Friday, July 25, 2008

Because I can

Music site lists the "Top Ten Rock Hairstyles" and, sure enough, plain old long hair is number one. Which reminds me of an old mailing list post.

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Because I can
15 January 2003

Q: Why do you grow your hair long?
A: Because I can.

I've concluded that this is the best answer I can give to a question I get asked every time I meet someone whom I haven't seen for over five years, during family reunions, or even just at home. My dad always gives me this slightly irritated / disappointed look while saying "ang haba na ng buhok mo" while my mother keeps asking "kailan ka magpapagupit?" Friends' reactions range from slightly surprised to very impressed. It's the guys who are usually impressed, women's reactions usually fall under the "mas maganda nung maikli ang buhok mo" category or the simple "bakit?" (Of course there are those few who keep saying "Tara, sabay tayong magpa-rebond")

Most guys my age like my long hair because most of them can't grow theirs long. "Because I can" just says that I've the means, motive, and opportunity to do it. There's a sense of accomplishment in that answer. You'd be surprised at the number of reasons other men have for not being able to do it ranging from work (been there) to peer/parental/girlfriend pressure.

Men who want to grow their hair long (but can't) are often employed in industries that frown on slightly eccentric behavior. Weird, but in a post-feminist age where machismo is said to be dead, there are still holdovers who think that it's un-masculine to have long hair. I experienced this right after college when, while applying to teach in high school, I was told to have my hair cut before the school year starts.

Others are pressured into getting haircuts by girlfriends and/or parents. The moment your hair gets scruffy (about four weeks after your last haircut) you're bombarded with hints and suggestions. Postpone your haircut for a week or two and you have friends asking if you've been extremely busy lately (or if you have money problems).

Growing long hair for men is difficult. Apart from the hindrances mentioned above, one also faces what I call the 3-7 month problem. (Yes I have names for the stages of growth, I've done this thrice) When your hair is halfway between slightly shaggy and pony tail length you inevitably run into problems of keeping it away from your eyes (not to mention keeping it from looking like a mop top) while avoiding the "girl look."

Hair accessories are ok in private but try wearing them in public and you'll get weird stares. Apparently, long hair is acceptable but hair bands, clamps, and clips (even those in basic black) are looked upon as weird or gay (or both) so anyone who can stand looking bad for a few months in addition to the pressure to get a haircut (which grows in direct proportion to your hair length) deserves his long locks.

I grow my hair long because I can. That's the best answer anyone can give. Saying "wala lang" makes the whole thing seem trivial, citing trends (F4, anyone) just makes you a fashion victim, and rationalizing it too much makes it seem like it needs justification (it doesn't). Not every guy can do this, so just the fact that I can makes me feel special.

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