To Miss One’s Curls

1.

I miss my curls, and it has been just a day since they mysteriously left, blown away by that horribly hot hair blower at the salon. The new I cut I had isn’t horrible; contrary to that, it looks certainly good. Its soft, clean, decent, like a raindrop in reverse. And it is not the look I was looking for.

It’s horribly feminine if you ask me. It’s akin to the short haircuts quite close (but not quite) to a bobcut. And while it certainly looks good, its soft straight lines give me an impression I couldn’t place myself in all because I never even saw myself with a feminine cut.

I only had one kind of cut in my life: that demon cut at the barbershop, enforced to remove all signs of rebellion among young men in elementary and highschool. There are many variations, but they all look the same to me: they don’t look well on me, like the work of someone who still isn’t afraid to try something new. And I did try something new with my short haircuts.

I waxed it for a faux mohawk. That didn’t work; it curved to the left. I waxed it for messy spikes. It only worked when it’s very short. It droops down once it gets long. And none of my experiments, such as bangs, but none worked on me.

And it was once upon a time when I told myself, why get a cut when I could let my hair grow for a while? See where that will take me.

And then I grew curls. Bohemian curls, since none of them are consistent, all of them moody. You could just pick up a strand and see how eclectic they look: at one point they’ll straighten, then they curled. Sometimes they are wavy, sometimes some of them turned into beautiful locks so tantalizing to look at. And I got compliments, lots of them. Finally I had something that works for me.

And this is the first cut I had that barely resembles the impressions above. I in my life never even thought that it’ll straighten up. I even shuddered at the look of those flattening and curling irons my sisters use to style their hair. Well, I had been curious about those, but after hearing how they damage one’s hair and particularly because my hair was still horribly short when the irons were working, I feel like I’m in luck when my hair waved and curled on its own.

After months of preparing my hair for styling, for having a cleaner shaggy cut, I looked frozen as the stylist began using a very hot hair blower and a round brush to curve my hair inwards. It was pretty hard to comment; I don’t frequent the salons or the barbershop since I sported the shag. I did show him a photo of the look I aspired for, but he seemed not to notice. I certainly thought he did. And I really thought that that horribly hot hair blower was meant simply to dry my hair.

And I am nearsighted. Nearsighted people have the disadvantage not to see in detail if their hair is being ruined.

I’d never thought I’d get this vain about the way I look, but after having months of compliments, it feels as if a part of my identity, that bohemian, rebellious identity, dissipated. If it wasn’t for the compliments, then how about the advantages? Waking up every morning not worrying if your hair looks good, because it already is. That is a lie though; lately, when my hair grew longer, I often had to go to the bathroom mirrors or peek at the tainted car glasses to see if the mess in my hair looks “natural” or like an exploded bush of frizz and waves and curls.

But it is not a popular style; Filipinos have this obsession about wearing their hair straight. That goes for both men and women. And to set myself apart from it with the beard, particularly when I discovered not all men my age can make it grow (I once thought they did; they just prefer having it shaved clean everytime just like my father), I loved it. I feel like I didn’t need to conform, which was good with my fragile self-esteem.

Now I just endured a morning looking at myself and wondering how my hair made it through the night and still look clean.

The cut still isn’t barbers though. I am actually thinking of having it artificially curled into those shaggy loose locks I so covet. Maybe a week or two from now? Maybe months from now perhaps? I did endure months of a cut under the demon shears before I got into those beautiful waves of hair.

But at least that mess is understandable for men. A day has passed and I still cannot endure seeing myself look feminine. Not that being feminine is wrong. But despite liking men I don’t see myself or I don’t aspire myself to appear feminine. And this goes way beyond how I look at myself.

2.

And it also makes me think of a different angle. Most of my schoolmates are the same judgmental bullshits you see in high school, the same people who would make fun of you for having a dull hair, effeminate actions, not being able to socialize and all of that. They are also the type of people who judge people at first sight. In this particular class, some of them even made fun at of this guy who happen to have a feminine voice. He/she may be gay, but his/her voice certainly isn’t his/her fault.

And this guys were somehow friendly to me. Was this because of my strikingly rebellious hair? Of the cool ambiance I exude because of it? These aren’t the type of men who would approach me before, but nonetheless did. And I do not know how I’d react when they see me like this. I am already old enough to know that there is a social custom behind all those taunts, and even though I hate these customs (it is sometimes enforced without you belonging or without your consent, which can make it a form of bullying), I recognize that it is also their way of making you belong with them.

If ever I did not manage to change it by the end of the break, I could just stand up to it. It looks really good, even if it is not the look I aspire it to be.

Either that or I’ll get an afro. Or tighter curls, whatever works for me.

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