It’s pretty much universally agreed that lice are to be avoided. But it turns out that there are people to whom lice represent not the nadir of childhood—that is, the awful confluence of nit combs, long hours stuck in a chair, and ostracism by the Temple Beth Am preschool class of 1983—but something rather more promising: a business opportunity. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these people are Orthodox housewives in Brooklyn, who are so practiced at picking critters out of their own children’s hair that they’ll happily do it for others, at a price. Today’s Jewish Chronicle peeks into the teeming world of lice-removal services, where pros like Abigail “The Lice Lady” Rosenfeld and L’via “The Lice Queen” Weisinger charge up to $200 a head to suffocate and remove nits kids have picked up at summer camp or on trips to Israel.
Reporter Paul Berger offers up a few theories about why Orthodox women are particularly keen on the lice business, including the idea that Orthodox women come with easily transferable skills learned by picking tiny insects out of fruits and vegetables. Of course, lice also involve children and, frequently, the rules of private yeshiva schools, which require parents to certify their kids are nit-free before showing up for class in September. It’s also something, not irrelevantly, women can do for a living without violating codes of modesty. For now, it seems to be primarily a New York thing, but—like lice—it might be spreading: Aude Prevost, a London mother of three, told Berger she was thinking of starting her own outpost of LiceBustersNYC, an outfit she recently visited with her infested brood. “People would pay a fortune,” she said.
Orthodox Women Offer De-Licing Service at $200 a Head [Jewish Chronicle]
Related: Modest Sums [Tablet]