Monday, March 29, 2010

The End - The Doors

This is the end/my only friend the end
of our elaborate plans/the end
of everything that stands/the end
no safety or surprise/the end

Well, it's almost the end. The end of classes, at least. I'm not complaining in either direction: not to have more classes, and not that the classes I've had have been burdensome. Really, I'm just determined to enjoy the transition. No more classes doesn't mean no more work. Au contraire. It means that I now have more time to devote to writing my term papers and researching my dissertation topic; scheduling archive and library visits, making progress reports to my supervisor, and possibly even doing interviews and museum visits. Really, I insist on the museum visits, as my topic revolves quite heavily around being able to consult paintings and prints and sculptures.

And what is my topic? On what subject am I to wax eloquent for 16,000 words over the next 5 months? Hair styles. Whose hair? Women's hair. When were these women alive? The Georgian period in England when what we now call neo-classicism was at its height. Way to go Reynolds, Hamilton, and Walpole. Way to go. Anyway, why do I care about the way women in Georgian England wore their hair? Honestly? I have absolutely no idea. I partially blame the impressive James T. Powell for this. His classes back at Wake got me back into Greek and Roman myth in a big way...this paper is an excuse to indulge some of that interest without having to learn Greek or Latin! Plus, I confess that I've always been a nerd, not just for Greco-Roman literature and mythology, but for the wonderful Age of Sail. Nelson and Napoleon, Wellington and Farragut and Lake Hudson and the Nile. (Aubrey and Sharpe and Hornblower on the fictitious side of things.) Much as I love Napoleon and all the massive amount of stuff that his legend spawned, not only is he "the well-beaten path" (or perhaps the horse beaten to death, historiographically speaking), but my sum total of thirty words of French isn't enough to let me research all the primary sources I'd need for an undertaking of 16,000 words. However, journals kept in English, and pictures and sculptures that require no linguistic literacy at all are just up my alley.

Of course, the real "end" as such comes along with a beginning: the beginning of married life. Once Sebastian and I are married, the apartment hunting (hopefully!) stops, the wedding planning ceases, and all I have to occupy me (besides assembling ikea furniture and making dinner) is my precious Georgian beauties and the implements of their coiffures. I wonder just what slightly stomach-turning practises I'll unearth when figuring out just how hairdressing worked back then. It should be interesting. I mean, let's face it: I've already discovered the incredibly off-putting fact that Charles II had a wig made from (I kid you not) the pubic hair of his favourite mistress. I think this is a case where you say it with Hallmark, not with hair. Ew.

I think, on that disturbing note, it is now the end of this post. This will officially become my forum for any more entertaining, disturbing, and downright kinky facts I happen to find in my research on the art of hairdressing in eighteenth-century England.

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