When last we left our heroes, Prince Charming had rescued the beautiful Rapunzel from her prison tower by having her cut off her incredibly long hair and then use it as a rope to lower herself down to him. (We're talking real long hair here folks! Todays' world records are a joke in comparison. But of course this was a long time ago when amazing things happened, liked seas parting and rainstorms for 80 days and stuff, so it probably didn't seem quite as astounding back then.) The two then ran away to his kingdom, ditching the evil Witch (Agnes Edwina Witch III) who had imprisoned Rapunzel. They left to his kingdom, married, and lived happily ever after (or so the story goes).
The truth is there was more to that story, much of which was censored out to make for a much more pure story for children. Plus way back then there were no printing presses and every story had to be typeset by hand which was a real pain in the ass, so obviously stories were kept short.
But the truth is, for us fans of long haired women, Rapunzel and her hair had a great effect on the people of her time and her legacy continues on to this very day.
To better appreciate this tale you must remember this all took place in the year.... Well, I actually don't know the year, but suffice it to say it was a long time before you were born. Much of today's wonderful achievements like computers, the automobile, indoor plumbing and canned beer hadn't been invented yet. In fact the calendar hadn't even been invented yet, which explains why all the stories started "Once upon a time." You couldn't say "Once last week" when no one knew what a 'week' was. So anyway, here is really how the story ended.
Prince Edward Charming and the lovely Rapunzel, who was still a little irate about her now basically bald head, returned on Edward's horse to his kingdom in England. How the horse was able to swim the channel holding two people on his back no one knows (and Eddie was no string bean either, with years of eating only the finest foods and a totally sedentary lifestyle. Of course Rapunzel was fairly heavy in the derriere herself from all those years sitting in the tower. What was she going to do? Jog?!).
Agnes Witch, totally pissed about this turn of events
since she had booked upcoming appearances on Oprah, Leno, and Letterman
for her long-haired prisoner, immediately set out to find the couple and
unload her wrath which, if it was even half as strong as her body odor,
was powerful. Trouble was back in those days there were only two classes,
the wealthy royalty and the poor, famished, wretched masses that made up
everyone else (I guess some things really don't change in time). Thus an
obsession for many was to prove they were of royalty so they could join
the elite group, and thanks to a surplus of lawyers there ended up being
Princes, Lords, and Dukes everywhere. Of course not many actually had any
money or even a place you could call a kingdom, but the title did get them
invited to lots of great parties and box seats at the Coliseum. The point
is it was real hard to locate any one particular Prince. The fact she knew
Edward Charmings' last name was hardly any help as Charming was the number
one most common name for royalty back then. Edward alone had two other
brothers, both Princes. This was a fact Edward didn't initially share with
Rapunzel, as his family had a rather embarrassing track record with women.
First there was his oldest brother, Myron, who met his future wife in a graveyard. She was an absolute beauty and about to be buried, but came to life when he kissed her. Turns out she was only sleeping and his bad breath snapped her out of it. (The doctor that pronounced her dead was in court for years over that one. He did get off as the jury felt anyone who slept for 2 years straight should be considered terminally lazy if not dead.) About six months after they married, when his fetish for kissing dead people was later discovered his wife promptly filed for divorce and took Myron for everything.
About a year later Myron came across his second wife, again in a graveyard, as she was about to be buried by seven midget miners with big ears. Of course he had to go and kiss her too and she woke up and they went off to live happily ever after. But when she discovered he had no kingdom she bolted and was never heard from again. She was a strange one though, with this total irrational fear of little old ladies and red apples.
Myron himself disappeared about 6 months ago. Rumor has it he lost a bet with a Witch, possibly a relative of Agnes, and refused to pay up. As a result she turned him into a frog, and he'd stay that way until a princess came along and kissed him. The likelihood of finding a Princess with a frog fetish was real bad, so the family had already considered him dead and divided up his few remaining possessions.
Edward's other brother, Ralph, was a little luckier. He met his wife, Ella, at a big dance at his dads' palace. She played so hard to get she literally ran away from him as the clock struck midnight. In the wrestling match that ensued all he could grab was one of her shoes. Always one for a challenge, he took that shoe all over the kingdom until he found her. Of course she turned out to be lazy and a slob. Her stepmother had worked her hard cleaning cinders from the chimney on slave portions, but it did result in a svelte figure with toned muscles for 'Cinder' Ella. Once married she just kicked back and did nothing but eat. The royal cook had to work overtime to feed her and she got huge. But Ralph loved her and even designed a balloon in her image which he proudly had displayed during all Royal Functions. It was named a 'Blimp.'
