Padilla: The long and short of hair | SunStar

Padilla: The long and short of hair

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Padilla: The long and short of hair

Monday, September 11, 2017

HAVE you ever done something quite simple in your life that has become the wellspring of some epiphany? I am sure that has happened to most of us a lot of times but mine happened in epic proportions when I cut off my hair. In my best-est description I have kept my hair long since Kris Aquino was a virgin and since then she has given birth to Bimby, separated from Bimby’s father, Bimby’s father had another baby with another woman --that long time ago. And I am not a hair person. Some women like going to the parlor and sit for hours while their crowning glory is stretched, teased, permed, or colored -- I do not have the patience for that. I wash my hair, dry it a bit and rush off to wherever -- class, work meeting, or even a date, to the chagrin of my mother who says a woman should never leave home with hair still wet or damp. I always reasoned that I had a thick mane and drying it would take so much time.

Maybe it was boredom or maybe it was looking for passport pictures that I realized I have had the most boring of hairstyles in this planet since yes, Kris Aquino’s evolution from virgin to stage mother. So, at first I decided to have bangs or fringes, as my parlorista calls it. Then eventually I decided to chop off all 11 inches of my hair and kept the length a little below my ears. My head automatically felt light and yes, different. But why have I kept my hair long for eons? I have scoliosis and for a time I was so over conscious of that awkward bend in my back or so I thought. My back was a no-go and through it all, my long hair cloaked the beating and the constant pain my back got.

When I cut my hair, I have sepanx (separation anxeity) a few days after like a headache that didn’t seem to be migraine or stress-related. In Bisaya, "nanglood." But what caused the epiphany was when friends began asking if I were having some sort of life crisis be it (another) romantic break-up or going through some life crisis. A cousin whom I have seen for a long time asked why I was "blooming" and I imagined my bobcut as short, petals curling its ends. But that seemed funny -- like some pixie fairy in Tinkerbell’s group. I became more conscious of current shampoo ads and realized only one shampoo ad had models with short hair and it was for a variant that they labeled as "Intense Repair." So short hair is hair badly needing repair?

Long hair had always been associated with femininity. French women were shaved bald as “a punishment for their sexual relationships with German soldiers.” Even the Bible has something to say about the woman’s “crowning glory.” According to 1Corinthians 11:15, “but for a woman, if her hair is abundant, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.” Who would also not know of Lady Godiva who rode naked through the streets of Coventry with only her ultra-long hair covering her body which became the symbol of freedom and beauty? When communism became popular in China, the bob cut became popular among the female party members as a symbol of taking control. In current times there are still snap judgments about how a woman wears her hair: long hair is youthful, feminine, sexy, and beautiful while short hair can mean one is serious, uptight, tomboy or even lesbian.

I have not computed how much I spend on shampoo when my hair was still long. I know I consumed one sachet every time I washed my hair when I travelled. I obviously spend less now.

I’ve read a long time ago somewhere that this delight in a woman’s long hair is primeval. Men like to run their fingers through a woman’s hair. The longer the hair, the more delightful the play. Oh well, he could always buy a wig and bring it with him.

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 12, 2017.

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