If I Loved You Before…

mujer_caminando

“If I loved you before, it was for your hair,
now that you’re bald, I no longer love you.”

Children’s song

She woke up at six to meticulously untangle her hair with a broken toothbrush with the toughest bristles. Her hair reached almost to her waist, but now she was giving it a final straightening, a goodbye touch. Before the end of the year she turned her wavy mane into money to celebrate Christmas. “We buy hair,” could be read on the door of the narrow hallway where she went in, without dwelling on it. Two hairdressers assessed her mane based on the number of inches it exhibited, how copious it was, and especially on how well cared for. She arrived early with a long bun and left after noon with barely a bit of fuzz behind her ears. In exchange, she obtained an interesting sum in convertible pesos with which she bought pork, cider and tomatoes, and helped her mother repair her dentures. “It will grow,” she consoled her boyfriend when he saw her for the first time after the scalping. “I cut it because there was a plague of lice”… she fibbed.

The market for hair is gaining strength in a nation that oscillates between the imperatives of coquetry and material difficulties. Late in the Havana night, a good part of the bold hairstyles seen on the streets are achieved thanks to extensions and additions. Buyers with more money look for tresses that haven’t been dyed and particularly those from young women. Some of these traders travel to small towns, knowing that they will find the goods there at cheaper prices from more desperate sellers. In the hands of the stylists, what are also called “mechas” are glued, strand by strand, to the head of a new host in a process that takes hours. Although synthetic locks are also used, those of natural origin are in great demand and fetch a higher price. They are imported from Florida, Ecuador, Mexico and are a recurring order to relatives who travel abroad.

Right now, the only economic capital many women in this country have stems from their scalps. If the going gets tough, there will always be someone interested in buying their mane, an exchange of scissors for money.

125 thoughts on “If I Loved You Before…

  1. This makes me think of the O’Henry short story in which a woman sells her hair to get money to buy a Christmas gift for her beloved, while he sells something of equally precious value to him to buy her a comb for her beautiful long hair. I know a woman who wrote the major Russian (and formerly Soviet) Scholastic textbooks on literature, and she told me that O’Henry was an American author who was acceptable in Soviet times because his stories fit in to the meme that we in the west were living in worse conditions than life under communisim. This 2012 true story told by Joanni really puts the lie to that propaganda, no es verdad?

  2. Mr. Sprat, I would love Yoani to come to the USA. But I guess I’m not like the majority of Americans who will be voting for the communist party USA next election?

    How come you “communists”, who always speak for the majority, can never win an election anywhere in the world? It makes you sound like complete frauds. When a man is supported by less than 1% of the people and shouts “we the 99%”, that man is a complete lunatic. You and Fidel have much in common.

  3. Yoani Sanchez is a total fraud. The so-called book shows what a really stupid woman she is. Nothing but total lies, and so boring no one would read it that did not have to. Yoani lives in an apartment given to her, gets food from the Cuban government, spends as much time as she wants at the USIS, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars for trash talking. Contradicts herself on every blog; calls herself a web master for a web site in Germany that costs slightly over one million dollars to set up, and thousands more to maintain. Was totally destroyed by Salim Lamnia in an interview. Gets money form the U.S. government and Miami Cubans who have ruined Miami for all decent people. Is a right wing fascist who supports Batista regime as having “freedom of the press”. Gives interviews to the Propaganda arm of the U.S., Radio and T.V Marti. Has translators that never give their names with the exception of one woman in Seattle, Washington that does not speak Spanish and claims to have edited the book that Yoani is supposed to have written. Here is the basic contradiction the supporters have: if Oani is well known in Cuba, then, she is not blocked on the internet; if she is not well known, how can she be an influential person? Michael Parmly is quoted as saying he did not want it known that he had so many conservations with Yoani; of course not since she is a creation of the American government, and he was trying to hide that fact. Wikileaks exposed her for what she is: a fully bought and paid for surrogate of the U.S. IS. There is no way to hide that, and she is despised by Americans who know what she is, and we do not ever want her coming to the U.S. She would pollute the place as a known, paid spy who sells out her own country for money. She is the Mara Haria of Cuba.

  4. Eddie Brown, it is you who are lying, because absolutely nobody here has posted that if you get an exit visa from Cuba you will be able to travel anywhere in the world. Instead of insulting people, why can`t you simply answer very polite and relevant questions, like:

    How would you like it if you needed an exit visa from your government each time you wanted to leave your country?

    If the exit visas make no difference why doesn’t Raul get rid of them and score a huge propaganda victory?

    Why can’t any of the doctors I know in Cuba get exit visas even to travel to visit their children or brothers or sisters who live in Europe or North America or Mexico?

