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Hair today, but still here tomorrow – Lockdown Life 2020

Covid-19 is an appropriate moniker for an affliction warranting that number of daily handwashes. I swear my digits are now twenty years older than the rest of my body, no matter how much cream is slapped on.

This represents a personal, diametrically opposed, DNA trend.

“Look after your hands and the rest will look after themselves,” was Nanna’s lifelong nugget. Corroborating her case, she passed on, aged 93, with beautiful hands, even the nails were long and red.


Lockdown life has afforded many the opportunity of catching up with home-based tasks, offering a lack of outside interference and critical daily barometers by which most of us measure ourselves.

However, as the lid slides from our hermetically-sealed world, are we fit to re-enter civilisation or will we crawl, like Neanderthals from our den, muttering pathetically about the lack of home grooming?

Working at The Times in 1999, I, like the rest of the world, stared in rapt fascination when Julia Roberts waved from the red carpet with, gasp, hairy armpits!

What a shocker; ladies aren’t naturally bald ‘down there?!’

Endless column inches rapidly debated this spectacular home-goal. From Cape Cod to Canberra, girls inwardly smirked at having scored against this, apparently, not so Pretty Woman.

But an excuse to ditch personal standards is now sweeping the nation, with Corporate giant Unilever reporting a slump in toiletry sales.

Guilty as charged. I have a subscription deodorant service: ‘Madam, we are delighted that your subsequent three refills are due for dispatch’. What?? I’m nowhere near ready for the next batch.

Depilatory discussion has also been much in the news. As week seven of our quarantine is reached, it’s not just tempers that are beginning to fray at the edges.

Of course, we were all aggrieved to hear Dominic Raab tell us that our local hostelry might be out of bounds until July, possibly longer. But no trips to the hairdresser either? That was the real clincher. 100 million hands rose in horror.

Over Christmas, we visited Bavaria, home to the world-famous, once-a-decade Passion Play. Performers in the summer-long extravaganza have to be local - very local - required to have lived in the host village of Oberammergau for a minimum twenty years.

Qualifying for this demanding employer and assuming a variety of age-appropriate roles throughout his fifty-odd years, our coach driver was growing his hair for the summer show’s authentically biblical look.

“I started a year ago,” he told us, “Everyone does it.”

Apparently, things get a bit uncomfortable when hair reaches your collar, but after that it, just feels normal.

Slightly gobsmacked at this dedication to his art, I overlooked asking what the local hairdresser did every decade when the entire mountain-top clientele opt out of their services. Furloughed perhaps?

Referencing this trend, a Pitlochry friend tells me she’s broken her specs and can’t, therefore, attempt underarm surgery: “I’m going caveman”.

Only around seventy years ago – when hemlines and sleeves began to shrink – did ladies start to attack their personal undergrowth. Like the blossoming motorway verges currently thriving in the new cut-free environment, perhaps there is an argument for a little less stress over personal vegetation.

Previously scheduled for May 2020, I note that the Passion Play has been delayed until 2022.

Do you think those beards will be in rehearsal for a further two years?

Mairi Fraser 13.05.2020

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