Thursday, June 24

Hair’s the real deal! 

If you think judging people by their shoes is vogue, wait till you look up their heads. You see, it’s not what’s in it that they’re concerned with anymore, it’s what’s on it. And even with the trendiest pair of Cinderella shoes on, you can be outright ostracized if your hair isn’t bouncy, colored auburn, ginger, burgundy, violet or whatever goes with your skin tone, layered and fringed just enough at the front so it accentuates your dainty forehead, thereby steering lookers on to those deep, expressive eyes so enchanting, they’re bound to get lost in them. A trusty sentiment empowers them, and before you know it, they’ve put you right on top of a pedestal strictly reserved for the elite. Hair, mind you, is your only crowning glory.

Now, I belong to the excruciatingly-dull-hair-battalion. The moment my fertile head spawns follicles long enough to touch my shoulder, I have to go in for the routine snip. Longer is not better in my case. There are these fond memories I have from an age bygone, when I actually did have a longer, shinier, bouncier, fuller bulk firm on my head. And being agonizingly bored of the monotony I wore my hair with, I couldn’t help but go wacky and do a perm. Lock in some frizzy curls, I told my hairdresser, they’re all the rage. After bathing my head in what stunk like a poopy pigpen for hours on end, she rinsed it with some generous amount of water (soft water, I hope) for another few hours, and by the end of the day, I was poorer by a grand or so, and richer by fashion. She seemed delighted with her job, but I was hard to please. I stayed locked in my room for days, and the only outsiders that were allowed to check in on me were a handful of close friends, the kind that took you for who you were deep within. Gradually, by the time school finally reopened, I had begun socializing a bit. The opinions I received, which may well have been far from the truth many a time, were varied. Being a bad judge of friendly critique, I began venting all my rage by not heeding to the hairdresser’s pleas. Oil it everyday, never shampoo without conditioning, don’t wring the water out, don’t blow dry, and don’t sunbathe, she had said. I did quite the opposite. And the result is what I bear on my head today. A lifeless, lackluster, and lacking-class-in-every-strand-mane.

Once the swirls wore themselves out, I suddenly realized it would be wise to make up for length by what I had in a somewhat restored straightness. So I went in for the shorter, chic look, and made sure the hairdresser I chose was the most sought-after in those expanses of town. It worked like magic for my ego, and I sported my short new style with a newer confidence. The reviews weren’t as bad either, and they seemed genuine to an extent.

But the years rolled on and ageing brought with it a curious kind of wisdom. I began refuting and defying the ways of the world. I couldn’t care less about the hottest Chinese herbal hair formulae people trotted the globe looking for, or that special creme made exclusively for the coloreds. I had slogged quite a bit to prove my mettle at school and the career that ensued, and was convinced society had taken me for what I am by the truest measure of brain power (now how much that equals is another story, but it suffices to say I’m not wholly harebrained, pun most certainly unintended) and everything but hair-value. So I let it grow, longer than shoulder length. While it wasn’t too tough to tame for that special evening out, or a surprise get-together, I had newer problems to tackle --- dandruff and slight split ends. I was forced to hit the shears, and it's only good I determined never to experiment again, for, I haven’t looked back since. I feel comfortable the way I am, in wearing a clean, squat hairdo (never mind that it looks mostly unkempt on normal days) and a confidence that exudes considerable élan to survive. At least, I can get away with slipping into my comfy flip flops to the grocery store at times. Proper hair-care, I’ve realized, is the most astute skill to possess in these times. Warm oil, shampoo, condition, blow dry, head up, and you’re ready to take on the world. Unless, you still want to splurge on those à la mode Anne Kleins. I’d say, go for both.

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