God, her treatment of her hair was a big thing. It was the physical aspect Franz Jospeh most loved about her. Their relationship was pretty rocky, at least as evidenced from Sisi’s poem:
Unserer Liebe starre Leiche
Kamst du wieder zu beschau’n;
Our love’s stiff cadaver
You’ve seen it again
Sisi also became sickly soon after arriving at court. Doctors said it was TB, but there’s actually quite a bit of evidence that it was VD – such as the fact that her teeth rotted and she underwent mercury treatments (which were commonly used to treat syphilis at the time). That also might have explained some of her erratic behavior. The venereal disease would have either been acquired by her husband or by… not her husband. Either way, it wasn’t a great relationship.
So, well, it was nice that she kept her hair up for him. He loved this portrait of her, and kept it in his private study:
Keeping it up took two to three hours a day. Sisi’s hair went to her heels, and it gave her serious headaches, but she treasured every single strand. Her devoted hairdresser Franziska Feifalik collected every hair that fell out when he dressed it each day, put them into a silver bowl, and allowed her to examine them. I have no idea what kind of examination went on with that, but I am going to guess that Franz received some pretty nasty poems. She also had it washed in a special egg and cognac mixture every other week, and on the day she did, all of her court business had to be stopped. When she started to get grey hairs, she also insisted that Franziska tweeze out each one. Her niece once remarked, mockingly “the hairs on Aunt Sisi’s head are numbered.”
And if that seems odd, you should hear about her weight.