I’ve read a half-dozen articles on scattered around the scene that talks about all sorts of methods for keeping your body clean, for dressing to inspire confidence—or tactics to boost confidence without wearing anything at all; I’ve seen articles detailing in methods of hair removal, of after-hair-removal-care, but somehow in the jumble of cyberspace, I must be missing all of the articles tying the upkeep of hair to submission. So today I’m taking a break from my Long Distance Series and going on a slight tangent about hair—or more specifically, the symbolism of hair.
The answer is actually pretty simple:
“Hair is perhaps our most powerful symbol of individual and group identity—powerful first because it is physical and therefore extremely personal, and second because, although personal, it is also public rather than private. Furthermore, hair symbolism is usually voluntary rather than imposed or ‘given’” (Synnott 1).
Whether you’re new to the scene or part of the scenery itself, the quote above probably hit a couple of keywords that got your submissive mind reeling; for me, these keywords were “individual” “identity” “personal” “public” “voluntary”, and “given.”
Don’t worry, I’m not going to say that you should cut your hair (and your Dom probably won’t either); rather I’ll say that talking to your Dom about the way you keep your hair (the colour, the length, the style of cut, etc.) can give your Dom some great opportunities to exercise control over you in a new way, and thereby give you the opportunity to grow into a new kind of submission.
Even without a degree in anthropology, sociology, or history, we can see how important the presentation and upkeep of hair is.
For example, in many cultures, the cutting of one’s hair is seen as a sign of devotion or mourning; we see a great (fictional) example of this in Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love when the main character, Maya, tells her soon-to-be-executed lover to cut her hair: “Cut my hair…take it, it’s yours.”
Likewise, up until very recently in the Western world, married women made a point to cover their heads with hats, scarves, etc. when outside of the privacy of their bedroom because uncovered hair was seen as a subtle (and appropriate) invitation for courtship. The braided hair on a woman is often associated with virginity or sexual confinement while loose hair is a symbol of sexual liberty. (Someone once told me that there is a tradition in Southern Medjimurje where the husband unbraids his new wife’s hair to symbolize the taking of that virginity. I can’t find a source to back it up, but it’s something to consider.) My grandmother used to tell me that letting someone else touch and comb your hair was the most intimate thing that you could do with another person (and she had five kids, so it’s not like she didn’t have anything to compare it to!).
If exploring your submission through your hair is something that you might be interested in, I highly recommend looking up Anthony Synnott’s article Shame and Glory: a sociology of hair for an in-depth look at some of the heavier symbolism of hair for both men and women. In the meanwhile, here are a couple of ideas that I’ve generated that you can run by your Dom:
- Wear your hair up in public: not just in a ponytail, but in something that hides the length of your hair: a dancer’s bun, chignon, a French braid, etc. This will make people less inclined to touch your hair if you have particularly long or uniquely coloured hair, and it links back to the idea of free vs. confined.
- Wear something over your head when you go out: Wearing something on your head is a symbol of submission that is nearly as old as kneeling and bowing, and since the past few years have brought back a lot of older styles, including hats for women and scarves being draped over the head, it’s a pretty trendy way to add some class/sass to your wardrobe.
- Ask your Dom to brush your hair: maybe because I grew up hearing it, but I tend to agree with my grandmother that allowing someone else to touch your hair is one of the deepest signs of trust and love that you can give to someone, so take a seat at your Dom’s feet while they’re watching TV, and ask them if they wouldn’t mind brushing your hair for you.
- Ask your Dom’s opinion before you cut, colour, or change your hairstyle. You should probably ask anyway, just to be polite, but it goes back to Synnott’s observation that your hairstyle is usually your choice and is not something given to you.
One of the nice things about incorporating these aspects into your submission is that you don’t have to make these formal rules (unless your Dom wants to!); each of the suggestions above are subtle enough that, unless you already have strict rules about the way you dress each day, you can do them entirely of your own accord—just something a little extra that you can do to show your Dominant that you belong to him/her.
Synnott, Anthony. "Shame And Glory: A Sociology Of Hair." British Journal Of Sociology 38.3 (1987): 381-413. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 July 2013.