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A Short History of Hair

Over thousands of years some very odd things have been done to hair. Here are some of them.

It's strange to think of tough soldiers having their hair curled, but that's what the Persians did over 2000 years ago. The curls were made by twisting the hair round hot rods. Their thick beards and moustaches were curled too.

In about 1150, during the Norman period, women grew hair as long as they could. They spent hours having their hair done in plaits. They wrapped their hair in ribbons and stuffed the ends into metal cases.

In the seventeenth century men and women wore wigs. Wigs could be made from animal hair, someone else's hair or even one's own hair. By 1780, women's wigs had become enormous. They were padded out with pillows, decorated with feathers, ribbons and jewels. It took so long to have the wigs styled that they were worn for a month, and women had a scratching stick to use when they itched beneath the wig.

In the 1940s a blond film star called Veronica Lake started a craze for wearing long hair hanging over one eye. This caused trouble in factories where thousands of women were working for the first time. Women would catch their hair in the machines.

Nowadays people prefer to have different hairstyles. They usually choose if this or that hairstyle suits them. Men and women both have long and short hair.

There are some young people who have incredible hairstyles. They are punks. Today they are part of London's tourist scene.

In American English the word punk is often used to describe someone who is immoral and worthless. In Britain the word was borrowed to describe a new group of people who first appeared in the early 1970s. They were mixture of art students, hippies and followers of fashion who rejected conventional styles of dress. They were fans of loud, fast and violent tuneless music, which tried to shock with violent lyrics, and their hair and clothing did the same.

In the days before hair gel they used everything to make their hair stiff. Sugar, toothpaste, washing-up liquid, butter, oil, glue were all used. The clothes were also "DIY" and punks spent hours tearing their jeans and jackets and creating the punk look with safety pins, studs, paper clips and everything they could find.

By 1977 punk music was at the top of the hit parade and the punk "look" was high fashion. Fashion designer Zandra Rhodes produced a collection of clothing based on the punk look, and you could have your hair done in punk styles in hairdressers all over Britain.

Today's haircuts are far more exaggerated and colourful than anything that existed during the early punk era. These haircuts have been created for American cameras, and punk rockers are one of the few youth movements to have sold themselves in this way. The original violent movement, which changed the way many people looked and felt, is a thing of the past.

Vocabulary

tough Ч грубый
to curl Ч завивать
Persians Ч персы
to twist Ч накручивать
rod Ч прут, стержень
beard Ч борода
moustaches Ч усы
plait Ч коса
to wrap Ч заворачивать
ribbon Ч лента
to stuff Ч засовывать
metal case Ч металлическа€ коробка
wig Ч парик
enormous Ч огромный
to pad out Ч прокладывать, подбивать
pillow Ч подушечка
feather Ч перо
jewels Ч драгоценности
scratching stick Ч палочка дл€ почесывани€
to itch Ч чесатьс€
beneath Ч ниже
craze Ч повальное увлечение, мода
to cause trouble Ч причин€ть вред
incredible Ч неверо€тный, потр€сающий
to catch Ч ловить, вытаскивать
to describe Ч описывать
immoral Ч аморальный
worthless Ч бесполезный
to borrow Ч заимствовать
mixture Ч смесь
to reject Ч отвергать, отказыватьс€
conventional Ч общеприн€тый
fan Ч болельщик, фанат
tuneless Ч без мелодии
violent Ч неистовый, €ростный
to style Ч вводить в моду, конструировать по модели
gel Ч гель
glue Ч клей
liquid Ч жидкость
DIY (Do it yourself) Ч сделай сам
to tear Ч рвать
safety pin Ч безопасна€ булавка
stud Ч запонка, кнопка
clip Ч скрепка, зажим
exaggerated Ч преувеличенный
to exist Ч существовать
era Ч эра, врем€ rocker Ч рокер
to sell Ч продавать
original Ч первоначальный

Questions

1. What hairstyle did soldiers in Persia have?
2. What do you know about women's hairstyle in 1150?
3. What did men and women wear in the seventeenth century?
4. What were the wigs made from?
5. What is the hairstyle nowadays?
6. What hairstyle do you prefer? Why?
7. What do you know about punks?
8. What does the word punk mean?
9. How did punks appear?
10. Why are punks part of London's tourist scene?

Education and Career Teenage Clothes and Fashion A Short History of Hair The Style You Choose. School uniform. Russian Federation Moscow