Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

Hair, there, and everywhere

By RICARDO PAMINTUAN Published Apr 21, 2024 5:00 am

As I settled into the barber’s chair, I couldn’t help but sneak glances at the other man in the mirror who was about to undergo the ceremonial facial shearing. I couldn’t keep myself from peeking at the bearded man like a voyeur in De Wallen in Amsterdam or Nana Plaza in Bangkok, where every phase of the shave held the allure of a strip show.

I’m what you’d call a low-maintenance guy. A quick shave with a disposable razor, maybe a couple of coins or tweezers for the stray hairs, and I’m good to go. Unlike those poor souls afflicted with the dreaded five-o’clock shadow—I swear, it would take me five months just to reach one o’clock!

I thought I had gotten over my beard envy, until I made the grave mistake of binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again.

Just when I was about to wallow in a mix of self-pity and bitterness, the conversation next to me snapped me back to reality. A chap in his prime lamented his receding hairline, prompting his barber to suggest massaging raw aloe vera sap on his scalp. I almost chimed in with a success story on the subject, but decided against it. I’m not exactly the barbershop talk kind of guy.

Back at home, I thought I had gotten over my beard envy, until I made the grave mistake of binge-watching Game of Thrones again. Let me tell you, nothing says “emasculation” quite like seeing burly, bearded warriors brandish swords while I sat there contemplating my Fu Manchu peach fuzz.

It begs the question: Why is hair such a big deal, anyway? Women treat their locks like precious treasures, while men, well, we’re a bit more laissez-faire about it. Baldness might be the boogeyman for many, but just look at all those A-listers rocking the cue ball look! From Dwayne Johnson to Samuel L. Jackson, they prove that sometimes, less is more.

I once dabbled with a semi-bald look (that’s “skin fade” in millennial speak), thinking I’d uncover a hidden reservoir of rugged charm. Instead, I discovered a misshapen head with scars I never knew existed, and every time I laid my head on a pillow, my stubble felt like a hedgehog struggling to break free.

Lesson learned: Some paths are best left unexplored. I’m just happy that at my age, my hair is as thick as ever, but in my imagination, I’ve seen myself rocking a moustache a la Tom Selleck or John Steinbeck, or a slick Balbo like Tony Stark.

Exploring a range of facial hair styles

Now, don’t get me started on body hair. Some men treat it like a pesky roommate that needs evicting, while others, like me, couldn’t care less. And let’s not forget the legendary chest waxing scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Steve Carell’s screams of agony in that film were real, folks!

But seriously, what’s the deal with hair? When is it too much or too little? I’ll leave that to the philosophers and the aestheticians to ponder.

I belong to the majority of men who tend to embrace or merely ignore their own hair, unless it interferes with work or personal relationships. Unkempt hair, just like shoddy dressing, may be deemed unhygienic and affect one’s performance rating.

Embracing baldness with confidence

Facial hair could be a source of conflict, especially if it’s uncontrollably rampant, like garden weeds gone wild. A few guys may opt for smooth, hairless skin, such as models, actors, body builders, athletes, or microchip workers. I personally do not know anyone who shaves (or waxes) any part of his body besides his head or face. And getting a “Manzilian,” the male version of a “Brazilian wax,” is definitely a no-no.

Between debates over facial hair and the intricacies of baldness, I found myself reminiscing about a family trip to Titop Island. Also known as Titov Island—named after Gherman Titov, a Russian astronaut who visited the island with President Ho Chi Minh in 1962—it was the one stop in our H Long Bay cruise where tourists can frolic for about an hour on a small sandy beach.

Chest shaving for a clean look

The limestone formations of H Long Bay are famous, of course, for being featured in the 2016 monster movie redux Kong: Skull Island. You kind of expect to see King Kong’s silhouette emerging from one of the islands.

Now that would be one hairy surprise that would give the sun worshippers at Titop a run for their money.

The beach action could be a scene straight out of the rock musical Hair, where folks of varying ages, colors, and shapes set aside their differences and inhibitions to show off their bods and heads. Some images were just so darn difficult to unsee, but the hair is all I can remember. Lots of it or the lack of it.

Transformative hair restoration results

Without delving into women’s hair, from all indications, the greatest concern among men in the hair department is still baldness. The causes of hair loss may be as diverse as the individuals who experience it; yet, the stigma attached to baldness has necessitated the quest for solutions ranging from aloe vera treatments to innovative scalp massages like the Amalfi technique.

Mane ‘n Tail, originally for horses only, found its way into human bathrooms after some savvy marketing. Since toupées and comb-overs don’t really fool anyone, some men are willing to spend good money to preserve or resurrect their hair. A regular hair transplant surgery, for example, can cost from $3,000 to $4,000 in the Philippines.

Speaking of hair, research spanning nearly three decades has shown just how much of a toll hair loss can take on one’s mental health. Addressing it is necessary but it could be a multipronged effort. From aloe vera concoctions to horse conditioners, the search for the perfect solution continues.

So, whether you’re rocking a full mane or a shiny pate, remember: Dealing with baldness is all about perspective. It can either weigh you down like an anchor or lift you up with the joy of newfound freedom. If I didn’t have a full head of hair, I’d take the latter anytime—along with the extra savings on hair care products, thank you very much.