Friday, May 14, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I just finished watching this funny documentary by Chris Rock (my favorite black comedian of all time) called Good Hair. And while it focused primarily on black people's obsession with their hair, a lot of it hit home for me.

My hair has always been a source of love and hate for me. I have super fine, thin hair, but it's wavy. Trust me, that's a bad combo. Its just a step above thick and kinky.

To adequately manage it I have kept it short most of my life. I did try growing it long at various points in my life, but the curls would always get me in the end. On a good day they would be cute little ringlets that gently framed my face. On a bad day I was a frizz away from an afro.

In college I discovered that the perfect length for it was the severe cropped hair that Mia Farrow sports in Rosemary's Baby and I kept that hairstyle for a long time. The problem with that hair cut though is that it takes a very good hairstylist to cut it right, which most of the time means an expensive stylist. And it needs to get cut every 3 to 4 weeks. Which makes it a very expensive habit. Kind of like snorting crack. But I was addicted to the short hair and, while it ate up most of my teeny tiny salary, I would dutifully go to Rodger Craig's salon at the Manila Pen every 3 weeks to get my fix. Only an addict will spend 2,000++ on hair with a 10,000 pre-tax salary. Hahaha.

When John proposed marriage it gave me an excuse to try growing my hair out once more. I grew it a little too late in the game so in our wedding pictures you'll see me with a semi-bouffant hair-do which was really just my stylist's way of trying to manage my shoulder length curly mess. Needless to say I never took off my 15-foot long veil even if it meant it would get stepped on or torn, because I was afraid of what my hair would do during the reception.

When my hair was finally long enough I tried having it straightened. Or relaxed. On good days I'd look like a Pantene shampoo model (albeit a fat one). On bad days I looked like I was wearing a helmet or a wig. But regardless, I got addicted to straightening the same way I got addicted to short hair. Except now I'd spend 6,000 a month on my hair instead of 2,000. Fortunately I was making better money then.

And so the story goes. And my I continued to love my hair and hate it at the same time. It doesn't help that I have friends like Katcho who has the most beautiful, thick, glossy, straight hair that I have ever seen. Or that my husband also has beautiful, thick, glossy stick-straight hair --- so beautiful its a crime that its on the head of a guy. When I was pregnant with Pilar I spent 9 months praying that God would give her John's hair and not mine. Thankfully He answered my prayers. Since I have had more pressing things to pray for now that I'm pregnant with Olivia, I forgot to include her hair in my prayers, and if she comes out with thin curly hair I will have no one to blame but myself (and my dad) for cursing her with bad follicular genes. (It's ok Livie, Mommy will save money so that you can have your hair rebonded too when you're old enough).

When we started with the IVF treatments 2 years ago I had my long hair shorn off, because there was no way in hell I was exposing my fetuses to the chemicals that are in hair products. Oh well all know they're no good for us. The fact that the stylist applies it with gloves should be a clue. And the fact that my favorite stylist Edwin had to retire at the age of 42 because of respiratory problems caused by prolonged exposure to hair treatment chemicals should be an alarm bell type of thing.

When I found myself pregnant with Olivia I was planning to keep the short do. Except that I figured that since I was on bed rest, there was no point in spending 3,000 a month on hair that no one but my husband (who loves me no matter what I look like), my child (who couldn't care less one way or the other) and my ob-gyn (who has seen the hair on my vah-jay-jay so what else can I keep from him?) would see.

So for the past 7 months my adversary has been growing on my head. At a very slow rate I might add. I now have what could be, at best, described as a curly mullet. I'd post pictures but I'm afraid Billy Ray Cyrus might call and want his hairstyle back.

But watching Chris Rock's documentary has helped me come to grips with my hair. It isn't the most wonderful hair, but it isn't the worst hair either. At least I have the option of cutting it short (although while the pixie cut was cute on me when I was 23 and 110 lbs, its not so becoming now that I'm 34 and ---- bigger), or letting it grow long. I have sworn though never to have it straightened or rebonded again. It's a little scary when you consider what goes into those straightening products.

Ah, who knows. In the same way that Supersize Me got me to swear off McDonalds for 2 months, you might see me next month with super straight hair that will obviously look like I wasn't born with.

Now I know why Samson had such issues when Delilah messed with his hair.

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