Author: Tahmid Islam and Photo: Tahmid Islam
The pandemic has brought out the best and most possibly the worst in all of us, but that does not have to be as bad as it sounds as we probably found a reason to laugh about our shortcomings or small mishaps out of sheer boredom. We have managed to stand taller and be braver than ever in the face of global panic where we were greeted by an unexpected circumstance. Even though we assumed it would wash over in the blink of an eye, it seems to be staying for what feels like an eternity. A couple of years have passed and we are still on the battlefield of disease and calamity. Regardless, we have found many ways to cope and hold steadfast in this long and lonesome journey. Out of all the coping mechanisms, our hair has unfortunately fallen victim to the whims of our boredom in these dark times.
Everyone had a go at their hair during this time, be it cutting it yourself or letting someone else snip at your hair, without any prior experience in both cases. Many have opted to grow it out all the way, which is the case of most men, or to colour it. The lockdown was a good opportunity for people to experiment with their hair, as we could stay isolated. If a haircut did not turn out particularly flattering, we had the option to stay inside and hide our embarrassment. Nonetheless, it is still quite amazing how, whichever route we chose turned out to work pretty well for most of us, given how scary it can be to experiment with hair. When it comes to hair, the final outcome usually does not meet expectations, even when it is done by professionals. But, it is quite a spectacle to behold for many, as they tapped into their primal instincts to execute their ideas. Needless to say, grooming is important even though you are stuck at home. It may be for self-appreciation, or because your work requires you to present yourself on video.
The pandemic, however, has not entirely stopped people from seeing the face of the sun. Boredom, loneliness and yearning brew a strong concoction that makes you want to do things at your own home. You may not normally do these things at home, or at least not admit to doing them prior to lockdown, such as dressing up at home just to go to the rooftop during the sunlight to take pictures. These pictures would result in a refreshing and delightful sight to behold. Sabrina, a third year student from NSU, says she really wanted to switch things up. She is not a stranger to dyeing her hair, but most of the time she would prefer to dye it brown. During lockdown, she made an impulsive decision to get violet streaks in her hair, which had very satisfying results. To think she did it all by herself and with the advice of two of her closest friends is quite an achievement. She not only succeeded in getting the color she wanted but styled it perfectly.
Along with colouring hair, one of the most common activities of the pandemic was to cut your own hair. Women, who normally have long hair, have cut it short to see how it would suit them. Some have been satisfied with their results, but some wish that they could hide from society until their hair grows back out. A student from BRACU looks back on how she attempted to cut her own fringes, while her hand shook uncontrollably as she held her hair between the scissors. It was something she had never done before, but had seen countless videos on the internet where it went horribly wrong. She did come to regret it later, as she says the haircut was unflattering on her. Another student recollects that her mother had to cut her father’s hair, as he was scared he might get infected at the saloon. The haircut did not turn out like her father’s usual haircut, but her mother was still proud of it. In instances like these, we are just trying to make the most of the circumstances we are in and hold on to some form of control in our lives. Thus, the easiest thing we can have immediate control of is our hair.
However, it is also true that, for some, their hair has gone out of control in the pandemic. Mahee, a BRACU student, says the pandemic has given him a chance to grow out his hair, and now he does not feel the need to cut it. Although he finds his new long locks to be difficult to maintain, he has come to get used to it, and says he would feel bad when he eventually has to get rid of it. Thus, many others like Mahee have allowed their hair to grow naturally, whether it is because it’s something they always wanted to do but never had the chance to, or because saloons are not the safest place to be in a pandemic. Even though many feel the upkeep of longer hair is not worth it, they do not have a choice but to keep it that way.
The pandemic has left us frustrated with our lives, and many have taken out their frustrations on their hair. Some have resulted in a trendy new hairstyle, but some have resulted in sheer horror at the outcome. Whatever it may be, we could explore and experiment with how we look, which we would not have been able to do before. Now, as we see the slight glimmers of hope that the pandemic will end, experimenting on hair has somewhat gone down. But, hopefully people will be encouraged to look however they want even after everything has gone back to normal.