One pill for straight hair and another for curly

Pharmaceutical styling?

According to the Daily Mail, scientists have discovered a “curly gene” and are working on a pill that can make hair straighter from the inside out.

It goes the other way too — straight-haired women (or men!) who have fantasized about cascading waves would take a curly pill.

The author of the research, Professor Nick Martin, told the Daily Mail that he “will be discussing this with a major cosmetics company in Paris in January.” Source

Professor Martin and colleague Dr Sarah Medland sought to find genetic variations responsible for curly hair in those of European descent.

Research showed that 45 percent of European people have straight hair, 40 percent wavy and 15 percent curly hair. The chance of inheriting curly hair is around 90 percent.

Researchers analyzed data collected from a study of 5,000 twins in Australia over a 30-year period.

The straight hair pill
Feel like straighter hair? Just pop a pill
Study Finds Hope to Restore Hair Color

LED fashion from the tips of your lashes to the toes of your feet

The season to shine

With the holidays right around the corner, parties to go to and dressing up to be done, “What to wear?” is in the air. (Disclaimer: The fashion items featured below will either find you hailed as an iconoclastic trend setter or howled at in derision.)

You can literally light up the room in this LED Galaxy Dress by CuteCircuit:

Photo courtesy of J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry

Not only will CuteCircuit’s mesmerizing Galaxy Dress let you light up the room, but you will be doing so with sustainable energy: 24,000 full-color LEDs. Source

As you dance through the night

You can leave a trail of light with your LED Alina shoes with clear Cinderella heels that shimmer and glow in bewitching colors:

Trendhunter reports:

They come in different heel shapes, from wedges to stilettos, and each pair is capable of glowing in red, green or blue as each shoe has three LEDs.  Best of all, they start as low as $30!

Throughout the evening

As you laugh, flirt, and bat your lashes you can enchant with your own version of Artist Soomi Park’s LED Eyelash project:

YouTube video

the light of the party
Annette Marie Hyder

tinsel-like traceries of LED
chandelier your dress
as you dance on balls of light
and mimic sunrise-sunset with every bat
of your prism trimmed lashes

you look like an angel
the light-up kind
that sits atop the Christmas tree

you are the ornament
to the evergreen of festivity

Men in tights

Excerpt from Renaissance Moon
Previously published in Poems Niederngasse
Annette Marie Hyder

The men
all wore feathers in their caps
or tucked behind one ear
to trail, in their long hair
that twisted and curled
like revelers’ footsteps.

Their doublets
winked with gems
flirted with pearls —
like a coquette’s dimpled
smile — beckoned to be touched
on their velvet softness.

Such male peacockian panoply
dazzled my eye
held my breath
as firmly as those tights
on toned and well turned legs
hugged along each length.


I will admit to having a great fondness for the sight of a man in a kilt. And I can admire well clad legs housed in hosiery — from afar — looking back in time to fashions long gone, or looking inward with imagination. But I wonder if I would really appreciate, in my own life and intimate acquaintance, a man in pantyhose.

And yet, there is a move afoot, a fashion trending, for that very item of apparel: mantyhose.

Image Creative Commons License

e-MANcipate is a site devoted to all things mantyhose. There are lots of pics, where to buy info, instructions for how to put them on (for the neophyte nylon user,) a bookstore and more. Practical considerations for manyhose when it comes to sports and cold weather dressing aside, this site really focuses on the fashion aspect and hails the self-expressive freedom of men in tights.

It would be an attention getter for sure; the guy wearing them would of necessity have a good dose of self-confidence.

What do you think? Fashion statement? Paean to freedom? Or another way for plumage to be spread in the ever changing kaleidoscope of mating ritual? Maybe all of the above.

Links of interest:
Horrors of Fashion: Mantyhose
Elizabethan Era Fashion

Nifty clutch purses based on book jackets

My mom always called her handbags pocketbooks and the term seems charmingly applicable here. Check out these nifty clutch purses based on book jackets. You can find them online at a variety of venues from high-end offerings to Etsy.

The Catcher in the Rye bag and the The Heart is a Lonely Hunter bag are both from Olivia Le-Tan’s “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” collection. Dazed Digital reports:

As her father was an avid book collector, Olympia Le-Tan grew up in a house where the walls were covered in beautiful books, sparking off her own passion to collect old novels herself. She was inspired by the first edition covers of her favourite classics such as ‘The Catcher in The Rye’, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, ‘Moby Dick’, ‘1984’, Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’, ‘The Misfits’, as well as a selection of police novels by French author Georges Simenon. There are 21 different book covers, all limited editions of 16 pieces (her lucky number). Ironically named after the Bo Diddly song, the collection is titled “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover”.

