Shear Madness, going bald for the summer

Shear Madness 
By Walter Ang
May 11, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Shear Madness is the title of an interactive whodunit play set in a beauty parlor. After one of the characters die, the rest of the actors ask the audience who they think the suspect is. Shear madness is also what I probably experienced when I decided to get my hair shaved off. Yes, I had my hair shaved off.

Hair is supposed to be a person's crowing glory. We all know guys who won't leave the house until every single strand of keratinized protein on their scalp is combed or brushed into perfect place. Guys who take hours and hours achieving the right look with their hair. Don't even get us started on the available chemicals to help us sculpt and super mega hold our hair "without any greasy feel!"

Think of lions with their bushy manes. Think of Don King. Think of Samson. None of that was on my mind when I made a beeline to my friendly neighborhood barbershop. I plopped myself down on the swiveling chair and announced, "Take it off. Take it all off." My barber shot me a quizzical look, but proceeded to lop of my hair anyway.

I wanted to go completely bald for several reasons. It was the thick of summertime and the weather was perpetually hot. I was sick of my hair trapping the heat in. I wanted it to disappear. I wanted to wake up in the morning, get off the bed and go. Other than that, I've always wanted to get my head shaved, just to see what I would look like without hair. Boy, did I ever find out how I looked!

As chunks of hair started falling to the floor as the barber clip, clip, clipped away, images of Bembol Roco, Michael Jordan, even Sean Connery started running around in my brain. They have charm, they have charisma, they have panache. These men didn't need hair to be who they were. And neither do I!

The first thing I realized when my head was finally nothing but shiny skin was that, as it turns out, I am a conehead. It was the funniest thing in the world to see my head tapering as it got to the top. I felt like I had to announce to everyone, "I am from France!" just like in the movie. I looked so dumb, but felt so great! To see myself without hair was such a rush. I tipped the barber and strutted out of the barbershop.

After I got home, I remembered that it was the height of summer. I knew the scalp wasn't used to sun exposure so I slathered on some SPF 45 sunblock my head. The second thing I discovered was that if you put sunblock on freshly shaved scalp, it will sting like nothing you've ever experience. Whoo boy.

People's reactions to my new image were interesting, entertaining and downright hilarious. My sister flat out announced that I looked horrible. I had some friends who screamed for the longest time. Other friends just couldn't stop laughing. Some of my friends didn't even recognize me until I came up to them and stared them down. Then they were just properly shocked. A couple of security guards wouldn't even let me into buildings!

I would offer my head to my friends so they could touch it. Some hands recoiled faster than I could ask, "You want to?" People kept asking me why I did it and what had gotten into me. I was having such a blast. Albeit even if my visions of exuding the Michael Jordan appeal didn't seem to be accurate. People never did refer to Jordan when they took in my new look. Instead, they teased me with names like Shaolin Boy and, more notoriously, Manero. Oh well, hai- yah!