An open letter to barbers,
Don’t worry I’ve heard it all. And despite your graciously polite demeanor whilst toiling away, trimming down the great, black bird’s nest, I still see it in your eyes. That grimacing, exasperated, subtly astonished look that screams, “Damn this kid’s hair is weird.”
Quick story time.
I didn’t really put any thought into my style until the waning years of high school. But there came a day junior year where I found myself standing before a mirror, analyzing from top to bottom, realizing just how drastically I needed to reevaluate my look.
And I did. New clothes, new glasses, new strut, new me. Now, new hair…
Easy enough, right?
“How can it possibly be that spiky?”
“Stop growing so FAST!”
“Does conditioner actually DO anything?”
“Do the laws of physics even apply to my scalp?”
“Mom I need to schedule another appointment!”
Hair gel. Grooming Cream. Foaming Cream. Molding Clay. Texture Clay. All tried, tested, and stamped with the Jerry seal of mediocrity.
Google Search: asian men hair problems
“Asian hair texture is characterized by straight, thick, dark, hair shafts… ”
“Buzzfeed: 16 Struggles Anyone With Asian Hair Will Understand”
“This has become so frustrating. I'm not actually asian but I have that ultra thick asian hair… ”
“Asian Man doesn’t Wash Hair for Thirty Days Straight. What Happens Next will SHOCK You!”
“Asian brahs the fuk do you do with your hair?”
But I pay you to cut my hair, not to compile an encyclopedia. So when our fifteen minutes together are up, and you look at your handiwork, asking yourself what could have gone so horribly wrong, know that you probably did your best. Or not. It didn’t really matter either way. I simply ask that you trust me. I’ve done the research. I’ve tested all the foams and gels and clays and putties. I’ve tried washing, drying, and styling this thicket every way and mean imaginable. And after years of relentless, futile combing, do you know what I’ve finally learned?
Some things in life are just out of my hands.
So this is out of yours too.
Art by Natalia Mesa