Longer—yes, change has come

I HAD never seen Kuya Vio, my barber of seven years, so excited. From the glass pane, I saw him about to doze off on his barber chair. The shop was extraordinarily quiet, and save for the Indian man getting a massage, there weren’t any other customers. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, the kind that made one think of pajamas and dark rooms and hot coco and study lamps and good books and feet curled up in bed.

“Bagay na bagay ang buhok mo sa ‘yo, Dok,” he said, literally jumping out of his chair when I had opened the door, my arrival signaled by the obtrusive jingling of metallic rods hanging over me.

“So okay nga ang mahaba sa akin,” I said.

“Oo naman! Mas bagay ‘yan dun sa semikal.”

“Talaga lang ah.”

“Mas mukha kang doktor,” he said proudly.

I had seen only him four weeks ago, then many weeks before that. It was only months ago when I had decided, after my friends’ prodding, to finally grow my hair. I was convinced that it was probably time I’d change something. My brothers have outgrown the semikal hairstyle since many years ago—Manong Ralph, when he had gone to college in 2002; Sean, when he got to high school at about the same time. I was what you would call stuck.

When we were growing up in Koronadal, Tatay would bring me and my brothers together—a so-called haircutting day that happened monthly—and we’d go to wherever Pastor Ray would be working. During those years, he’d transfer from one shop to another. He has seen us grow up and old, and since we have moved to Manila to study and eventually work, he would ask Tatay about our whereabouts. He was, as far as I knew, pastoring a local church in another town but had to support himself and his growing family financially. A clean cut was what my father was gunning for—he didn’t want his sons looking like “addicts.” Eventually, my father did grow his hair—it made him look younger—leaving me with the shortest haircut in the family.

During the transition from semikal to what it is now—a barbers cut with a straight hairline, my hair combed to my right—I had to get used to the fact that whenever I scratched my head, I had to arrange my hair back to what it had looked like. I had to learn new things, as well: combing my hair in the morning before I’d leave for work, even using hair products to keep my strands in place; or getting used to looking at the mirror to check if I look harassed; or learning the value of holding on to my head whenever the wind blew. The term, “bad hair day,” had now taken a new meaning.

Friends always exclaim with surprise at how different I now look and how well the new hairstyle fits me. I have difficulty reacting to those statements—until now, my hair hasn’t gotten any attention, save for some classmates who used to rub my head with their palms during lectures.

I’m writing this to tell you: change has come. I just hope that like my hair, my faith in and love for the Lord, too, would grow.

What’s a good shampoo? And how much conditioner do I need to apply?

New hair

One thought on “Longer—yes, change has come”

  1. Nice!! I like it too, Lance.
    No need for conditioner but if you want to as little as a 25 centavo coin or as big as a peso; it's up to you.
    Shampoo, any will do but I recommend Human Nature. :-)

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