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Friday, September 2, 2011

Big Wigs

There is a running joke in our house about just how my husband lost his hair. He devises new reasons for his baldness almost daily. He was naughty as a little boy, for instance. He ate a watermelon seed. He played the drums. He listened to certain music. The boys used to look to me for confirmation of his reasons...until they realized he was kidding. Now they just love to hear the outrageous stories he composes.

We all think they are hilarious and preposterous...until I read aloud bits from Kathleen Krull's newest book Big Wig: A Little History of Hair. Aristotle thought rubbing goat pee on his head would cure baldness. Hippocrates used a self-made concoction of opium, wine, green olive oile, horseradish, and pigeon poop. (At this point, my husband said, "That's it. The pigeon poop is what a missed in the recipe.") Julius Caesar used a paste of leeches, boiled walnut shells, tar, and animal urine - until Cleopatra convinced him to use a concoction of horse teeth, deer marrow, and toasted mice.

These and other fascinating facts, as well as intriguing illustrations, fill her book. Perhaps the book title was inspired by the hairdos worn by my mom and me in the late 1980s!


  1. those concoctions sure didn't come with cruelty-free disclaimers, did they?

  2. Thanks for that book reference - sounds intriguing! These men must have smelled, erm, baaaad.

  3. Glad I don't have to use any of those concoctions...yet! And my mom had hair like that in the 80's too!