Rachel: Featuring Her Bangs


For most of my life I have had various renditions of short hair, from a blunt bob, inverted bob, asymmetrical bob and even as daring as a pixie cut. I opted for short hair for several reasons: 1) I was lazy and needed a cut that required absolutely no maintenance, and 2) I would get bored and want to change up my look fairly often, while also being too impatient to grow it out. Though these reasons lean on my more negative qualities there was also the fact that I just looked better with short hair. When I looked back on photos of myself with longer hair I immediately questioned why people had let me make such an unflattering choice. I have a round face and long hair gave it a funky look instead of elongating it into attractiveness. Given all of this I made the decision to grow my hair out one more time to see if there were any different results. I knew I would joining the Peace Corps in the Philippines so I wanted a hair-do that I could keep pulled back from my face and neck constantly and long hair seemed like a wise choice. I also knew that I wouldn’t be as likely to be following fashionable trends during my service so a hair experiment seemed reasonable.

At the start of my long-hair-journey everything seemed to be going well, it was healthy and looked cute pulled back in a braid, what more could a girl ask for? However, after a couple of months into my service I noticed my hair getting straw-like in texture as the moisture was beginning to drain from my honey colored strands. I decided to ignore it and am currently stroking the dead grass I call hair (this might be an exaggeration but this is how I picture it and that is all that matters). Half-way into my service, however, things turned for the worse as I began to have serious hair-fall (or “hair loss” for everyone else who is not Filipino). At first I thought it was the normal variety since all hair goes through shedding periods, but as the months rolled by I began to get nervous as I continued to lose more and more hair and dreading the day I would begin to look like Smeagol with only a few wisps of hair left. I began to look at my hair-fall ordeal in the same lens as James Bond’s Skyfall debacle with tragedy waiting around the corner. I tried numerous shampoos and conditioners guaranteed to reduce hair-fall after two weeks – that was a letdown. I tried head massages, which were personally relaxing, but not much else. I tried hot oil masks for my hair and ended up losing more hair, not awesome. I tried changing a few things around in my diet, but all to no avail.

Four months later my worries began to subside as my hair stopped falling out with its previous goal to abandon ship. My hair-fall returned to its normal boundaries of approximately 150 hairs a day — I did a substantial amount of research on this issue — and I am just thankful to have been blessed with a thick head of hair at the beginning of this ordeal. In celebration for the remaining hairs I decided I wanted to make change and spruce up my look. I was determined to keep my hair growing into its potential, which will probably lead to another round of depression, but I eventually decided on some cute side bangs. I say “eventually” but the decision took at most thirty minutes before I had a pair of scissors out — most of that time was spent watching a YouTube video instructing me on the best approach for making the few snips. I carefully sectioned off my hair and created a nice V-shape for my bangs, the tip of V in line with my nose and the edges in line with the arches of my eyebrows, as the tutorial recommended. I made the cuts, tried it out, made a few more adjustments, and then glowed with pride at my accomplishment. I berated myself for a few moments for not having done it sooner, but then remembered I had chosen not to because of the heat. I felt a moment of panic and then absolute joy once again at my decision. I needed the small change, for reasons other than physical appearance, and it was a nice way to accomplish this goal. Two stones, one pair of scissors.

Creating bangs is one of those pretty insignificant aspects of life that you think no one will really notice. Some might squint and lean their head to the side for a moment of speculation, trying to determine if something is, in fact, different; but most people will probably not arrive at the answer. This reality is not true for the Philippines where I am the only foreigner for miles and my appearance is noted with exact specifications. The next day at work the shelter was abuzz over my new look and the amazing effect of my bangs. I received thousands (maybe another slight exaggeration) of “gwapa kaayo!”or “very beautiful!” throughout the day, and the next day, and the next day. A week later and people were still exclaiming over how beautiful my bangs were. Now, I really thought “why have I not done this sooner, my life could have been vastly different?!” though probably not. All of the attention quickly became a joke and when I would leave my office or approach a group of people they would exclaim “Here comes Rachel with her bangs” or “Here comes Rachel (dramatic pause) featuring her bangs” and we would all start laughing. At this point the bangs could make me twice as hot and I would still keep them; they are way too much fun to get rid of now. 🙂

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