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Black Velvet
December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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So, I Cut Off All My Hair (Video)

Submitted by on October 4, 2010 – 4:20 am26 Comments

Ed. Note: Welcome to Hair Week on the Tiki Tiki! We’re talking all sorts of hair issues — cutting it off, straightening it, loving it, being frustated by it…Let’s pretend we’re in a salon and chat….

Two months after I cut my hair, my daughter tells me I don’t really look like a boy anymore and my husband says he’s gotten used to it.

Me? I could not be happier sans the 8 or 9 inches I cut off my head in July, the minute I got home from my 25th high school reunion. (I admit to vanity here…)

This makes the fourth time in 20 years that I went from very long to very short hair. (The third time during my marriage.)

Sometimes, I just feel the need to shed, to restart. The flooding in Nashville this past May has something to do with this current cropping. The desire to get rid of stuff began then. I saw so much stuff thrown about on the streets, in lawns, on the river bank, that it forced me to take a good look at the things I can live without. Hair, being one of those things. Plus, my exercise is done mostly in a pool and having short hair is so much easier for that.

Anyway, the whole point of this post really is to talk about the idea that, as a Latina, I am swimming against the tide with this particular pixie style.

If you look at the images in popular culture, or if you look at your own Latin friends and family, what kind of hair do most of them have? Long. Si!

Every time I have cut my hair off, I have had to shake off some voice inside my head that tells me I am ignoring a cultural mandate to have long hair. Pelo Largo!

When I was about 8, I got my first short haircut. I was not happy about it then and that unhappiness was further fueled by an espiritista friend of my mom’s who said that “Las hija de la Caridad” should not have short hair.  To translate, la Caridad is Cuba’s patron saint, the coquetish mother of the rivers, influencer of love and riches, for whom I was named. (This may be why I have never won the lotto…I keep cutting off my hair.)

So, let’s talk about this. Do you have short hair? Would you have short hair? Do you think I am crazy to think Latinas don’t cut their hair because then well, they wouldn’t look as Latina? Or because  their machos threaten divorce?

Or, s it an every-woman thing, and not specific to our culture? (Probably…)

If you google anything that has to do with Latinas, the images you get are of long-haired — and often half-naked — beauties. Case in point:

So maybe I am not so crazy in my theory?

I don’t look like any of the above now…but then again, I never really did. And, I’m still me. An American Latina a mi estilo y sabor.


Coming up tomorrow: Marta, she of the curly hair, gets a Brazilian Blowout and films it. Oh yes.

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  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tiki Tiki Blog and Tiki Tiki Blog, Tracy López. Tracy López said: RT @TikiTikiBlog: On the Tiki Tiki: So, I Cut Off All My Hair (Video) http://goo.gl/fb/0eusm [...]

  • jackie says:

    I think you look awesome with short hair. I would love to cut mine like that, since right now I have a very grabby infant, but I’m not sure my gringo husband would go for it. :) Also, my hair is fine, not thick, and graying, and my face is on the round side. Oh well. You seriously look great.

    • Carrie says:

      Jackie, thank you! I remember when I had a grabby infant, my hair was always in a ponytail. Always. And, I used to worry about “round head” not just “round face” but not so much anymore!
      Hilarious too that your gringo wouldn’t go for it…in truth, mine wouldn’t either if he had a choice. :)

  • Tracy López says:

    I think it looks very chic and I’m glad your daughter and husband are now on board :)

    I also like to swim and can vouch for long hair not being very convenient in this case.

    For me personally, as long as it has been my decision, my hair has been long, (except 2 moments of insanity when I was pregnant.) As a girl, my mother always had it cut short and I think it traumatized me. LOL. She did it because I was a tomboy and wouldn’t brush it – which is a fair reason, but I hated seeing the other girls at school braiding each other’s hair and not being included.

    As for long hair being expected of Latinas – I think that this is due to Marianismo, for the most part.