I digress. Back to the story. What Edward learned from his brother Myron was that a Witch like Agnes was no one to mess with and knew that Rapunzel could never be seen in public again with extremely long hair or it could alert her or at least a friend or relative to their location. However he also knew that her long hair was what turned him on to his wife and he certainly wasn't attracted to the woman with the crewcut he was now sharing his bed with. Of course this was at a time before shampoo and conditioner and hair care and no one had nice hair. Everyone had extremely short, stringy hair that was kept that way for convenience and to control the lice problems. Actually a bald Rapunzel really fit in with everyone else. So Edward figured he had to uncover a way for his wife to be seen often in public, but grow her hair out again for him in private. He put his best craftsmen and chemists to the task. It didn't make any difference to him that they were busy trying to control massive plagues and infrastructure collapses in town that were taking lives every day. This was important damn it!
The first thing this group invented was shampoo and conditioner. This was painstaking and expensive so only the princess and other important royal members were allowed to use it. The invention process did have its 'failures'. The first shampoo actually turned out to be a thick gooey substance that actually dried the hair hard and stiff rather than leaving it clean. However it did come in handy for the Princess as it kept her hair neatly in place all day. Its' texture reminded the prince of the jelly on the Royal Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches so it was deemed 'Jel' and marked in jars. But one night during a midnight raid of the kitchen Eddie mistook a jar to be real Jelly and put it on a sandwich. After 5 straight hours of vomiting he decided to change the spelling of the product, and it became known as 'Gel.' That way he'd never mistake it again for food.
The average human hair grows about a 1/2 inch per month. Rapunzel was not average. She was more like a circus freak, as her hair grew about 1/2 inch per day! This made 'Eddie' very happy as she was starting to look desirable again. By their wedding day it was already past her shoulders. Something would have to be done with it so people wouldn't notice it during the wedding and alert them to it's rapid growth. That would also alarm the community of Witches. Eddie didn't want it cut off again, and so the wedding headdress was designed to cover it up. Furthermore, so she could go out on a daily basis, three of his greatest inventors (Horace, Augustus, and Thornton) created a clothing article to cover the head. Not sure what to call it, they simple used the first initial of the creators' names, and the H.A.T. was born.
Eddie brought in one of his promising young artists, Angelina (Buffy) Faunt, who was an exchange student from Paris. She was appointed the first Hairdresser. She discovered by gathering and rolling Rapunzels' hair it could lie flat to her head in front and be easily covered in back. This then was disguised under the headdress. The lump of hair reminded her of a french pastry, and she promptly titled her creation 'The Bun."
The style was a hit with Eddie and Rapunzel and every
time the new Princess left out in public her hair was put in the new style
and covered. But eventually her hair was so long the bun was becoming harder
and harder to disguise. Buffy went to work trying to spread out the mass
of hair more evenly along the back of the head, thus reducing its' size.
She discovered by first twisting the hair in a long coil and then tucking
it under itself the desired result was achieved. Buffy proudly named this
"The French Twist."
Since Rapunzels' hair now reached to her waist, Eddie
was a happy camper. He loved to brush it and play with it. She loved it
too, and would almost purr at his tender touch, which resulted in her nickname
of 'Cat.' He was also becoming a master of different braids. One night
he braided it into 9 separate braids before they made love. But in the
heat of passion the braids flew all over and basically beat Eddie up, leaving
him black and blue with numerous lacerations.
The next day while riding horses with his best friend, Bill Conqueror (known to the rest of the world as William), he mentioned the ordeal. Bill was also in charge of the kingdom police force and penal system, and decided he'd try using the principle with one of his whips. It was a great success and the 'Cat of Nine Tails' was born.
Miss Faunt also played with braids, again trying to keep the hair tight to the head so it could be easily hidden from view. She had great success and called this latest discovery 'The French Braid.'
By the next month, her hair was down to the floor, and the couples' sex life was wild. One time the long strands accidently wrapped around Eddies' neck as Rapunzel got up to use the bathroom and he was almost choked as he was momentarily lifted off the ground. He told Bill about this incident, and again Bill stole the concept for his penal system. The hangman's noose' was thus invented.
