Mar 28, 2011

A Chasidishe Woman Waxes Frum on Fly-Aways

Just. Breathe.

It appears that 1:30 in the morning is the only time that I have to myself these days. I'm insanely busy with two part-time jobs (that really seem full-time), full-time school, full-time being a wife, and the list goes on and on. Even Shabbat doesn't last long enough. By the time I get my nap in, the day is gone, and I'm looking at my inbox and going into anxiety overdrive about how much I have to do.

Just. Breathe.

I had a great Shabbat this past weekend in Monsey for the bar mitzvah of In The Pink's beloved second-youngest son. Tuvia and I descended upon the home of good friends who feel more like family than friends these days (and this is, of course, a good thing). There was good food, good people, good accommodations, and, most of all, good simcha. There were a few anecdote worthy moments, including one that Hadassah reported on in which her youngest, who we call The Big Mo, walked up to my dear husband Tuvia and said, "Do you want me to sit on your lap so you can practice for when you have babies?" to which Tuvia said, "Um ... no?" The Big Mo responded, "Don't you remember last time?" in reference to the last time we were around for Shabbat when The Big Mo spent some quality time with Tuvia bouncin' cowboy-like on his lap. Adorable, right?

The other anecdote-worthy moment was in the vein of A Wedding and a Stylish Hasidic Woman (Er ... Me). I'm standing at kiddush with newfound in-real-life friends when a woman walks up to me asking me if I'm So-and-So. I respond that I'm not, after which she proceeds to tell me about how she's looking for a "Chasidish woman," and I looked the part. She said she'd heard that a sheitel with a headband (my style) is representative of chasidish women, so thus she saw me among the dozens of sheiteled women in the room and assumed I was the chasidish one in the crowd.

I really think that if you picked me up and put me down in Williamsburg that I would stick out like a sore thumb, but with all of this newfound information about the Satmar heritage of Tuvia's family, maybe we're coming full circle or something. Unfortunately for you all, the only picture I have of my chasidishe look from the bar mitzvah weekend are post-sheitel removal. Lame, I know.

What a family, eh?
I'd really wanted to make this post about hair covering and where I currently am at with it, as far as emotionally, but it's late, and I'm quite tired. Sunday night we went to a big dinner for AABJ&D, the big shul in West Orange that Tuvia's family helped found. I sported my sheitel in the class look then, too. I got a lot of compliments on the 'do, actually, but there was one thing that made me roll back -- "I was trying to describe you to her, but, well, without your hair ..." Or something to that effect. It's hard being easily spot-able without my traditional, spiked-up 'do. It isn't that I miss the hair or the cut or the style insomuch as I'd ever consider giving up hair covering (at this point), but sometimes I wonder if I'm still that recognizable person with only my signature glasses, which, by the way, are set to be changed this week to something more ... purple.

It used to be easy to be spotted in a crowd, the motions of spikey hair done with fingers to strangers being pointed in my direction. Spikes gone, hair grown long, I'm still figuring out what I like best. Tichels and sheitels and scrunchy knit hats. I keep saying there's a time and a place for each type of hair covering, and it's true. In Israel, I felt comfortable only in my tichel. When at weddings and party-like functions, I feel naked without my sheitel. In the winter, I rationalize a knit hat almost everyday because not only do I "fit in," but it's easy, casual, and stylish. In certain company, I would never sport a sheitel and in other company I wouldn't think of wearing a hat. Times and places, folks.

No matter what I do, I spend all day shoving my hair back in, tiny hairs that fly out and try to break free, darn them. All the pins and bobbles in the world can't seem to keep them away from sunlight and fresh air. They're jealous of my bangs, my homegrown bangs that no, are not clip-ins. My bangs that I can't seem to get right no matter how many times I cut them. But I look at the picture in my banner and think, Damn, I look good. I look stylishly frum. I'm the model frummie for the 21st century! Plaster me on the cover of Frum Yid Quarterly.

Hair. I longed for the day that I would cover my hair and not have to worry about putting it away and styling it and blow-drying it. Yet, I stress about it morning, noon, and night. Is it falling out? Do I look good? Do people know I'm Jewish because of my head-gear?

