Posts Tagged ‘Ethnic Identity’

Got a haircut today.  Some conversations from the Manila Barbershop close to Santa Monica and Vermont went as follows:

“You Pilipino?” “Opo.”  “Talaga…?  No half?”  “Hindi po.”  “You don’t look like a Pilipino.  Pilipinos don’t have this one (pokes his comb at my beard).  That’s why Pilipinos don’t know how to shave!  Maybe you’re from Mindanao? Di ba?  Oh, so how do you want your hair?  Like mine?”

10 minutes later… “Oh, sige…  Now I’ve made you handsome!”  “Now???”  “Oo, oo,  kasi, before you were ok, now you are handsome!”  “Kahit ano po…  magkano ba…?

Did exchanges in the barber’s chair touch upon sensitivities and tensions I had brought to the surface around exclusion/inclusion with regards to Pilipino identity, and the Fil-Am community?  Yes.  Was I still very happy to be in a barbershop my dad used to bring me to when I was a kid?  Yes.  Where else around LA do I get to see a bunch of lolos and lolas watching a Laker game, shootin the shit, and doing random stuff like moving an exercise bike out of the barbershop and into one of the pare’s nearby apartments?

Do I feel a strong sense of inclusion in this tiny barbershop community?  Not really.  Do I feel a strong sense of exclusion due to the perceptions that manifest in the interactions that take place there?  Not really.  I suppose it’s more nostalgia that keeps me coming back.  Oh yeah, and my usual barber here looks kinda like DJ Rhettmatic



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