    How come unskilled Cubans I know like farmers or laborers can’t get exit visas to visit their children in Canada or Europe unless their spouses or other close family stay behind in Cuba? How come some can’t get exit visas at all?

    In all the above cases the Cubans had permission from a foreign government to visit a foreign country, but were kept hostage in Cuba by the Cuban government.

    I know exactly what karina said, but it has absolutely no relevance to the world of Cuban exit visas.

    Do you know why Raul is keeping the exit visas if they make no difference?

  5. humberto , i never insulted yoani . i said that she was a great writer . i insulted you … and a couple of other dumbasses that regularly comment on this blog (or in your case , cut and paste irrelevant articles) . again another lie you told .

  6. LMAO !

    help and humberto still can not read and understand . karina was not talking about EXIT visas , she was talking about cubans being denied ENTRY into other countries . try reading her posts again dumbasses . if a cuban citizen does get an exit visa from raul … it does not mean they can visit other countries easily . let me give you an example , if a cuban citizen shows up in a canadian airport and thinks they will be allowed to visit as a regular tourist … they are sadly mistaken . most likely they will be denied entry and put on a plane back to cuba , if they are lucky . if they are unlucky they will be detained in a refugee center for up to 90 days and then put on a plane back to cuba . many countries have a big problem with illegal immigration and are very wary of people coming who are likely to stay in the country illegally . cubans are seen as a very high risk to do this . no it is not fair … but that is the way it is . so stop lying to the cuban people and stop telling them that if the exit visa restrictions are loosened that they will be able to freely travel any where they want . that is not the truth and you know it but you keep repeating it . that is why you are no different than the castros . liars .

  7. Jack, I keep telling you there is no Cuba, just a CIA op to distract us from the empire’s invasion of Iceland. Catch you later, have to go sell my blood now.

  8. In the U.S. people have to sell their blood and hair. Cubans are lucky that they can get blood with capitalist enterprises selling it to hospitals, often with HIV intact.

  9. TWITTER ACCOUNTS!

    YOANI SANCHEZ (at) YoaniSanchez : 194,563 Followers
    FIDEL CASTRO (at) ReflexionFidel : 172,260 Followers

    HMM! YOANI HAS ALMOST 22,000 MORE FOLLOWERS THAN THE MUMMY FIDEL! YEP, Eddie Brownnosing SHE IS IRRELEVANT! JE JE JE!

  10. Eddie Brown: “they are why all of the readers with any small bit of a brain have left this blog”

    Eddie Brown: “karina… i did read your posts and comprehended what you were saying”

    Strange because karina didn’t say anything. She refused to answer every question I posed politely, insulted everyone, and left.

    Maybe Eddie Brown can politely explain why Cuban doctors can’t get exit visas to travel?

    Or, why are couples routinely denied permission to visit their children in Europe or Canada or Mexico? Why does Raul, in most cases, only give an exit visa to one parent or sibling at a time?

    Or why Raul keeps the exit visas if it doesn’t make a difference?

    I know if my government forbade me from ever traveling to another country, it would make a big difference to me. Or if they told me I could travel, but only once every few years, and never with my wife, that would also make a big difference in my life.

  11. Eddie Brownnosing karina said: ” karina , unlike most of the idiots on this board , i did read your posts and i comprehended what you were saying as well. help , humberto , kim and the rest are just as bad as the castros . dumbasses who only can see their own narrow visions . they and damir deserve each other . both too stupid to hold any kind of a civil discussion , which is why i resort to their own tactics and simply insult their lack of intelligence . 99 percent of the people who comment on this board are simple minded dumbasses . i laugh at them and their left and right propaganda spewing simple simon responses . they are entirely predictable and they are why all of the readers with any small bit of a brain have left this blog . its a shame , because yoani is a good writer , but her readers are the dumbest of the dumb .”

    OH MAN EDDIE BROWNOSING! YOU ARE PRICELESS AND TRANSPARENT PAPITO! KEEP THE ASSAULT ON YOANI, HELP, KIM AND THOSE WHO PRACTICE FREEDOM OF SPEECH HERE! ITS A BADGE OF HONOR FOR ALL OF US! BIG GUSANO HUGS AND KISSES TO YOU! ONE QUESTION, IS THERE SUCH A PERSON AS EDDIE BROWN? CAN I GET A LINK TO SOME OF YOUR COMMENTS ONLINE TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT IMPERSONATING SOMEONE? GRACIAS AMIGO!

