Fashion Scalps for Baldkeads.
The wigs of this generation differ from those of bygone ages in the matter of the superficial areas they cover. Last century, when a man wore a wig, he wore a wig. Nowadays seven men wear " scalps " to one man with an honest all-the-way-round wig. A "scalp" is a very pretty toy, and varies in price in arithmetical proportion to its area. The man who uses a healthy threehorse power black dye, or has a naturally dark, heavy crop of hair around his skull, with a glossy bald spot coming down the middle, can purohase a pretty fair scalp to suit his purposes for from 253 up. The delicate blonde, however, whose silky tresses were too ethereal to live on the top of his head, has to be far more extravagant, and pay from two and ahalf to five guineas for a topknot to match what silken tresses remain around the edges of his skull. These scalps are wonderful little affairs, and have to be manufactured with far more care and trouble than even the finest Spanish lace. The basis of a Bcalp is a delicate network of thread or hair moulded around to fit the top of the head like a cap. The hairs are sewn on to it one at a time, knotted into the meshes of the net, and trained in different directions from' a given line, which represents the parting worn by tho owner before the top of Mb head became a sterile hairless waste.
Very few hairs are inserted in the line of parting, and they are trained down neatly over; the forehead, so as to cover the spot the substratum of network covers the skin, in a most ingenious manner. Indeed, some scalps are so beautifully blended in with the remaining original hairs as to defy detection, and the network is so fine that it can scarcely be seen with a microscope, even at the parting where the bald skin shows through. But the masculine head is a hard thing to thoroughly disguise, whereas that of a woman affords ample opportunities' for deception. If a man's forehead gets bald, he cannot wear a false fringe, or " bang" as they call it in America. Hairpins won't
grip in male hair, and one can't very well glue on a section of a wig, because glue is uncomfortable, and, moreover, will not adhere to the human skin in a permanent or satisfactory manner. In the matter of fringes the fair sex has all the advantages over its homelier admirer. Ladies' wigs and scalps—and lots of ladies wear them, though, of course, the ordinary manof commerce is supposed to know nothing about it—are made just in the same manner as men's, only the hair, of course, is longer and finer.
The prices vary, as masculine scalps do, the cheapest being ordinary coarse black hair, and the dearest real undyed white. Fine golden and blonde hair_ is expensive, but good old grey or pure white commands the highest price in the market; as much as LIOO having been offered for a good head of white hair. But then, as a rule, ladies wear false plaits, which they just tie on to their own and spread them over bald patches on the top of their heads in that dexterous way that only a woman can. Such plaits can be purchased for from 10s upwards. In the same way they can rivet on a fringe with two hairpins, and stick in a little curl here, and a little curl there, in odd corners of their heads, so as to ravish the eyes of an admirer, at 7s per curl. Ladies call scalps bandeaux, because feminine toilet affairs are always veiled beneath that chaste garb of modesty afforded bj French names. The average price for a bandeaux is 10s an inch, measuring from the end of the bald spot to the forehead. A loupte, or extensive scalp, with all requirements for the top of the head, costs from L 3 to L 4, whereas a complete outfit for a bald lady's head may be had for from L 8 to LlO, or even as high as LSO or LIOO. Of course the cheaper prices are in ordinary shades and ordinary quantities of hair. Extra plaits mount up, and fancy crops of hair command fabulous prices. To do them justice women are less sensitive about being detected wigs than men are, and do not seem to mind bo much when a fringe comes off in a hat or a curl remains in the antimacassar. Under such circumstances they generally only just smile; while a man whose scalp gets the least bit crooked looks awfully sheepish. But then it is woman's mission to be as pretty as she can, and who shall blame her for calling in art to help improvident Nature in making her so; whereas man, to use a Celticism, is a horse of another color. Deception with him is an attempt to beautify the unbeautifiable rather than an effort to render existing loveliness more lovely stili. •'You are a divine talker, and all too charming a lover," remarked a frank but painted damsel to the olever but uglyfeatured John Wilkes; adding at the same time : " Why don't you hide your homeliness like I do, knowing that paint is so cheap." "Madam," responded Wilkes, "if you could see yourself as others see you, you would know that in order to hide my ugliness I should have to make the whoie world blind."
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Fashion Scalps for Baldkeads., Evening Star, Issue 7905, 13 May 1889
Fashion Scalps for Baldkeads. Evening Star, Issue 7905, 13 May 1889
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