By the time Rapunzel had hair over 12 feet long, Eddie was becoming very nervous that Agnes Witch would soon show up and spoil the party. His advisors suggested finding some women in the kingdom who looked like his wife to act as decoys in case the Witch showed up. A search was promptly made and 10 women were brought to the castle. They were the first 'body doubles', and their job was basically to hang out and wait for something to happen so the police could move in and take Agnes away. They became known as 'Ladies in Waiting,'
Unfortunately they all had nearly bald heads, which of
course would change in time since they were now allowed to use the
shampoo and conditioner, but something had to be done in the meantime. It was decided Rapunzel would cut off about 6 feet of her own hair (it would still reach the floor even after the cut) and the hair would be made into a false head of hair to be placed on one of the decoys. Thus the 'wig' was invented.
Rapunzel really didn't want another haircut, but conceded
to her husbands' wish, on the condition it was done very quickly so she
couldn't chicken out. A search was made for the quickest way to chop off
the 6 foot section. The invention decided on was from a Watermelon slicer
from the region of Tinne named Justin Guile. The hair was placed in a large
circular opening and a huge blade chopped it neatly off in a split second.
Bill was on time to watch the Royal Haircut and decided it would make a
great execution device if a head were placed in the opening instead. It
was named after its' inventor, the 'Guile-of-Tinne.'
Eventually the 'Ladies in Waiting' started having hair that reached to their shoulders or more. However none had the same haircolor as Rapunzel. A local painter came up with a special paint for hair which would change the color to match the Princess. That painters' name was Bradley Clairol.
Rapunzel now had hair nearly 20 feet in length, and Miss Faunt had long since given up on the French Twist. Now she simply wound the hair around and around and pinned it in place so it was even all over. A good size H.A.T. could easily fit over this style which still rose several inches above her head from all the mass. But Angelina had a more difficult time copying the look with the limited lengths of her 'Ladies in Waiting.' She had to invent a way of producing much more mass with limited resources, and discovered that by combing the hair the wrong way could produce massive tangles that made the hair appear much more massive then it really was. 'Backcombing' was thus invented and it allowed the decoys to match the real thing, at least from a distance. Proud of her new style for the medium length hair, Angelina decided to name the creation after herself. 'The Angefaunt' just didn't have a ring to it, and everyone knew her as Buffy anyway. Thus 'The Buffaunt' was born.
A year later Rapunzel had hair nearly 30 feet long. She
had to stand on the third story of the castle, then drape her hair over
the edge so Buffy could comb it out after being washed. To reach it the
inventors created 'Scaffolding.' Eddie was so proud of the site of the
long hair dripping water to the ground he had his artists create a moving
tribute to it. They designed 'The Waterfall."
Wrapping the hair up now took almost an hour for Buffy, and the finished mass rose nearly two feet above her head. It was a solid tower of hair, and was so inspiring to look at Eddie had similar 'Towers' constructed all over his castle. This was copied in all future castles around the world. Now the hat required to cover it was a huge cone like object, which can be seen still in numerous paintings from the King Arthur period. It also led to the cone being used in Architecture and to hold ice cream.
For the 'Ladies in Waiting', the amount of backcombing necessary to try and match the style was very severe. One of the girls (Bea Thompson) noted the huge mass of tangles looked like it a giant hotel for head lice. Buffy named the look after the girl, and from then on it was called a 'Beahive.'
It took years but finally the fate of Agnes Witch was learned by all. So desperate was she to find the couple that she had traveled all the way to the new colonies of North America. Unfortunately in a town called Salem she showed off a bit to a friend and started a huge frenzy that went on for years. She was burned at the stake, thus ending the threats to Eddie and Rapunzel. The Princess could now go out in public and show off her wonderful mane.
They decided to have a second wedding, a renewal of their
vows, as the way to first show off her fabulous tresses. As she walked
down the aisle of the church with her hair dragging far behind her the
thousands of guests were dumbstruck. It was so gorgeous that all felt it
had to become part of every wedding. But since no one had hair so long,
future weddings instead had material drag along behind the bride as a tribute
to the Princess, and the 'wedding train' was founded.
And the couple truly went on to live happily ever after.
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