There seems to be some truth about the link between hair and vanity, or as some people put it, the existential right to look good. These days, the most popular Filipino salon services are hair relax and hair rebond in which vertically challenged hair strands are whipped down to limp obedience. These services cost anywhere between a days wages to a month’s salary but women, members of the third sex and those of undetermined genders still line up for them.
I’m not sure but I have a feeling all my years with nuns have influenced my hairstyle preferences, or my lack thereof. My hair is either pulled back in the same style as those worn by Filipino women past their prime and sanity or cut androgynously short. I only had my hair treated twice in my entire life. On the first occasion, I had it stretched because the service came free with my hair trim. The second time was two days ago when I had it relaxed. Like a fool, I had fallen for the hairdresser’s sales talk and tried to convince myself that I had willfully consented because I had pitied him for his obvious desperation to bag a customer. Maybe I was partly convinced when he told me that my hair wasn’t any nicer than a string of frozen beans.
It was then that I realized that there are far more painful things than being treated by a gynecologist. There is nothing relaxing about a hair relax! Halfway through the procedure my scalp felt like it was being peeled away by a Sioux Indian who was practicing his first scalping. I was convinced that the chemicals had seeped into my skull and blood-brain barrier and caused even more damage to my already scattered gray matter.
The worst part was that I couldn’t tell right after whether my hair looked more like Snoopy’s ears or an ancient Egyptian wig. As one of my students put it, I could pretend to be Cleopatra. My husband just has to comb his hair to the front to look like Marc Antony. Our kid is already too much of a tyrant not to resemble Cleopatra’s son, Caesarion. If we lived 2000 years ago, we would have looked like royalty. Right now, I just look like a cross between a beagle and a dead queen.
I need to find out which is more fashionable, a shaved head or a veil.