I was recently looking at some videos on rivkamalka.com, with the aim of seeing a tichel style tutorial that had been recommended. Indeed, the style itself and the ideas presented with it was very nice (for that, I can recommend the site), but it also presented a certain sort of ideology about head-covering that I find both tremendously attractive and uncomfortable and possibly even dangerous, all at once.
This ideology includes a variety of claims, coming down to something like this:
1. Covering my hair gives me something that I share only with my husband, and that is its main purpose
2. Covering my hair makes me beautiful, and one can't be beautiful and sexy at once
3. More of who I am shows when my hair is covered
4. Covering your hair inherently makes your relationship better
The thing is, a lot of the ideology really works for me. I feel really good with a tichel on, and I think that it is beautiful. And I would rather be beautiful than sexy, out in the world. But I don't like the sort of claim that tries to make beauty exclusive. It's a hard enough thing without such limitations. If being sexy is what makes someone feel beautiful, I don't want to deny that experience, for all that I personally wish that they would save that sort of beauty for private. This point is something of a contradiction for me.
Am I "more me" to the world with my hair covered? I don't think so. At least, nothing seems so different in how people react to me, so far. I'm perceived as more Orthodox than I had been. But is that "more like myself"?
The real issue that I have is that last claim. It's a lot like the claim they make about niddah: keeping taharat hamishpacha will make your marriage better and stronger. Sometimes that's true. Sometimes- not so much. It's a mitzvah, and so you do it, and if there are rewards, then good, and if not, then that's a gift you give to God, or something of the sort.
I also question the first claim, going back to basics. If one keeps tzniut in any way, there's a whole bunch of body that your husband is the only one who sees, so making hair one more of those things just seems like more, not something special in particular about covering your hair.
And yet, I'm very attached to this practice, and I find it meaningful. If this ideology doesn't work for me, what makes it so compelling?