Have you ever seen an aidel maidel with curly hair? Think of all the girls who get praised by the teachers or a million shidduch suggestions. How many of them have curly hair?
This was always a source of consternation for me. How could it be that all the “good” girls had the same hair?
There were non-aidel girls with straight hair too, so it wasn’t like straight hair guaranteed that you were an aidel maidel knaidel. But conversely, you couldn’t be one without it.
Then some wannabe-aidel friends started ironing their hair every day, and I realized the trick. It wasn’t that the genes that code for straight hair also code for aidelkeit. It was simply that the aidel archetype had straight hair. If you were aidel, you didn’t have curls. Simple as that.
Straight hair is tznius. Straight hair is aidel. Straight hair is predictable. It stays in line. It goes where it’s supposed to. It’s neat and orderly. It is sleek and refined. Straight hair is everything a bas Yisroel should be.
Curly hair, on the other hand, is unpredictable. It goes in different ways, and never does the same thing twice. It can be wild, messy, and stubborn. Curly hair is everything a bas Yisroel should avoid being.
There’s an unfair double standard on curly hair. The Falk Theory on Fashion states that anything that is fashionable in the secular velt is untznius. And yet, genuine, naturally curly hair is never in fashion. Straight hair, straight hair with a wave, straight hair with a twist ironed in around the face are all straight out of Hollywood, and somehow, all tznius and aidel. Curly hair, bouncy hair, hair that boings when you pull it, never is.
Curly hair becomes rarer as you get older, with more people trying to pass as more aidel and refined and dressed up. And then it vanishes altogether when you get married; suddenly you can’t recognize your friends as they meld into the uniform blob of 22″, straight-haired sheitels with the same part in the front and the same bangs swept to the side and the same ironed-in twists around the face…
Because when you’re married, you’ve made it. You’ve fulfilled the purpose of your education. You are golden.
You are aidel.