Read more here.

What book cover would you like to see or have as a handbag?

I wouldn’t mind having this one as a clutch,

or, even better (!) this one,

Thoughts of purses, pocketbooks and handbags have inspired the following poem:

the reticule observes:
Annette Marie Hyder

dangling by cords of silk or leather straps
studded, zipped or snapped
i’m happiest when
my mouth holds secrets and my belly is fat

Here’s one of my handbags based not on a book, but on an album cover and vinyl record:

Jim Morrison looks at you broodingly from the front — and the back is The Doors Greatest Hits album.

Links of interest:

Nancy Drew clutches at Etsy
Origin of the word pocketbook
Bookcover archive blog
Readerville Journal: Most Coveted Covers
Poem with a drawstring purse in it
Capacious Hold All

If the 12 inch tall shoe fits

I love shoes,

but you couldn’t pay me to wear these enormoes

These Alexander McQueen shoes, affectionately dubbed the “armadillos” by the editors at Vogue Magazine, measure 12 inches tall and they remind me of foot binding and shoes for the bound foot for some reason. Maybe the overall fetishization and extreme angles?

Lotus shoe photo courtesy of morbidoutlook

The McQueens have inspired the following poem:

Annette Marie Hyder

temples to lotus shaped feet
you tower serene

one must be brave, surefooted
to ascend to your high peaks

Woman’s hair weave stops bullet, saves life

Photo courtesy

Bullet-proof weave

“You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair.” — Chinese Proverb

A woman’s weave acted like a bullet-proof helmet, shielding her from deadly harm and saving her life. She survived the attack with only a headache.

Fox News reports:

KANSAS CITY, MO – Briana Bonds literally came within a hair’s breadth
of dying late Wednesday night after her tightly-woven wig somehow
stopped a speeding bullet.

Bonds, 20, was in her car in a convenience store parking lot when a man
flagged her down and told her that her ex-boyfriend still loved her.

She replied, “Well I don’t love him,” then Banks says she heard
gunshots as her ex-boyfriend, Juan Kemp, allegedly opened fire from
behind the second vehicle.

“They was going past me, zoom, zoom and the window was shattering,”
said Bonds. “Oh Lord! I am alive! Am I dead? What’s going on? I’m not
even 21 yet!”

Bonds said that her head snapped forward a little when the bullet hit
her, and that there was a small amount of blood, but that she never
lost consciousness.

“In the back of my head, it was like bam!” said Bonds. “That’s how it felt. It was hot, you could feel it.”

Bonds sped away from the store to another parking lot where she called
police, who found the 40-caliber slug tangled in her hair. Police say
that her weave prevented it from penetrating her skull.

“One of (the bullets) hit the back of my head. Luckily, it didn’t go
through because the back of my wig,” said Bonds. “My wig had stopped
it. It was hanging in my hair. It was about this small scrunched up.”

“I’ve been wearing it for years. I’ve invested a lot of money into this
weave,” said Bonds. “It saved my life. It saved my life.”

Police arrested both Kemp and the other man in the car, and the pair
now face charges for the shooting incident in Jackson County Court.

Pisanello, Luxuria, fifteenth century

From royalty to courtesans

Wigs and weaves have been worn throughout history by men and women as varied as kings and queens, actors, geishas, barristers, and  bishops. Wigs have even been worn on the genitals (they are known as a merkin when worn so.)

At various times powdered, pampered, shellacked and pomaded, wigs can be costly and high maintenance. I’m sure Ms. Bonds feels hers is worth its weight in gold.

Relevant links:

History of wigs from Wikipedia
O Henry’s short story The Gift of the Magi
“Poetry Wig” by Revlon
Definition of slang term wiggin at

Haute couture stilletos out of your dreams — your nightmares!

Photo courtesy of

Taxidermy and couture result in grotesque pair: the $43,000 Dovima by Roger Vivier

Designer Bruno Frisoni, for Roger Vivier, thinks you would like some dead animals on your feet. Not the usual cowhide or alligator though — he’s thinking special, he’s thinking rare and he’s thinking nose-tilting finery along the lines of petal-pink dyed taxidermy birds delicately perched on each toe of the shoe known as “The Dovima.”

Gilding the lily, wearing the bird, screaming luxury

Each dead little bird’s head is adorned with gold and encrusted with crystals. The shoes are further embellished with 24 ct gold-coated mesh, semi-precious stones, jet, satin ribbons, silk chiffon and diamanté. They are kissed with crocodile-skin fashioned into dainty rosettes and made lovingly by hand.

