Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Greek Hair-itage

If you follow La Belette Rouge's blog, you'll have read yesterday about her Greek friend Nicky, who made her feel inferior because, and let me quote here,

I was mesmerized by her "otherness" as she seemed to be everything I was not. Where I was painfully pale and could not lay out for more than five minutes without risking red hot pain and burning blisters, Helios seemed to worship Nicky by amplifying her already bronzed beauty with an Aphrodite like glow. I had strawberry red hair that was cut into a short and snappy 80's hair do that accented my collection of colourful earrings---while Nicky had extremely long black hair that was longer, blacker and thicker than any hair I have ever seen. Her shiny eyes flashed like day-glow Kalamata olives, while mine were light and blue, much like an anemic body of water in the Ionic of which no fisherman fished and no tourists toured.

I wrote a comment to help LBR feel better about her pale skin by telling her the Greek Girl's side of things, which started to get so long winded that I decided to turn it into a post. So, where I may have felt proud of my fast and dark tanning ability, it was only to counteract the hidden torment of my Greek "otherness". In a word...hair. While most of us Greeks have thick, dark shiny hair (and true, it's nice) it doesn't limit itself to the scalp. It seems to think if it's pretty up there, it'll be pretty everywhere.
Let's start with the leg hair. From the age of, oh say three, Greek girls start sprouting long black hair that is longer and blacker than any hair I've ever seen. Ok, so maybe you can't braid it, but you sure can see it from across the classroom if you've not put on ankle length pants and knee high socks! And it's not really acceptable for a 4 year old to start shaving her legs, she's got a few years before she can achieve that milestone. In the meantime, while all the non-olive skinned girls with blonde locks and smoothe hairless arms and legs looked forward to Shorts Day in elementary school, this hairy Greek would have flashbacks of the previous Shorts Day disaster, when her blonde non-Greek mother convinced her no one would notice her hairy legs. She was wrong. Images of 10 year old boys jumping around like apes and making monkey noises still haunt my 5th grade memories.

Which prompted me to secretly start shaving in time for the next Shorts Day. And the results were astounding! I had the smoothest, hairless (and don't forget tannest!) legs in the 6th grade! But my newly bald legs didn't make "happily ever after". There was another problem...arm hair. Now, I had threatened my poor mother with shaving my arms for years. I always got the same shrieking response, "You'll get whiskers on your arms!!!!!" My dad's whiskers were enough to keep me from actually carrying out the act. Being full Greek, he must shave a minimum of twice a day to keep it tame.

And speaking of facial hair, this brings up The Mustache. Should I even delve into this topic? I'll just give you a clue: dumb boys and catty girls. There. 'Nuff said.
Less embarrassing than being envied by pre-pubescant boys, but equally important to tame down, The Unibrow. Do you see where this is all going? A good Greek girl should buy stock in wax. Because, as I told LBR, we Greeks may make you jealous of our tans, but being Greek takes a lot of waxing!


Cris in Oregon said...

Do you know how envious I am of your gorgeous thick dark hair and natural olive skin? To be able to go without nylons all year long??!! My Italian heritage leaned to the light skinned side. Not Fair!!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't think nylons would go well with leg hair.


OK, CC this post made me laugh. Though I'm not laughing at the trouble of the arm hair (I hear you with that side), it was funny how you posted the hair trauma.

La Belette Rouge said...

This is absolutely hilarious. And, know I am not laughing at you my dear Corfu Cousin. I am laughing with you.
Really at 4 there was already enough hair to shave? Poor you, kids can be so cruel. I was tormented for being so pale. They used to say that my legs were so white I must lay out at night and that is why I have a moon tan. It makes me laugh now---but at the time I was not laughing.

He-weasel is only half Greek so he doesn't need to shave twice a day and thanks be to God there is no back hair. Yuck!

I suppose that every gift comes with a dark side. But, to have scalp hair and eyes like yours and access to a Greek citizenship I might be willing to endure some waxing.;-)
Great post!!

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Cris: Yes, I certainly do detest nylons, you have a point!

FOT: You're right, leg hair and nylons are nasty lol! I am so happy I made you laugh :) and even though it was traumatic as a kid, I've got tricks up my sleeve (no pun intended) for most of my hair issues. ;)

LBR: Let's see, I guess REALLY at 4 there was probably the start of leg hair. And I am half Greek too, so hopefully I won't get the wild hairs my dad gets, they can sprout up anywhere! (His most famous one sprouted right on the tip of his nose! ewwww) Chest hair aplenty, but no back hair, and thankful for you too, that He Weasel doesn't either...lol!
Now, about the Moon Tan, I am dying laughing, and I am soooo sorry, I DO feel your pain, but that is one I never heard before and I'm gonna have to use it on my very white hubby. I usually say he is fish belly white. He'll be glad to have a new one to hear LOL!

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Wait, just to clarify, the chest hair is my dad's!!!!

La Belette Rouge said...

I love how you thought you needed to clarify that the chest hair was not yours. LOL!!!!!

b said...

There is always something, isn't there? We often think that someoneelse has it all but we've all got our challenges! Haha... I'm dying over your clarification to LBR about the chest hair. Too funny!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I am greek and was hairy legged as a kid at about 10..(not 4 thank god but 10 was bad enough!...) but blessed with pale as h*ll skin and green eyes so the dark hair color stuck out even more!! Now as a 46yo my leg hairs are minimal and eyebrows are thin forever thanks to obsessive plucking in my teen years!! I never enjoyed dark tan skin-- someone in my family had to have hooked up with an irishman or something

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Thanks so much for coming by and posting :)
And about the light skin, many of my cousins who are equally as Greek as I am, are blonde, fair skin and light eyes. I was always soooo jealous. One of my brothers is pasty white and blonde, and we used to tell him when he was little that he was adopted. (kids are so mean!)
My sister too is pasty white, but does have dark hair/eyes.
Thanks again for stopping by, hope to see you around! :)

Insanity Kim said...

I am Italian, Sicilian for that matter...


literally. Mom started forcing me to shave my legs at age NINE. Eyebrows were also plucked and groomed at that same age. The guy I pined for in HS always asked me why I had so much hair on my arms, yet not on my lip (he was on to my secret). The most painful part of childbirth was when they ripped the tape off my back that was holding the epidural line. And bikini lines? Oh for the love...I could never be on Survivor. By day 15 they would mistake me for Sasquatch-and I would probably end up winning, because they would be so scared to vote me off, thinking I would eat them alive...

Girl, I feel your pain...

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Dang woman, you are hilarious! could you please do a post based on your comment? Pretty please????
PS. the most painful part of childbirth for me was everyone seeing how badly I needed a bikini wax....:(

Insanity Kim said...

I'm so hairy, the docs took one look and opted for a c-section!

Ok, not really...

Hmmm...I will try...have to tie it in with kids/parenting/insanity...I could probably make it work! :)