Sunday, May 07, 2006

Something new, something old

I wore one of my new “knitted bathing caps” to Minyan Rimonim at Ansche Chesed this morning. Here’s my reaction.

The disadvantages of wearing a knitted kisui rosh (head-covering), not necessarily in order of priority:
It flattens my hair.

It’s tight and uncomfortable, bordering on painful and headache-inducing.

It sits low enough on my forehead to feel weird (and can get hot in a place without air conditioning, as at home, when I forget to turn on the AC before Shabbat/Sabbath. [Hmm, do we have a timer around here somewhere?]). But, if I move it up, it looks less like a woman's garment. My recollection is that Jewish women who wear this type of kisui rosh do wear them fairly low on the foreheard, covering their bangs.

As I was saying, more or less, it covers my bangs, the only part of my short hair that’s worth looking at.

The advantages of wearing a knitted kisui rosh:

It’s close enough in appearance to a kippah s’rugah (“knitted [crocheted] yarmulkah/skullcap) to make me feel that I'm wearing an identiably-Jewish garment.

It covers my bangs, the only part of my short hair that’s worth looking at.


Having my bangs covered is, on the one hand, tough on my vanity, which is disadvantageous. On the other hand, since my bangs are the only part of my hair that really look obviously dirty when not shampooed daily, having my bangs covered eliminates my only excuse for shampooing my hair on Shabbat and Yom Tov, which is assur (forbidden). Therefore, as of this morning, I’m no longer shampooing my hair on Shabbat (Sabbath) and Yom Tov (major holiday).

After shul, I took a nostalgia stroll down Riverside Park, past some of the playgrounds where we used to take our son when we still lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and when we returned for visits. That’s when I figured out that there may be another good reason for me not to wear a hat at all times—I came home with a mild case of heat prostration. (I tend to be sensitive to heat, a problem which our son inherited, unfortunately.) I’ve heard that wearing a hat in the winter helps keep one’s body heat in. Unfortunately, that may work just as well in hot weather as in cold—once I’m out of the sun and don’t need the visor or brim, the hat must come off so that I can cool down.



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