"Is she or isn't she?" used to be the tag line for Harmony hairspray but today it's more likely to be asked of the Rapunzelesque tresses that are cascading down our screens and High Streets from LA to Walthamstow.
Tressie kicked off the trend back in the 1970's - I used to love poking her giant plastic omphalos to make her hair grow. Plastic dolls had it easy back in the seventies. Today our living, breathing plastic doll Jordan, the grand poobah for artifice, pays £6,000 every three months to maintain her extensions. No wonder the global industry is now valued at £2 billion per year, with almost all of the hair used to make extensions coming from China, South America and India where women are paid around $10 to sacrifice their crowning glory.
On the down side a tumbling tussling head of hair worthy of Lady Godiva, if not one's own, can bring about traction alopecia and penury. I've always been envious of Elle Macpherson's tumescent mane, but at times even her barnet resembles overgrown wisteria.
Chris Rock's documentary 'Good Hair', makes fascinating viewing, it examines the cultural anthropology of black women's reliance on weaves and extensions. It has kicked off a rebellion against the tyranny of bought hair and caustic hair relaxing chemicals with the actresses Thandie Newton and Viola Davis at the vanguard of going au natural.
Have you ever tried extensions? I had a fringe glued on 6 days before my wedding. That went well. After an excruciating 48-hour jackhammer headache I picked off the glue bonds and chunks of my hair in a claustrophobic frenzy that ended with me panting on the floor and shouting: 'Freedom!'