Over the weekend, while I was at Starbucks (I'm holding by the OU, folks), a very frum woman made her way to me -- of all people in the store, including the employees -- to ask where a certain street was. I was wearing a tichel, and clearly she knew I was a yid. It made me smile inside. She felt more comfortable asking me than anyone else. It was a hair-covered connection.

Just. Breathe.

It's late, and I should sleep. This chasidishe woman who battles with fly-away hairs needs her beauty rest. Time to recoup and refresh and figure out what the weather's going to be like and whether the day will call for a knit hat or something more, something less. And since I'm a month behind in laundry, well, our options for clothing to pair with covered hair are limited. Am I kvetching? Probably, maybe. I don't do much of that here on the blog, so pardon the tone if this post is a little ... morose. It's not meant to be, but it's one of those stream-of-consciousness posts in the wee hours of the morning and thus you get what you get. But seriously ...

May these be the worst of my problems. 

13 comments:

Elle said...

you might have just inspired me to have a post on headcovering...hmmm...

anyhow you do look adorable in your banner! I love it :) I bet the non-frummies think it's your bangs and the frummies think it's a bang clip. either way you're covered.

I have short spikey hair too for years, and though I'v been covering for about 4 years now I still battle with the loss of my identity. whats worse is my hair is loner now and it turns out I look FAR better with it long, only body sees it. My husband jokes that I should just wear my own hair as is, poof it up real big (something I've always called me "jew hair" since I was a kid) and let people think it's one hell of a sheitel! ;) of course most sheitels I see these days are quite thin like the style of hair so popular now. so maybe that wouldn't work ha!

Elle said...

p.s. I swore I checked that for typos. I am tired, it's too early for my brain.

Drew said...

I can't imagine your life with everything you have your plate! Last week after a shabbos eve dinner with friends that ran way too late, the husband and I decided to not go to services because we were both beat. We reached a breaking point where what we really needed was just plain old sleep. You reach a point where you just can't go, go, go anymore and you need to hunker down in your apartment and avoid looking at the piles of laundry :-)

Also, the more I enter the world of observance and go to different events with different groups the more I get what you said about the hair covering. Different place require different head coverings.

Hope you catch a break soon!

Hadassah said...

hair, wigs.... I know someone who stayed awake ALL Friday night sitting up so that she wouldn't roll over and ruin her bewigged updo that she had implemented for the barmitzvah.

O.o crazy huh?

Chaviva said...

@Elle Geepers thanks! If you do post, let me know ... I'll be on the lookout!

@Drew I was considering ignoring EVERYTHING tonight and going to bed at 9. What do you think?

@Hadassah LOL. But you looked SO beautiful!

Hadassah said...

so then it was worth it! FTR will NOT be doing that again. At least not for 4 years ;)

Elle said...

http://onbecomingdevoted.com/2011/03/the-hair-covering-post/

there ya go ;)

Daphne said...

Ha... looks like we're living in parallel universes... My BIL is the rabbi of the other (smaller!)shul in WO, NJ and I spent all day Sunday in Monsey at a family wedding :-)

Experimental Knitter said...

Wow, I live in WO too. used to belong to AABJ&D when we lived nearer to it.
Daphne, I think I belong to your BiL's shul (north end of town?).

sheldan said...

Speaking of hair covering, Chaviva, I love the new masthead for your blog. Maybe you've found the right one.

CK said...

Chaviva - I have turned to your blog time and time again as a way of connecting to a Jewish woman who I feel has tons of insight...

That being said, I want your opinion... I'm considering dressing/acting in a more modest way... from hair, to clothes, to what I say and DON'T say...

I live in a predominantly non-Jewish area. I'm married to a non-Jew. And I'm reconstructionist, not Orthodox.

Do you think non-Orthodox women can enjoy tzniut style dress, mannerisms, etc? Or is that somehow, taboo?...

Chaviva said...

@Daphne & ExperimentalKnitter Where abouts do y'all live? My husband's fam lives just a block or two away from there. What's the small shul? I bet my husband knows ...

@Sheldan Geepers, thanks!

@CK I think you've prompted a blog post. Stay tuned -- I plan to answer/discuss your question.

Experimental Knitter said...

Chaviva, I live near the WO-Verona border, the Redwood section. The shul I'm talking about is Ohr Torah.

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