18 April 2010

+JMJ+

Punk Catholic Thought of the Week VII

Lewis HeadSpanishGirlMantilla Photobucket
What does a mantilla have in common with the mohawk hair style?
Well, they probably don't really have anything in common except for the fact that I wouldn't mind sporting either of them.

I actually do sport one of them on a regular basis . . . but I think that kills the connection even more.

Mantillas and mohawks could not be more different. Just try, moreover, to wear a mantilla over your mohawk; you'd have to tame the latter into some submission first. No matter how punk you are, you can't be in-your-face about your punkness when you're at Mass. What's really odd, therefore, is that the mantilla--or any sort of traditional head covering for women--can have a very in-your-face effect as well.

I've written about that before and don't really want to repeat myself now. For me, the fun of wearing a head covering (And why shouldn't it also be fun?) has nothing at all to do with politics, and everything to do with fashion. I like the way a veil can make an outfit.

It is for similar fashion related reasons that I'd get a mohawk--a soft, feathered hawk in my natural colour. I do think certain ways of styling it are very, if counter-intuitively, feminine. I wear a faux hawk as often as I can get away with it.

(There are some women with long hair who get it cut short--above the shoulders, I presume--for Lent. Since they take pride in their "crowning glory," the haircut makes a good mortification. Not quite willing to go all the way there, I asked my stylist to give me a perm instead. I had hoped--and therefore, feared--that it would be curly and hard to manage, but the soft waves he gave me turned out both beautiful and easy to take care of. I guess I wasn't clear enough about wanting something penitential. Next year, I'll go for a mohawk. All or nothing for Lent.)

A few months ago, I ran into my former nursery school teacher after Mass, and she asked me whether I'd like to have her grandmother's old mantillas. Of course I said yes--and some time later, I found myself digging through a whole suitcase full of old lace veils. (Windfall!)

I've wanted to write about them since then, but didn't know how to "punk" them up enough.

And then came something for the Writing Diary . . .

Just a few days ago, the woman behind the new blog Will You Mantilla with Me? asked me to contribute a guest post to her site. She said she would be very interested in a modified version of the post Mantillas on My Mind at my old blog, and I agreed that would be a good start. If I'm lucky, she'll let me write about the suitcase of veils as well. I'm brimming over with not-so-punky ideas . . .

Image Sources: a) Head of a Spanish Girl Wearing a Mantilla by John Frederick Lewis, b) Horse's Mane Mohawk

22 comments:

Sullivan McPig said...

I think people make too much fuss about the headcovering. I can understand why you wouldn't want someone to totally cover his or her face in public, but a veil or other headcovering is nothing to work yourself up about.
Love both pictures btw!!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Especially if it's only worn in church!

Thanks, Sully. =)

r said...

Inversely, as a man, I wear a hat in public and take it off in church. This places the countercultural part of my headcovering outside the church, rather than inside it.

Not that being in church in the first place isn't countercultural, so really I don't have to break my rebellious stride at all.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Would that hat by any chance be a fedora? =)

r said...

Indeed, what else is there?

Michael said...

A trilby (Sinatra)

A porkpie (Astaire)

Just to name two.

But yes, a fedora (Grant) is quite nice.

A fixture on my grandpa's head when I was growing up. My first choice closely followed by the wool trilby.

r said...

My choice these days is between a felt or a straw fedora, but I would love to have a more extensive collection in the future.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Those are great hats, Michael! =D

And old Hollywood can't be beaten when it comes to elegance and glamour!

Dauvit Balfour said...

@Michael

I've always wondered what exactly defined the trilby. I'm new to hats, though there's an excellent shop here in town.

How lovely it would be, to see all the ladies in mantillas, and all the men holding classic hats at Mass on Sunday.

Michael said...

@Dauvit Balfour

I've always wondered what exactly defined the trilby.

It is very similar to the fedora only with a narrower brim and sometimes made with tweed.

I'm new to hats, though there's an excellent shop here in town.

Ah, well then, consider yourself blest.

How lovely it would be, to see all the ladies in mantillas, and all the men holding classic hats at Mass on Sunday.

Well in my neck of the woods all the ladies wear head coverings in church (though rarely is a mantilla seen) but the men do not wear hats, at least not to church.

Michael said...

@Enbrethiliel

And old Hollywood can't be beaten when it comes to elegance and glamour!

There is a mini-resurgence of the old Hollywood style of dress in some parts of the US today.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I do know that some young girls (and by "young," I mean younger than I am!) are taking Audrey Hepburn for their style icon once again. =) Much better than anyone we have around today!

Michael said...

Well I'm guessing you are around 30 so that is a good sign. :-)

paul bowman said...

& hats.

paul bowman said...

& more!

(Bonus: What phenomenon loosely linked to emergence of American Catholicism in national culture 'gave American men the freedom to abandon the wearing of hats'?)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Uh . . . Vatican II?

(Bwahahahahaha! But seriously, I don't know!)

paul bowman said...

Did you read it? hmm?

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I read the headline! LOL!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Oh, him. Believe it or not, though, if you had asked me which famous American Catholic man didn't like wearing hats, I would have said his brother Bobby. I read Bobby's biography by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in which that rebellious fashion choice was mentioned, but I've hardly read anything about John and the same.

paul bowman said...

I don't know much about JFK either (or the fashion trends of the '60s). Taking Rasmussen's word for it.

paul bowman said...

Man ... suits, ties, overcoats ... snap-brim hats!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

It's all very cute, but I just remembered that this is a thread about women's head coverings in church! =)

It's going to be locked now, as are all the old Punk Catholic Thought posts.