Hair Teasing

by Amyobala Key


   veronica lake actress and model

Hairstyles that tease are not the same as a light touch-up with a comb. The effect is far more profound. Walk softly, for you can as easily sway the heart of a beau, the attention of a nation, or the pathway of a culture. Think of Suzie Wong, and you will understand that this technique usually goes hand-in-hand with the costume, though it does not have to be so blatant.

Think of a fly-fishing expedition. The line is cast, the imitation of an insect is affixed to the end and settles lightly and briefly to the surface of the water. Deep below, it is watched by two large anticipating eyes. The line is drawn away, the imitation fly departs the surface, and a large-mouth bass is regretful that it did not strike while it had the chance. So it settles in for a patient wait. Luck is with it. The delicious shape reappears for an instant on the surface; the fish lunges, the fly is consumed, the hook is set, and our large-mouth bass is moments and a brief struggle from being hauled out of the water, cleaned, spitted, cooked and eaten. And that's what hairstyles that tease are all about.

Let's look at this from the viewpoint of a 1757 writer: "When the British Lady thinks fit to dress so as to discover the whole Breast, the British Gentleman soon looks upon it with as much indifference as the naked Indian looks upon all the rest; but if she covers it with a handkerchief and contrives this covering so that it will accidentally discover what it appears intended to hide, the Glimpse that is thus casually given immediately and forcibly seizes the Imagination, and every Motion is watched in hopes that it will be repeated ... if by any accident a Lady discover half her Leg, the Fancy is instantly alarmed, though when the Actress appears in breeches and discovers the whole, she is the Object of indifference ... for the same reason that the Figure of a naked Venus produces less effect than that of a dressed Figure with the petticoat raised so as to discover the garter."

Now let's move to hairstyles. There was Tippy Walker who played Val Boyd in The World of Henry Orient. Her hair hung like short curtains, so that when she leaned forward, it would close around and completely hide her face. On the talk show circuit, she had to continuously open a path so that she could see and be seen, creating tantalizing glimpses of her prettiness. There was the 1940s pin-up model and actress, Veronica Lake, whose long blonde locks were most effective when they rippled down her right side, hiding one eye in peek-a-boo fashion. Cher Bono in her early years mastered the art of triple tease with her hair, using her bangs to cover her forehead, her long hair to cover her ears and act as drapery, and the same long hair to hide her breasts, allowing only a glimpse on occasion. Other famous bangs and hair coverups have included, Glenda Jackson, Janis Joplin, Goldie Hawn, and Mary Quant.

The principle is simple. Employ as much of the natural tresses as possible to hide a majority of the face. The hair should be fuller and longer. Often the glimpse from the admirer occurs from behind, and when he maneuvers himself to the front, he is only partially rewarded, and is tantalized even more. As the subject walks, there are numerous slight reveals, both in clothing and in tresses. Keeping one part of the countenance completely shielded, whether an eye or the forehead, intensifies the desire. Cultures that attempt to deny a spectacle by covering everything, only intensify the interest of the observer. You can keep it simple, with open bangs that reveal glimpses as you move, or create a complex shield that hides ears and cheeks, the items being the more delectable, the briefer the glimpse that is achieved.

Watch out for weddings if you are a member of the wedding party. It is only the bride who gets to be officially hidden beneath her veil. Members of her retinue usually have everything up, with ears and forehead naked for the world to see. They are very proper and elegant, but there is no mystery involved. Only a guest can customize her appearance to take advantage of the lighting and the circumstances. Eventually, the bride will be required to lift her veil and sweep aside all mystery.



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