When You Don't Mess with the Zohan premiered last 2008, comedy fans and escapists like me trooped to the cinema and almost fell off our chairs laughing. Ironic and improbable as it was, Zohan (played by Adam Sandler) is a tough Israeli Commander who fakes his death to pursue his dream of becoming a hair-stylist in New York.
Still, I always felt guilty behind my laughter because I didn't agree with the overall politics of the film. Looking at it in a critical way, given the history of the Middle East and America, Zohan was created to distantiate the American citizen from his fear of stereotypi
cal, dark-haired, bearded and terrorist Middle Eastern man. Zohan might have been an anti-terrorist go-to-guy, but he never thought twice in employing violent tactics to get ahead of his enemies. Worse, Zohan is reduced to dreaming the American dream. And this is the country that has decades of history of warfare and injustice against the Middle East, reasoning that it's counter-terrorism. In the end, the film producers conceal the truth and naturalize the wars and racism in the form of an amusing and hilarious comedy film.
But film texts and politics aside, a recent experience made me remember Zohan, the straight, sex machine hair-stylist, whose got hundreds of older women lining up for a hair cut and more. The sex part was an exaggeration and green humor device I suppose. But I guess the logic was that these women loved Zohan because here's a guy who knew how to make a woman not only look beautiful, but also feel beautiful.
Last weekend, I think I might have found my Zohan. :-)
Fate led me to a an upper-class type parlor is Metropolis, Ortigas. My Zohan (for the purposes of this article, I'll call him this way) was sporting a tight collared shirt, a hairstyle too funky and hip to be a straight guy's. A leather bag full of scissors and hairstyling what-not strapped to his bulging chest, my Zohan cleared his throat and smiled as the receptionist introduced us. My Zohan was too masculine to be gay!
There was no seductive, sizzling shampooing experience. But it was just sexy the way he said, "Ako bahala"("Leave it to me") to my "Uhm, I have no idea what to do with my hair".
Smooth and silky-- this was Zohan's motto, in the film that is.
And that is what my Zohan exactly did. He dyed my hair light brown, fit to my fair skin, he said. Then softened the the bristles and tassles with a good old warm hot oil treatment. But the best part was, the cutting of hair!
He was in control, concentrating on the task at hand. He cut, then gazed at me, lifted a pile of hair, stared then cut again. But always, always, glancing at me with an abrupt gaze. And I just knew this guy, My Zohan, is a sensitive woman's man, who knew important it was for a girl to feel beautiful. Forget those guys who laughed and hissed at their girlfriend's 30-minute powder room break! Who didn't give a damn if it's a light blue chiffon dress or a silky red ensemble. Or didn't even notice his girl's got a new hair style. Here is a guy who finally understood.
When he applied his finishing touches and unhooked the white gown, I had to stop myself from demanding more, "Pakiiklian pa nga!" I was devastated it had to end. And I knew all there was left to do was give him a hearty tip and the sweetest smile I could muster.
And now I just can't wait for my hair to grow back and find another reason to visit my Zohan for another beauty session.