    Though no doubt Latinas face more stereotypes, to be fair, if you search Google images for “women”, “girls”, “beautiful women”, “white girls”, “black women”, “Asian women” (you get the idea), you will find that the majority of the photos are:

    A) Women with long hair
    B) If not overtly sexual, at least suggestive

    It’s a symptom of the world we live in, where women in general are still prized for beauty/sex above all else.
    Tracy López´s last [fabulousness] ..Pumpkin Love

  • Abuelita says:

    You look great no matter how long or short is your hair.

  • Dariela says:

    You look great! It is a fact though that long hair is linked to women and latinas do have the men craving that long hair for some reason. The cool thing about it in my opinion is that now a days we are open and we can do and speak what we want, ay, la modernidad! Que bueno!
    Dariela´s last [fabulousness] ..1st day of Preschool for Adrian

  • Micaela Vega says:

    Great video Carrie – you look gorgeous!

    I have long hair, but it’s more utilitarian than for looks. I started growing it out about 1.5 years ago to donate. Hoping to cut it soon, but will likely be shoulder length.

    You are right – it always grows back, even if you have regrets (which you should not!)

    Micaela Vega´s last [fabulousness] ..Blogadera Interview

  • elsie says:

    Mira Chica!!


    I just chopped off my hair too! I never thought of it being a Latina thing or not but honestly my “latinaness” is mostly in my eyes and I think the short hair brings more attention to that feature! LOVE your haircut mija! You look amazing!

    • Carrie says:

      Elsie! I have been going through your blog and it feels like we have a little parallel universe thing in some topics — the reasons for cutting hair, and the moms going back to Cuba for the first time in forever.
      I have so loved looking at your site and learning more about you.
      I will be back.

      And, you look fabulous with the short hair! It is liberating, isn’t it?

  • Marta says:

    I’d just like to point out that you have a BEAUTIFUL face. The short hair enhances your already fabulous good looks.

    Marta´s last [fabulousness] ..Celebrating My 4th Bloggiversary – Winners!

  • I love hair conversation because it is such a loaded and interesting topic to me, touching upon culture and sexism.

    I would LOVE to cut all of my hair to less than an inch high. It would be so liberating, so easy, so practical. Yet, lots of things keep me from doing it (and I’m ashamed to admit it): I’m afraid I would look ordinary and perceived less “professional” at work.

    I admire women who go for it — cut it off — and just don’t care — they feel comfortable being themselves in the way they want to be. Perhaps I’ll get there one day…you never know.

    Great conversation, Carrie!

  • Lourdes says:

    Hi Carrie…you LOOK FABULOUS!!!! I, on the other hand, don’t wear short hair well. I had short hair for the first 11 years of my life because my mami didn’t want to fool with my hair in the morning. After I gained “some” control, I swore to keep it long for the rest of my life…LOL

  • Luly says:

    Carrie, let me start by saying that you have a lovely face and the perfect features for that hairstyle. That haircut is not something a lot of women can get away with and you carry it off beautifully.

    With that said, I hate stereotypes. I think it’s unfortunate that we Latinas get stereotyped SO much about, well, a lot of things.

    Personally, I’ve had long hair and I’ve had short hair, but since I have naturally curly hair, I’ve opted more for the longer styles just because for curly hair, it’s easier to deal with that way and IMO I think curly hair looks nicer when worn long. However, being a teenager in the late ’70s and early 80′s when Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith were the icons of the day was no easy task. Back in the days of big clunky hair dryers, I’d spend hours styling and straightening my curly locks with huge curlers the size of Redi-Whip cans in an attempt to get that beautiful feathered look that was all the rage. Thank goodness that a few years later, Gloria Estefan came on the scene with her thick curly mane!! That’s all it took for me to drop the curlers and let my curls loose. I never looked back.

