Despite the hefty price tag, the salesmanship and the branding; I have very rarely–it’s so rare that I can barely remember and scarcely recall its occurrence–ever had a good haircut. The fact that I have to part with a decent sum of money to have the hair stylist mess it up is not my idea of a good time. Each time I go for a haircut, I feel that I am taking a big risk.
Why am I so unhappy with the experience each time?
The way we choose to wear our hair expresses more than we realise. From caps, to head coverings for religious reasons, to our hair colour: what is on our head speaks volumes to the world about who we are, what we believe, and the pride that we take in our appearance.
For most of my life, I have had long hair. It was–and still is–a common cultural practise to keep long hair. That doesn’t mean that everyone does it or has to do it. During my adolescent years, I spotted a bob for a few years. It generally looked like I had a mushroom atop my head. It was so worrisome that I would wear a headband to keep it looking semi-presentable.
“Is this your real hair?” is a question that is commonly asked these days.
With the number of products available out there to straighten, curl and colour our hair–it seems that making superficial cosmetic changes to our crowning glory is all too easy. During my university years, I spotted red hair, purple hair and at some point experimented with being blond.
While hair dye is not as easy to remove and get rid off like makeup, there is a sense that, “Yes. It will grow back, grow out and so on…” As I ushered in my late 20s, I stopped dyeing my hair completely. I decided I liked it as it was and didn’t want to make all these big changes. I’ve got dark hair again and it’s long again.
Now, coming back to the experience at the hairdresser, it’s always been an ordeal as I’ve lived in countries where people like ‘me’ are part of the minority. The moment my hair is seen or felt, the comments made are never kind.
I have started to grey, so instead of using harsh chemicals, I use henna instead: a natural remedy that’s been used in many parts of the world to tint the greys into a slightly darker shade. When the comments are not about my use of henna, it’s about the fact that my hair isn’t straight.
Many hairdressers who have worked with my hair have described it as messy, frizzy and unruly. But isn’t that a matter of perception? Hair is hair and it’s on your head for a reason–and it’s mainly there to protect your head from overheating or getting too cold. Hair loss also isn’t uncommon as one ages.
Fashion trends come and go. In my adolescence, it was, “Why don’t you straighten your hair?” A few years later, I would be asked, “Hey, where did you get that perm?” And of late, it’s been, “Wow! Your hair is so long. Are they extensions?”
Well, I’m still looking for that dream stylist who can help me to express my head with my hair. It seems like a tall order, but till that day comes, I guess my hair can wait.