Combing stories | Hair and intimacy: eroticism, filial love and sisterhood


“Our hair is a net capable of catching everything, it is strong like the roots of the ahuehuete and soft like the foam of the atole”.

From the poem I will braid my sadness by Paola Klug.

Hair is a window into a person’s intimacy. First, because it is physical and extremely personal, and second, because although it is personal, it is more public than private. Humans are hardwired to crave the touch of others, but coming into contact with someone’s hair or allowing them to touch ours establishes a special bond. “The scalp is a sacred space,” wrote Sable Yong in an article for repeller—. It is the thinnest veil between your innermost thoughts and the wild world.”

While hair does not contain nerve endings, hair follicles, found in the dermis, are surrounded by touch receptors. When someone touches our hair, they release oxytocin, the hormone responsible for creating or strengthening bonds of proximity and relationship. In monkeys, grooming defuses conflict and builds relationships. Something similar happens with us: human contact causes the body to react by reducing cortisol levels, which can lower blood pressure and heart rate, which reduces stress and has a beneficial impact on our general well-being and state of mind. cheer up.

From childhood, we learn that stroking the hair of loved ones is a natural display of affection and togetherness. It reflects sweetness, affection and delicacy. When a close person is not feeling well or, simply, we want to reaffirm that they are loved and safe, we make them “louse”, as we say in Mexico to the act of love by scratching the head gently and in a circular way.

Brushing someone indicates a pure and selfless bond. Our mothers do it with us and we repeat it with our sisters and friends. Hair is an element that connects women. When a woman combs another’s hair, she is in an exercise in sisterhood, building and weaving thought. Perhaps unintentionally, a space of resistance and integration is created, and there is an energetic exchange.

Woman brushing another's hair with love
Brushing the hair of a close person reflects sweetness, affection and delicacy. Credit: Yan Krukau/Pexels.

“Your hair is an extension of your soul and carries emotions,” explains Daniel Gomez-Ortigozawho we interviewed earlier. All your history is contained in your hair. According to various indigenous, Hindu and Taoist beliefs, hair represents the thoughts and spiritual state of the individual, showing the bonds and spiritual unity of his family and defining the cultural harmony and alignment of his community. Under this philosophy, hair is sensitive to the most subtle perceptions of the environment, it captures the energy around us and stimulates the transmission of that external information to the brain, thus being responsible for intuition.

For some people, hair is so intimate that it is private. Orthodox Jews, for example, once they get married, hide it under a wig, hat or scarf that they only remove in their family environment. “It reminds me of privacy for the sake of my marriage – that I am now a part of something and someone else, and even the most basic parts of me need to be considered in the context of that new association,” confesses Ariella Zirkind, former content creator. for Instagram, in an interview for All Things Hair United States.

Throughout history, hair has been a symbol of femininity and a reflector—or inhibitor—of sexuality. Hair is fetishized in the sense that it is given powers that go beyond its physical existence.

British anthropologist Edmund A. Leach, based on observations by Hindus in India and Buddhists in Sri Lanka, theorized that long hair represented unbridled sexuality; that short, closely tied, or partly shaved hair indicated restricted sexuality; and that shaved heads symbolized celibacy.

Women caressing their hair in privacy
Hair is part of the sexual choreography: we caress it, shake it, pull it and tie it up. Credit: Yan Krukau/Pexels.

Hair is a weapon of seduction. When we flirt, we run our hands over it, tuck it behind our ear, or wrap a strand around our finger. It is part of the sexual choreography: we caress it, shake it, pull it and tie it up. In bed, allowing our partner to take us with some force implies an act of absolute intimacy and trust, of giving up control and allowing oneself to be dominated. You can hurt me, but I know you won’t.

Beyond eroticism, hair has a romantic connotation. During the Victorian era of the United Kingdom, in the 19th century, women exchanged fringes as a token of love. Thus, hair became a central and visible element of jewelry, often curled or braided into a locket worn close to the heart.

“Hair is both the most delicate and durable of materials, and it survives us, like love,” read the women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book May 1855, published in the United States. You can almost say that I have a piece of you and not unworthy of your being now. A lock not to forget.

The post Combing stories | Hair and intimacy: eroticism, filial love and sisterhood appeared first on All Things Hair Mexico.


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