Admit it – you’re guilty of chuckling once or twice at a woman (or a man) whose wig is less than attractive. But to you, it’s nothing more than an unkempt hair piece. However, before you move on to the next humorous sighting of the day, what do you know about wigs, other than what you’ve been taught to believe? If you know nothing about it, let me school you a little bit. You’re probably asking yourself what it is I could possibly know about wigs. The answer is simple. Hottywood Helps for a damn reason so you’d be surprised at some of the things I know. I’ve seen a lot in my walk of life and I’ve met a lot of people – good and bad – with good and bad hair to match! Now sit down, shut the hell up and listen for a spell. You just might learn something.
First of all let’s begin by learning what a wig is. A wig is a head of hair made from a variety of sources. Contrary to popular belief, wigs don’t just come from horses. I know…I said the same thing. Wigs also are made from human hair, buffalo hair, wool, feathers, and other synthetic materials. Believe it or not though, the industry choice of a wig’s source is yak hair! I love that word, “yak.” Yak hair is not only inexpensive but it’s also the closest in consistency and appearance to human hair. Tell that to Bomquisha the next time she wears her rat fur wig on her next cigarette run to the corner store.
The word wig is short for periwig and first appeared in the English language some time around 1675. That’s a little before everyone’s time, except the mean old nun who always ducks behind the bush when she sees me coming. I don’t know what that’s all about but we’ll save that for another story.
Though most people wear wigs to cover up the fact they are bald as hell or are just too damn lazy to get up and do something creative, or even simple for that matter, to their hair, actors wear them to better portray characters on film. So it’s also a prop; a money maker; a way to be someone else. An essential for people with split personalities. Uh oh. This has the potential to take a turn for the worst.
Side note: Watch how many lazy people are going to use this excuse to get away with not doing their hair.
Anyway, moving on. Wigs are essentially a Western form of dress. In the Far East, they are rarely worn except in the traditional theatre of China and Japan. The ancient Egyptians wore them to shield their shaved, hairless heads from the sun. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the fad of wigs kind of died off. I guess being bald was more popular and acceptable then, that is until the 16th century-fashionistas revived the trend, when going bald lost its appeal once again. I guess it’s true what they say: Fashion repeats itself just like a person with a small wardrobe does. But get this, and hold on to your britches: They also served a practical purpose: the unhygienic conditions of the time meant that hair attracted head lice, a problem that could be much reduced if natural hair were shaved and replaced with an artificial hair piece. Fur hoods were also used in a similar preventative fashion.
[Random Thought] I wonder what the case was in Alaska? Let me get Sarah Palin on the line! She’ll probably know more about this than she knew about running for Vice President, but you didn’t hear that from me.
With the inception of this wiggy trend, popular people embraced the style and really made it a royal sweep. We’re talking great celebrities who’ve made a mark on this world as we know it! NO, I’m not talking about Wendy Williams. I’m referring to celebrities who may have been just a tad bit more influential, like Queen Elizabeth I of England, Marie Antoinette, King Louis the XIII and King Louis XIV of France, who by the way introduced wig-wearing to men in the early 1600s. I bet you didn’t know that men found wigs to be intriguing too — even back then. In fact in the 18th century, men’s wigs were powdered in order to give them their distinctive white or off-white color. I guess you can say men came up with the first cheap way of dying their hair. Na na na boo boo ladies, you are copy cats! Women in the 18th century did not wear wigs, but wore a coiffure supplemented by artificial hair, or hair from other sources. So that was around the time when tracks, aka hair weaves, became popular, however we’ll save those details for another class session. Wigs even became an essential for full dress occasions and continued in use until almost the end of the 18th century.
Skipping ahead a few gazillion & 1 days and sailing our way over to the United States, only the first five Presidents since George Washington [until James Monroe] wore wigs. Of course, by the time wigs migrated over to American soil, they weren’t as popular as before. Key words here, “…not as popular…”
Today the shit is just out of control. From colorful afros to floor-length Cher hair, most commonly seen on the stages of drag-queen night clubs, people have taken the historic head piece too damn far. Now I’m not going to say that some people can’t get away with it. If you have the confidence, the know-how and the balls to pull it off, then do! Nothing speaks more volumes than that of individuality. Just know your limits. First and foremost, keep them up! If you insist on wearing a nappy wig, you might as well your show your natural roots. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pay money for an undone do! That’s just a simple DON’T. Follow the footsteps of the more modernized celebrity royalty like, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Donald Trump and once again Wendy Williams. Come on, you gotta give it up to Wendy, the wench can rock some wigs….Donald Trump, not so much.
To sum up all this blah blah about wigs…it’s more than just a fashion statement. It’s a part of history. A part of history that’s just as important to know as the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which was…um…um…well that’s not important right now. Hey, most of the dudes who signed the declaration wore wigs too. I’m not encouraging any men to go out and buy the first wig they see on a shelf, although many don’t need my encouragement for that. Half of them are doing it anyway. What I will say is if you’re going to wear it, have some substance behind your reason other than your kitchen beautician didn’t pay her electric bill. Absorbing a little knowledge – even about something you may believe isn’t all that important – isn’t very hard to do. All it takes is a little effort and 90% of any effort is getting started.
Quote of the week: “Always forgive your enemies, or not. Who cares?”