Hairy Beasts!

HAIR! Hair is often among the first descriptors. Second only to tall or short, in physical descriptions of a character. This is true in the realm of people as well MONSTERS. The hairy beast, the hairless alien and everything in-between, inhabit all varieties of genre fiction.

I always laugh at this line from Warren Zevon’s fabulous song WEREWOLF OF LONDON: I saw a werewolf drinkin’ a pina colada at Trader Vic’s, his hair was perfect. It paints a vivid picture of a creature who is both a “hairy gent” and beast with a scary appetite for more than Chinese food in SoHo.

Flip open a classic mystery and you’re likely to find a raven-haired femme fatal or an astute detective with silver hair on one of the first pages. Romance novels simply cannot exist with beautiful hair. Long wild hair or a smooth chignon are often used to project the inner life of a female character — while in real life hair is much more likely to be a reflection of ethnicity, genetics, fashion and patience.

Yes, patience! If I were to “tame” my curly hair each morning I wouldn’t have time to write anything at all. Once, years ago, two hairdressers armed with flat irons, blow dryers and copious amounts of hair product, spent 45 minutes temporarily straightening my hair. For a few days I had the hair I dreamt of as a child — long and straight. But I did not feel like me.

Does my thick mop of ringlets project a haphazard and somewhat fuzzy thought process beneath the curls? In a book it might. If I were to be morphed in a monster version of myself — a werewolf Candy or perhaps some kind of creature from another planet — my hair would be even bigger and more complicated. It might even project some kind of energy force field. I might enjoy that as, oddly enough, my hair has none of the static electricity needed to stick balloons to walls. (Strange but true.)

Hairy beasts, bald wise men, crones with silver plaits, hunky heroes with waves to their shoulders and ingénues with tresses hanging down their backs… Who is your favorite hairy character? Do you think the outside reveals the inside of a character? Or just the amount of time they spend on grooming?



  1. I suppose I should accept your hair does not make you who you are but no-one seems satisfied with what they have.My hair is straight and I’d have given anything for it to have had some body
    (Still mine) and perhaps a few curls. My daughter has curls and I hate to see her with straight hair, like yours, it does not seem to be her. She is naturally blonde but when she has straight hair it looks fake.
    Straight want curly,and often vice versa Brown want blonde and maybe less so the other way but why aren’t we happy with what we’ve got?
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • Candy Korman

      The grass is always greener — and the hair is always “better” on the other side of the street!

      I’ve seen, and experienced, the way people draw conclusions about individuals (and fictional characters) by their hair. I think it’s one of those descriptors worth delving into and, as a writer, using against type to shake up the hairy beasts and their friends.

  2. Hair is such a strong part of our personal style and indicator of who and what we are. I am often reminded of the character od Uncle Jesse from the show Full House (yep I went there). The man was in love with his hair and used more product than a typical hair salon.

    • Candy Korman

      We all have our HAIRY associations and hair rituals — the comb-over guys, the women with curly hair obsessed with making it straight, and more.

      But it’s always astonished me how many “bad” girl characters are brunettes and how many “good” girls are blondes. How many redheads are “fiery” and how many women, like me, with super curly hair are thought of as a bit “wild” or “disorderly.” I think HAIR is used to fast track readers to quick conclusions. It’s interesting.

      Of course that thick coat of fur on a werewolf really is part of his defining characteristics — that and the TEETH. What big teeth you have, grandma…

  3. My childhood best friend Misty had hair that hung past her butt. Her mom braided it every morning, and even picked out her clothes throughout all of elementary school. Hair washing days were the worst too and it only happened once a week. Mom had to help her, and they always got in a fight. And guess what, as soon as she was out from mommy’s thumb, she chopped it all off! It must have felt so freeing. Long hair can literally be such a drag.

    • Candy Korman

      My childhood was all about “taming” my hair. We tried everything including chemicals, and, yes, it was mother/daughter torture all the time. Until they made me chop it short. It wasn’t until I was an adult — in very recent years — that I learned I could have long hair without trying to turn it into straight (AKA normal) hair. I even go to a salon that specializes in curly hair. It’s the only salon I’ve ever walked into where they didn’t talk about blowing it straight.

      For me, liberation was accepting the curls. For her it was cutting the weight pulling her down from her scalp. Hairy problems!

      Chris Rock made a movie about “Good Hair.” It’s about what African American women go through to have hair that looks professional, sexy, acceptable, done, etc. It was quite a film! I totally understood the craziness and, having gone through some of it as a kid, I identified with some of the women. Someone recently said I had “bad” hair and, by their definition, I do. In the film the talk was about ‘natural’ versus all the processes.

      Anyway, I went with my friend who is Asian. She has the hair that is best for weaves and extensions. The conversation in the ladies room after the movie was one of the best parts of the film. It was all girls, all hair and all over the place.