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BC’S BARBADOS: Hair of the dog


B.C. Pires

BC’S BARBADOS: Hair of the dog

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It’s one of my abiding disappointments that I have to wash my hair every week. You’d think something so obviously negligible could be safely permanently ignored, like the Mia Mottley faction of the Barbados Labour Party.
But no, that smattering of growth that still struggles to emanate from a small and ever-shrinking portion of my follicular endowment requires depressingly regular attention. Washing my hair every week is like mowing the lawn every day during dry season: you can, but why would you?
Even worse, my combination of principally scalp and a countable number of see-through, wispy protuberances therefrom must also be conditioned – with conditioner, which you have to buy in a separate bottle. It’s just not fair.
If my head was a private company or state enterprise, it would be difficult enough to persuade my responsible corporate officers to purchase shampoo; adding conditioner might precipitate a mutiny on the board of directors.
Still, on the upside, a single travel-size bottle of shampoo can last me months. If I stay in a hotel twice in the first quarter, I can supply myself with the rest of the year’s worth of hair care products. A little goes a long way, like the music in modern soca songs, where one note can carry three verses and chorus, and one rhythm can upset a whole Crop Over, especially if it’s by Machel Montano.
Now, if I had hair like Machel, I’d happily spend a fortune on it. I’d enjoy haircuts, because there would be something actually worth cutting (barbers look at my head like farmers at parking lots: there’s so little they can do with it, they worry about their reputations if they take the job).
Machel, now, he probably buys shampoo and conditioner by the barrel; God knows he needs to be fortified to deal with some of the flak he’s been getting, and all for having the temerity to accept headlining a Bajan festival; if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll make sure to land here on a REDjet.
If you ain’t red, you dead, they say in Trinidad, but to a man of my colour – hair colour, of course – it’s more like, “If you ain’t grey, firetruck away”. And therein lies my own small redemption in matters of the locks: I definitely don’t have to attempt to dye my hair.
It would draw even more attention to a vanishing breed, like West Indians who believe in the West Indies – the nation, not the cricket team, though the team can only be great again if the nation ever manages to learn to move its feet.
The countdown to Kadooment is on and many Bajans will be agitating their grey matter over Machel as much as I agitate my own grey don’t-much-matter at shampoo time; and with as much effect.
What really matters now is not who’s singing, but if the song is good. Does it make a difference whether it is a Bajan or a Trini singing tata at Caribana? No – for all our foolish vanities, and mine are more foolish than most, it remains important to let your hair down; as much as mine lets me.

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