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Methleigh

Severus' Hair, for the snapedom January Challenge

Severus' Hair, for the snapedom January Challenge

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sherlock.  not good?
I have thought about Snape's hair. It is greasy. It is black. It is shoulder-length. Snape is not handsome and he 'has better things to worry about than whether his hair has bounce.' (the_iscariot - though I may not have remembered the wording perfectly.)

On the other hand he values precision and diligence and strikes me as fastidious, with his buttons and black. Potions is an exacting discipline. Given his diction, vocabulary, posture and stiff formality, he has worked hard to overcome the class and place in which he grew up. I have him tutored by the Malfoys in what they regard as basic civilisation. As he moves among the death-eaters from the pureblood families with their exacting social dance, indeed even watches, listens and interprets as a spy, he must have learned well.

He is not going to indulge himself in slovenly personal hygiene. I have him suffering this as a boy, with lack of opportunity for cleanliness. His mother does not value it, or he would have been better cared-for on the train, would have had reasonable clothing, even if it was old. Abusive parents would not tolerate a child less than well-scrubbed unless they really didn't care about it for themselves either. I also have him hating this and jealous. A father unwilling to pay for hot water, a mother too lazy to clean the bathroom or wash the towels.

He would do all he could to put this behind him. He is proud, hates it when others laugh at him, look down on him. He is desperately embarrassed by his grey underclothes. He is not going to neglect washing. I see him as scrupulous.

Yet his hair is greasy.

Why? I think the answer is simple - it is a direct result of his profession. He has spent years bending over steaming, smoking cauldrons, permeating himself in a complex and ever-changing miasma of damp air. His hair is going to suffer. It is going to become weighed down with sweat and moisture, it is going to become infused with the vapours of so many ingredients, some poisonous, some foul, most of them extraordinary and selected to produce magical effects of one type or another.

It is certainly possible, and even likely that such a condition would be relatively unaffected by washing in the usual way. Even the usual spells of cleansing might be insufficient in such a case of mixed and varied magic and combinations of dilute magical components.

He appears to have greasy hair. But in my writing it is clean and he is also clean. While he is not going to spend any time creating new potions and spells to ensure it has bounce, he certainly washes regularly. I have him bathing more frequently than others, having been deprived of cleanliness in his childhood and having more need due to his chosen if noxious working conditions.
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