    My beautiful mom got married in Cuba circa 1955 and she sported a beautifully chic short hairstyle a la Gina Lollobrigida. She tells me it was all the rage and many young women sported the same look at that time.

    So, sure although many Latinas might wear their hair long, I believe today’s media, the movies, T.V. etc. have overly portrayed the Latina woman as having long hair and have hammered the stereotype down our throats, but I don’t think it makes you any more or any less Latina to have short or long hair. It’s how you feel inside. Some Latinas don’t want to look Latina at all and dye their hair blonde and get blue contacts to avoid the “Latin” stereotype. It’s all about how secure you are and how good you feel about yourself. And hey, if a “macho” (as you say) threatens divorce over hair, then good riddance. Seriously.

    So after my pre-teen Farrah Fawcett wannabe days, I never again gave into stereotypes. I teach my daughter the same thing. Be your own person and march to the beat of your own drum. Do whatever makes YOU happy. You did and you look great. ☺

  • Lou says:

    You look adorable with short hair. Personally, I love short hair and I wore it that way for years and years. I’ve let it grow long, partly because I wanted a change (and partly because my BF has threatened to break up with me if I cut it). ;)

    Short hair is very chic now. A lot of A-list celebrities are going short this year, including Anne Hathaway, Hayden Panettiere, and Emma Watson. Estas de moda!
    Lou´s last [fabulousness] ..Currently…

  • Marcela says:

    You look awesome in short hair! It is very stylish!

    Growing up I always had short hair…even in high school.

    I have let my hair grow in the last 10 years..it’s good to know that my gringo won’t mind too much if I decide to cut again ( :
    Marcela´s last [fabulousness] ..My longest run beforeMarathon day

  • You DO NOT look like Justin Bieber! And no, I did not feel less Latina when I cut my hair a few years back. It was about as short as yours, if not shorter. You and Marta both look fab!!!
    Melanie (ModernMami)´s last [fabulousness] ..Love Your Cereal- Kellogg’s Mom’s Breakfast Club

  • Lisa Renata says:

    What can I say, I LOVE short hair. Growing up I mostly had short hair (and I mean boy short), and then as I got older I wanted the long, then short, and well…like you I go through phases where I want to shed it all, a new look- so I go for it and cut my hair!
    But, I think you’re right when you say that most Latinas wear long hair, I especially noticed that when I lived in Mazatlan. (Seriously wouldn’t you think that because it is a puerto, that the women would wear short hair? Pues no!) The majority of the women and niñas had long hair. Ni modo. Now my thing is…is it really a Latina thing, or a man thing? Do most men prefer long hair on women or short? I find that most like it long (including my hubby). I think my dad is one of those very few that prefer short.

    Carrie, enjoy your do, I am loving it. It really does look very nice on you.
    Lisa Renata´s last [fabulousness] ..sharing with you – compartiendo contigo

  • Ron says:

    I’m not Spanish, but I gotta tell you that the best thing about having lots of Spanish descent people around is the long hair on most women. I do admit to thinking when I see a shortie cut, “I hope that doesn’t catch on.” lol You DO have a pretty face, but as a dude, I just LUV wavy long hair on chicks. Can’t help it…….

  • Sue Valencia says:

    Carrie! I am just discovering your great posts in your blog! You dropped by in mine (gracias millones!)… so here I am.
    I just cut my hair a couple of weeks ago and I can relate to everything you just said. The need to shed… ay si!
    Here´s the post I wrote about my own experience. I just had to laugh a little bit, otherwise, lágrimas would´ve ensued. ;)


    Gracias de nuevo and so nice to read you!
    Sue V.

  • PEPE says:

    Funny thing. I was doing research for my GF of 10 years. I came across this article and started reading it. I know that alot of your are being supportive. And that is good. My problem goes back to my early years. One, my mother always had short hair. Two, I was yelled at a very early age by a woman with a shaved head. Three, I went to Parris Island for a while. So, I have three psychological issues when it comes to short hair.

