in third world countries having their hair forcibly hacked off, then Lady Bracknell would venture to suggest their internal moral compasses need to be significantly recalibrated.

*Afficionados of grammatical trivia may be interested to know that, “Be that as it may” and, “Long live the king/queen!” are believed to be the only two examples of the subjunctive mood in the English language.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam Smith, I believe, observed that "The rich are the pensioners of the poor." Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

(I always supposed hair extensions were nylon, or some such. Yuck.)

2:53 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

The Goldfish did consider selling her own hair when she cut it from a length she could sit one to a length above the shoulders. The Goldfish has a great deal of hair, and it weighed several pounds. However, at the time she could not find anywhere within the UK to sell it - seems that hair for wigs and hair extensions all come from Eastern Europe and Asia.

Since her gentleman-friend is afflicted with baldness, she volunteered to weave her hair into a wig to keep his head warm in the winter. Following his refusal, she though to use it to weave a tea-cosy, but was informed that this would be "a bit gross."

5:57 pm  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I was under the impression, perhaps mistaken, that "Would that it were so," is another example of the endangered subjunctive in English. Not often heard in the wild, though.

10:16 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell stands corrected, and is ashamed to admit that she relied on anecdotal evidence rather than conducting rigorous research.

12:09 am  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Had I but time and space, and were I to have the temerity to disagree with her Ladyship, I might suggest that the subjunctive is far more common in modern English, especially written and oratorical English, than is commonly recognised.

Let it not be said that I shrink from confrontation!

PS I have read, I don't know if it is true, that at one time poor mothers used to pluck out their own long hairs to weave into knitted garments for their children as a strengthening measure.

9:49 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

A friend of mine grows her hair long and donates it every few years to a charity that makes wigs for children having chemotherapy.

If The Goldfish is strange enough to still have a bag of her hair lying around, she could send it by post to Locks of Love. Link:

1:10 pm  
Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

One was aware of the onset of a certain tendresse as one read the first few paragraphs.

With the last paragraph, however, one has fallen quite deeply in love with Lady Bracknell. A purist of the tongue and fallible too - what more could one ask for!


2:21 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Mr Prufrock is most kind.

Here, to compound Lady Bracknell's shame, is an intriguing list of examples of the subjunctive mood in English.

2:39 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Thank you for that interesting link, Lady Bracknell. I was much struck by the fact that one of the examples quoted fell from the mellifluous lips of President George Dubya Bush.

I don't quite know what that says about the prevalence of the subjunctive in modern English, except that I wonder if the great man knew what mood he was employing?

cf M. Jourdain discovering that he talked prose?

3:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alas, I cannot now recall where or even quite when I saw it (sometime within the past few years, possibly in an article in the Washington Post or possibly somewhere else), but I swear, I once saw a newspaper article about some barbershop that collected all the hair clippings they gathered from people who got hair cuts. They then spun all these little bits of human hair into thread and used the thread to make things, I think like sweaters and so forth (would that be "jumpers" in British English?). Apparently the end product has a feel and texture sort of similar to wool products. Yes, I'm actually *NOT* making this up!


11:53 pm  

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