mane thing

Style it while you have it. That should be the motto of males who have uncles and dads inflicted with HIV–that is, “Hair Is Vanishing”–or the more advanced stage of the “disease”: HHV (Hair Has Vanished), also known as HWH (Hair? What Hair?).

Fortunately, looking at family pictures, there is a very good chance that I won’t go down that path of less hair existence. In fact, my father, who celebrated his 64th birthday last week, still asks me about hair styling products. Once, he impulsively bought an expensive hair cream. When he let me read the label, the cream turned out to be for achieving the electrocuted look or the just-out-of-bed tousle. Definitely not for my father’s age group.

“Not a very good buy, Pops,” I said. “Oo nga,” he admitted without even trying to justify (which was very uncharacteristic of my argumentative father). For that fleeting moment, I was the parent and he was the remorseful child who made a poor purchase decision. I secretly relished the victory. (“Son three points!”). Pops has mostly white hair now, but he gets it dyed jet black every so often. Sometimes I think he’s vainer than my mother–in the hair department, at least. Hehe.

I look at my uncles and see that they have hair intact. Yes, it appears that their foreheads have become more prominent with age. But not too prominent that they would have significantly more face to wash and much lesser hair to shampoo. I look at my elder brothers, one in his mid-thirties and the other pushing thirty: still full manes. The latter even gets highlights once in a while. Once he tried the Dennis Rodman look–coolness! As for the former, well, he’s a minister, so nothing too outlandish for him. Occupational hazard, if you ask me. Hehe.

Then there’s my mane and me. I don’t remember a more hated activity as a young boy than the monthly visit to Mang Cadiz, the family barber. I clearly remember his barbershop: a row of barber chairs on one side–seats of horror for boys like me–and a row of chess boards on the other–haven for bored, jobless men. I just couldn’t see the need for these visits to the Mang Cadiz. Getting my hair cut was itchy, hot, and boring. But I learned to cope. I closed my eyes when Mang Cadiz started snipping my bangs. I bowed my head when it was time for him to landscape my nape. I tried to be braver than the wailing kid next to me by amusing myself with the random design created by my hair falling on the white cloth draped around me. And I thought of the promised ice cream or durian shake after I had lived through this ordeal.

Suddenly adolescence hit and my attitude towards getting a haircut took a 180-degree turn. This also meant changing barbers because all Mang Cadiz knew to do was give me a skinhead per my mother’s prescription. We found Mang Domeng’s Barbershop just a stone’s throw away from Mang Cadiz’s. Around this time, my mother had wisely made allowances for my developing aesthetic sense. She no longer imposed the skinhead, but strongly suggested against bangs that covered the eyes. I regularly went to Mang Domeng with my brother for the next several years until I left Davao.

These days, I get a haircut every three months. That’s usually when the back ends have started to fly away. Last year, a long-time mane dream finally happened. I grew my hair long enough for a pony tail. Cool, I thought. It even earned me a monicker, “Steven Sugal.” Some friends said I looked like a Chinese warrior. Not sure if that’s a compliment or not. So unless swords and robes become trendy, I don’t think I’ll try the pony tail look again anytime soon. But no promises here; I like to keep a que sera, sera policy when it comes to my hair.

Boink. I don’t know how to end this entry neatly. I talk about hair because it’s the least of my worries these days. Instead of this mane thing, I should be pouring my energies over the main thing for me these days: my overseas trip this coming Friday. Aaaagh! There’s still so much to prepare. This procrastinator needs to stop rambling about hair and start packing! Hmmm… Should i bring shampoo to the US?


  1. You should have mentioned about this one time you went home to Davao and your sis convinced you to get a haircut. The lady hairstylist even blowdried your hair paloob ala Sharon Cuneta hair. But hey, you were really kind. You didn’t kill her. 🙂


  2. Experts say the human psyche naturally copes with excessively traumatic experiences by blocking them off from accessible memory. What were you talking about again, beng? Hahaha!


  3. Kuya Aleks! My fave emcee of all time! hehe i hope you can still remember me..
    nweys, just wanna say hi to u… 🙂
    i can still remember your young blood article! kuya rednaxela! kuya, with your “cool” blogs, as if i’m reading a collection of young blood articles. 🙂


  4. Here from Abaniko’s. What a great recollection of your hair-y experience. Good for you to have good “hair” genes. Before, I looked at my dad and thought his hair was really nice and thick and said, “mana” ako sa kanya. Now, that he is going seventy, what’s left of it is just a thin layer left to cover the top. So i hope I did not mana that gene after all.

    hello leah! thanks for dropping by (and thanks to abaniko for blogging about this post!) women are “luckier” because they’re less prone to baldness because the gene for it is sex-related. so i’m pretty sure u’ll be enjoying ur locks for a looooong time 🙂 sillyserious


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