    Short hair makes me think of Mom, I feel that short haired women want to treat my poorly, and it gives makes me think of a very stressful time in my life.

    So, how has this affected me. When I was 21-22 years old, I lived in Japan. I had a wonderful GF, so I thought. She used to joke around about cutting her hair like mine (a low regulation style military cut). Anyway, one day she surprised me with about a 2 inch cut with fades on the side. She said it made her feel very confident and very arrecho. For the life of me, I didn’t have the ganas. I felt pressured to do something I wasn’t ready for. She seemed like a different person, both in looks and attitude. Since the look was so shocking, I just couldn’t get into the mood. I tried to explain it to her, but then an argument ensued. I left and went home. I called her three days straight and she didn’t return any of my calls. Three weeks later, I had assumed we were done and I was leaving Japan to go back to Hawaii. So, I went out with friends and finally forgot about her.

    About a year later, I went to Peru for work. I didn’t have a reason to have a relationship, just dating. A fellow at the embassy that I worked with set me up with a friend of his family. She was quite striking. She didn’t have super long hair, but it came to just above the bra strap on the back. I decided to give a steady relationship with her a try. She was intelligent, nice, pretty, a little goofy, and spoke English. After about 3 weeks of dating, she cut her hair short. I looked just like my mothers. She came back with a very confident attitude and was quite touchy. I just couldn’t get into the mood of being intimate. I explained to her my issue and she then started yelling at me. I asked her to leave and she did. I went back to the bachelor scene with learning a new aspect about me. I don’t have a problem with short hair, but I really needed time to accept it.

    Most men have this fantasy about women with long hair. There are quite a lot of biological reasons behind this as well as psychological. Anyway, with my current GF, I have discussed this issue and we communicate well. She cut her hair to the lower neck and upper shoulders about 4 years ago. She really wanted to do it, but she also understood what my initial reaction would be. So, we were able to work passed the awkward time right after her cut. Ultimately I accepted it (hoping she would grow it back out) and she grew it back out to her waist to my surprise. What a lucky guy I am. Anyway, she wants to shed about two feet, which I understand. My point of this post is how happy relationships are based on communications. Even when it comes to haircuts. I let her choose mine. I don’t choose hers, but we make sure there will be an awkward period for about a week afterward whence I probably will push her away a bit. It isn’t a sign of I don’t love you, but a hey, I need some time to get to seeing you with this new look. I have noticed that when women cut their hair, they change physically as well as psychologically a bit. Either way, this causes us to change a little bit as well.

    Now, my final aspect is, if you want to cut your hair, please do so. It is your body and hair. However, let us know and be prepared to have a response you may not have expected from your husband, BF, or person you want to date. I have seen people in my office stop going out with a lady for a bad haircut they didn’t find appealing. But, if you communicate and don’t try to interpret us, things work out better. I am getting ready for my GF’s second cut. She should be back in about an hour. So, I am wondering what the response will be this time for her and I.

  • Christina says:

    When I had a boyfriend (he was Ecuadorian), he loved my hair long and was upset when I cut it (It was the first time I had ever cut it short–it was hot and humid in Miami, I am a practical person, and just found it annoying at that point, so I donated it to Locks of Love). After that, I grew it back out again, but then I cut it to a bob a few months ago. I think if you are with a man that is used to you with long hair, he will likely be upset if you cut it (men don’t seem to like change much in general). However, let me be the first to say that I had no problem whatsoever attracting men, Latino or otherwise, after cutting my hair short again. A lot of guys actually really liked it, even friends who had previously told me not to cut my hair. What can I say, if it looks good, it looks good! I don’t think most men really mind as long as you still dress and accessorize in a feminine manner. Anyhow, in the end it doesn’t really matter what they think, what matters most is what you think since you’re the one that has to look at yourself in the mirror everyday. If you like it, go for it! I think short hair is fun and cute!

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