Every pair comes with special protective
crocodile or snakeskin platforms that attach before you wear them to
keep the shoes from ever touching the ground. There is a three month wait after you order them, but think of all the fun you can have finding the perfect bag to go with them while you breathlessly await their arrival.

These shoes look like something Tim Burton would come up with if he did couture, like something Gilda-the-Good-Witch-Gone-Bad would wear, like a shrieking poem to gaudy excess. They scream luxury. These must be intended to delight and enchant the fairytale princess within. They make me think of Cruella DeVille.

Remember the nursery rhyme, Banbury Cross?

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes

Here’s my riff on that for “The Dovima”:

Spend $43,000 on heels in recessionist times
While inflation’s hard fingers crush nickels and dimes

With gold on her heels and birds on her toes
She shall have ridiculousness wherever she goes

Looking good when you’re gone

Copyright Annette Marie Hyder

New fashion trend

“The greatest vanity!” the congregator has said, “the greatest vanity! Everything is vanity!”–Ecclesiastes 1:2

Botox used to be exclusively for the rich and famous. Now, it’s as common as hair color touch-ups and spa wraps. A special visit to a waiting-list-only doctor’s office is not required. You can get Botox at your local spa. And now, you can get it at your funeral home too. Yes, Botox is making inroads into your afterlife.

MSNBC reports:

The recent boom in cosmetic procedures has
raised the bar for many of us when it comes to appearance. And, it
turns out, the dead are no exception.

the population has become increasingly sophisticated about procedures
to enhance their appearance, so have their requests, morticians say,
for smoothing lines, plumping lips and even boosting sagging parts for
that last big special occasion — their funeral.

used to say, just throw me in a pine box and bury me in the back yard,”
says Mark Duffey, president and CEO of Everest Funeral, a national
funeral planning and concierge service. “But that’s all changing. Now
people want to be remembered. A funeral is their last major event and
they want to look good for it. I’ve even had people say, ‘I want you to
get rid of my wrinkles and make me look younger’.”

Read the whole article and find out: why breast implants must be removed before cremation, the way that many  movie stars don’t want anyone to
see them dead because they can’t control their appearance, and how, as our appearance-conscious culture becomes more attuned to looking
good — even to the grave — advanced mortician skills may become as highly sought
after as those of a Park Avenue plastic surgeon.

Plastic surgeons of the dead

More from MSNBC:

Morticians have always performed a bit of cosmetic magic when it comes
to recapturing the lifelike appearance of a person who’s passed on.
What’s happening now, however, is some people are making advance
arrangements for these final touches and in ways they never used to
even think about.

Dr. Anthony Youn, a Michigan-based plastic surgeon who’s practiced in Beverly Hills, Calif., and appeared on the television show “Dr. 90210.”

“Society is unfortunately getting more and more vain as time goes on,” says Youn. “Fifty years ago, no one would have thought about how good they’re going to look when they die, but now that’s probably something the ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ talk about. If they die, they want to look good in their casket. It’ll be one last time to show off their new outfit and their plumped lips.”

I don’t agree with Dr. Youn. Fifty years ago people didn’t consider procedures not yet invented, true. But they wanted to be buried in their best clothes. They wanted to look as good as they could. Who is to say they wouldn’t have wanted a little post-vivacity plumping and pampering if it had been available? People have always thought about how they’re going to look when they die.

I think about the elaborate procedures the Egyptians performed in mummifying
their dead and their beautiful funerary art; about the way the death mask was placed
over the mummy head to provide an idealized image of the deceased as a
resurrected being.

Masks of gold are known from pre-Greek Mycenae as early as the 2nd
millennium BC. They were molded in gold leaf on the dead person’s face.
Gold masks were also placed on the faces of the dead kings of Cambodia
and Siam; the mummies of Inca royalty wore golden masks. These golden
masks are thought to have been used to preserve the appearance of the dead and also to preserve the person by magic ritual. The masks enhanced and glamorized the way the person would be remembered.

Getting the princess treatment

So really, all this beautification of the person of the dead is not
new–the fashion in which it is being done is new and so is its availability. You
don’t have to be a princess, anymore, to look good when you’re gone.

Photo courtesy

Burial Mask (Liao Dynasty, 1018 A.D. or earlier). From the tomb of the
Princess Chen and Xiao Shaoju at Qinglongshan Town in Naiman Banner.
Gold. L. 20.5 cm, W. 17.2 cm, Th. 0.05 cm.