Primetime Britney

Not sure what your Presidents Day weekend activities are or were, but Friday nite, Britney Spears decided to take a tour of the lovely San Fernando Valley, stopping in at the Body & Soul tattoo parlor of Sherman Oaks where she (reportedly) got a couple of tattoos on her wrist (a pair of pink lips) and on her hip (a cross to complement the giant Star of David lassoed around her neck). All this excitement was preceded by a trip to Esther’s Haircutting Studio in Tarzana (we’ll always have Pacoima), where Brit Brit grabbed a pair of clippers and prepped herself for the upcoming revival of Logan’s Run:

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This adventure followed a bikini dance-a-thon in NYC, an (alleged) 24-hour stint in a Florida rehab center, and most shockingly, a trip back to LA in the last row of coach. The Britney Jean Show’s shear madness (the bodyguard tipping Esther ’cause Britney depilated and dashed; the wiggling in pain whilst inked) wrestled the headlines from this blonde:

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The Anna Nicole Show was cancelled on 2/8/07, but I’m hoping the Britney Jean Show can have an ABC Family ending (heck, if Logan’s Run itself can make it past thirty, surely Britney can too). Spears-o-Rama is another version of American Idol, where, like the ever-fluctuating sobriety of Paula Abdul, we never know which Britney will be broadcasted next; we’ve seen her grow from a Mickey Mouse girl into Justin’s girl, then become Not A Girl, Toxic girl, Mom, DivorcĂ©, and then, 25-year-old. As the last few acts of the show have gotten more complicated, so has her hair. Right before she gave birth to Federline’s fourth, she had long black locks:

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When she washed the man out of her hair, look what happened:

short brit

Here, her short haircut seems to say, “Hey y’all! SP and JJ might stop calling the nanny ‘mommy!'” Her hair’s sexy. Fun. Professionally done and Letterman approved. But in January, her hair turning long and brown gave a sure signal that all was not right:

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Until finally this happened:

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This isn’t the first time a character went from Botticelli to Beatle. Who could forget the trauma caused when everyone’s favorite freshman went from this:

long keri to this: kr_vid_felcol210b.jpg

Shearing Felicity plunged the show’s ratings to an all-time low. As her hair came back, so did their standing in primetime. But even Felicity’s shortened roots are rooted in TV history, when Mia Farrow, who was cast looking like this:

mia-farrow.jpg one week showed up to Peyton Place looking like this: mia-farrow-1.jpg
If you want to know what’s going on with a woman, look at her hair. Nothing says Big Things are happening inside a woman more than a drastic change in her outward style. The bigger the change, usually the shorter we go (remember Jennifer Aniston right after she became the first Mrs. Pitt?). I look to a trusted sage, Jeanne B (found quickly on Yahoo! Answers), to sum it up perfectly:

From psychology, studies show that women who are breaking up or divorcing who cut their hair short will recover the easiest. Cutting our hair symbolizes freedom. We are better able to express our feelings, and are not as “stuck” in the past.

Short hair is freedom literally from the past: women’s hair became shorter during the 20’s flapper-days, coinciding with the dawn of the sexual revolution. Ladies Home Journal asked “To Bob or Not to Bob?” and women responded with let’s leave Bob out of this altogether. It is freedom from gender and also freedom from curlers and hair irons and extensions (and freedom from hair… everywhere, in this case).

I love Jeanne B’s confidence in her Samson-in-reverse assertion. While I’m not sure it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a trip to Fantastic Sam’s (or Esther’s) cuts the divorce blues to the quick, we women are changelings. We are yardsticked by appearance, by the external manifestation of whatever’s brewing inside (for better or for worse). Entire floors of department stores are devoted to our continual metamorphosis. The addiction to shoes and bags is fueled by the immediate joy they can provide by changing our appearance even just a little. We don’t have to lose five pounds to fit into the red suede wedge. Cutting our hair is a way to more permanently mark Important Transformations (could be Britney is also really, really pissed off at her mom).

Years ago, I cut all my hair off before I ran the marathon. I was tired of washing it, high on visions of Amelia Earhart, and didn’t want any more drag on me than necessary. Yet during some of the practice runs, my hair became a phantom limb; I could feel it blowing in the wind behind me even though there was nothing there. We are forever haunted by our hair. The marathon’s over, but I am still running, heading toward mile marker 35. My hair is long, strong and dyed. Ready to rumble.

Esther was a chick known for her faith and courage, in other words, what Brit needs at this chaotic crossroads in her life (read the Kabbalah baby, one more time). She looks hideous. For now. Men shave their heads when they’re pretty sure their hair is done growing back (Bruce Willis), but Brittney, in cutting in cutting her hair, is forcing a change, flexing the faith that her hair (and her self) will grow back, stronger and better than before.

Like Felicity, Brit Brit’s ratings are at an all-time low. Before the New & Improved Britney emerges from her publicist’s cocoon (during sweeps, of course), Old Britney hair could be yours for a cool half a mil (though eBay may have taken this once in a lifetime offer down by now). But my money’s on this Wagga Wagga woman. She is mohawk-ready. Her own sea change can’t be too far behind.

8 responses to “Primetime Britney”

  1. nathan says:

    i can … um … identify with the poor girl. i think this is why i wear a beard — so when i feel like i have no control over my life i can cut it off. i feel like i’m a whole new person when i step out of the shower freshly shaved.

    if only brit brit could grow a beard…

  2. Dave says:

    I thought Britney shaved her head so it’d match.

  3. Scott Godfrey says:

    For about an hour yesterday, Steph and I became celeb obsessed. It started with my mention of the Britt breakdown (which I heard about on NPR, by the way), and ended with us Youtubing drunken Abdul rants.

    Your observation about the political climate and women’s hair length is interesting. I’m sure that the fashionable level of women’s girth could be an equally valid cultural barometer. The healthier our attitudes toward women, the healthier they are able to become.

  4. LP says:

    Years ago, Harper’s ran a brilliant essay on the correlation between political climate and women’s breast sizes. The theory was that, in times of relative peace and stability, pop culture icons had big bazoombas, while in times of upheaval and strife, they were all small-breasted (eg., Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield in the ’50s, Twiggy in the ’60s.). I clipped and saved it, and though I haven’t looked at it in a long while, one line stuck out (ha): something about the fact that, in uncertain times big breasts are too scary; someone could get an eye poked out.

  5. G-Lock says:

    Excellent, Wendy!

    Poor Britney is cruising for a bruising, and our schadenfreude is full-tilt. But I have no doubt she’ll make a huge comeback. Entertainment consumers are so forgiving, and all it takes is one hit song/show/film to wipe away a case of the crazies.

    Just think how lucky (OMG, like, totally the name of a Britney song!!!!) she is that she’ll get to make a phoenix-like resurgence at the ripe old age of 26. That we should all have such vast opportunities.

  6. Ruben Mancillas says:

    As Defamer noted, who would have thought that Federline would ever look like the better adjusted one?

    Very nice, Wendy.

    But as a big-time Logan’s Run guy, isn’t the bald head thing a little more THX 1138 than anything Michael York, Jenny Agutter, or Farrah were sporting?

  7. bryan says:

    ww: loved this.

  8. Dubya says:

    RM, you are so right. Guess those lizards from “V” got into my brain and rewired my vast knowledge of 70’s sci-fi flicks.

    and LP, maybe the untimely passing of Anna Nicole is a hearty boo-ya to the Harper’s article; our times are so troubled that we could not bear her big beautiful breasts.