There are many nervous habits. The most familiar ones are twitching, fidgeting, and grimacing.
A less known nervous habit is hair-twirling. This is most often observed in women with long hair. Let us say a woman is taking a difficult exam in college. She may twirl her hair so much that it becomes hopelessly entangled around her neck.
Up until recently, nervous hair twirlers were mostly in the closet. They were ashamed to admit that they had a problem. But now, more people are stepping forth and speaking about their problem to others.
Today, I will describe what went on in a support group for nervous hair-twirlers. Every person in the group had long struggled with the problem. Often, a friend or family member had urged the person to come to the support group.
Sheila, the group leader, spoke first. She said, “Welcome, everybody. I want you all to feel comfortable here. I am a hair twirler myself.”
Sheila had a large afro. It was challenging for her to twirl her hair. But she nervously tried. She said, “Even if I twirl a small proportion of my hair, it seems to lessen my anxiety.”
The next person to speak was Alicia. She had a long ponytail tied with a scrunchie. Her ponytail hung conveniently forward over her shoulder.
Alicia said, “I used to look punk with short, green hair. But my hair was so hard to twirl. I grew it out so that I could wear it like this.”
Alicia seized her ponytail and began to twirl it. She said, “I know I have a problem. But when I twirl my hair, I feel more in control of my life.”
The next person was a man, by the name of Alfred. He had dark, longish hair and sideburns. Alfred said, “It is especially hard for a man to admit that he is a hair twirler. But I want to be honest about it. I am the CEO of a large IT company. If I did not twirl my hair and my sideburns, I would not be able to function.”
Alfred demonstrated by twirling both his hair and sideburns. Alicia said, “I think it looks good when you do that. Are you really a CEO? Are you married?”
Sheila, the group leader, had to intervene. She said, “No flirting by group members.”
The next person to speak was Daisy. She was a famous actress incognito. She was wearing a cloak and bonnet that she had borrowed from a movie lot. To further conceal her identity, she spoke with a Lithuanian accent.
Daisy said, in a heavy accent, “I twirl my hair all the time. I cannot help it.”
Alfred said, “I can’t even see your hair under that bonnet.”
Daisy pulled a curl of dark hair out from her bonnet. She twirled it briefly. Then she replaced it in the bonnet.
Sheila said, “I would like to hear from some other group members.”
Jonathan spoke up. He was totally bald. The other group members wondered how he could be a hair twirler.
Jonathan said, “I twirl my eyebrows all the time. They used to be a lot thicker. But sometimes I pulled too hard when I twirled. That would cause a hair to fall out.”
The group members murmured. They sounded very understanding.
The next person to speak was Augusta, a snobbish-sounding British woman. Augusta had a complicated hairdo that was piled up high and secured with many bobby pins.
Jonathan asked curiously, “How do you twirl your hair without causing it all to fall down?”
Augusta replied contemptuously, “I twirl it very gingerly, with my pinky finger. It is the same way I drink tea.”
Sheila again felt a need to intervene. She said, “Come now, everyone. This is a support group. We should all be supportive of one another. There is no need for contentiousness.”
Sheila noticed the wall clock. It was 7:00 p.m., time for the meeting to end. She said, “We must wind this up. I look forward to seeing you all next week.”
Everyone left the room. People filed in as they arrived for the next support group. This group was for politicians who had gotten in trouble for sexual harassment.
In this case, none of the politicians came in person. They all sent their butlers.