  12. karina , unlike most of the idiots on this board , i did read your posts and i comprehended what you were saying as well . you are absolutely correct . if cuba relaxes the travel restrictions for cuban citizens , those citizens will find it nearly impossible to gain entry visas to most countries in the world . if the idiots who can not read could actually read , they would understand that they will be free to travel outside their country , but will not be allowed into other countries . help , humberto , kim and the rest are just as bad as the castros . dumbasses who only can see their own narrow visions . they and damir deserve each other . both too stupid to hold any kind of a civil discussion , which is why i resort to their own tactics and simply insult their lack of intelligence . 99 percent of the people who comment on this board are simple minded dumbasses . i laugh at them and their left and right propaganda spewing simple simon responses . they are entirely predictable and they are why all of the readers with any small bit of a brain have left this blog . its a shame , because yoani is a good writer , but her readers are the dumbest of the dumb .

  13. OMG HELP, HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN!I CIA what you mean!You can CIA that every CASTROFASCIST agent/apologist always wants everyone to CIA it their way, with the CIA beign ALWAYS the reason behind EVERY BAD THING THAT STRIKES CUBA PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE! I hope the readers here can CIA thru this PROPAGANDA TOOL!

    OF COURSE I HAD TO DO THE PUN! TOO EASY! You all can CIA that! OMG, I CAN UNLOCK THE CAPS!! JE JE JE!

  14. Humberto, you forgot the biggest keyword: CIA

    Everybody in Cuba who hates the government, which would be about 11 million people, is a CIA agent with a secret bank account holding hundreds of thousands of dollars. They just act poor, part of their CIA training.

  15. We also have bases in Japan, but have no intention of invading the country, no matter how successful Japanese cars are. Ditto Canada, Iceland, and other countries.

    That people, born with brains apparently, can mention “success” and “Cuba” in the same breath, always renews my faith in human stupidity. But keep reading Granma, if that’s what makes you happy.

    Charles Manson made his followers happy too. Have you read his collected works yet? They’re right up there with the reflections of Marx and Lenin and Fidel and Che. I highly recommend you add Manson to your reading list.

  16. KEYWORDS FOR THE AGENTS/APOLOGISTS : Guantanamo, SINA (US Interst Section), Posada Carriles, Mercenary and that old, and I mean REALLY OLD ONE the MONEY$$$$$$$$$$$$$ ACCUSATIONS!!! CAN ANYONE SEND THESE PEOPLE A NEW SCRIPT POR FAVOR!!

  17. Hello Help:

    First,you seemed to be speaking for a young and intelligent woman (Yoani) who does not need a spokesman.Second, you did not critically engaged any of my ideas, but used the all rhetoric that just because we have a black president, racism just disapeared here. Paraphrasing proffesor Wise, please find below the following critical and engaging thought.

    This is, after all, the common response that so many white people offen whenever someone dares to mentione the les “selebratory” aspects of our national history: what about the multiple centuries of human trafficking, and racial subordination to which the white people benefited, at least in relative terms. Indeed, whenever someone deings to mention any of those matters-like the national legacy of enslavement, indian genocide and imperialistic land grabs- the rebuttal to which we so often retreat is as automatic as it is enraging: “Oh that was a long time ago, get over it”, or “Stop living in the past,” or “At some point, we just have to move on”.
    Well, sometimes certain people want to “move on” when the history of their actions is not necessarily alturistic. However, I am sure that every July 4th, you are one of the people who does not want to “move on” from the past, goes out, gets some fireworks and shouts or celebrate another anniversary of our independence from the British, which is long, long in our historical past, but we seemed unable to move on from it.

  18. UnSoricel, glad to see your using your brain and reading Granma. That’s right, the USA can’t stand Castro’s success story and is preparing to invade Cuba.

    But first we have invade Canada, Sweden and China, Castro’s army is just too strong for us right now.

  19. Hey Cuba libre, when are you going to write anything positive about Canada, that’s where you’re from, right? Last time I checked, life was better there in many ways than in Cuba. Yet all you do is trash Canada (and the USA) and criticize Yoani for being too negative about Castro, your hero.

    Totally bizarre.

  20. Felix, Yoani finds comments hard to read here and I doubt has a relevant answer for you as she hasn’t been to the USA.

    About your thesis, it’s false. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have a black president and also blacks head some of our biggest corporations. Not that I care what color a person’s skin color is, it’s the obsession of very small minds. I hope one day we can all look past color, religion, gender, nationality, etc, and learn to appreciate our common humanity.

    One thing I agree with is that there is too much prejudice in our society, but that affects all our communities, black, white, hispanic, muslim, christian, jewish, atheist, and everybody else. Maybe some of your beliefs are the result of your own prejudices?

  21. Cuba Libre (Mr. Mentirita)! THANKS FOR THE PET NAME! VERY ORIGINAL! JE JE JE! ALL I CAN SAY TO YOU IS FUACATAAAAAAAAAA!!! I LIKE TO PUT IT AT THE END FOR BETTER EFFECT! JE JE JE!

  22. Humberto (el ciber rata)
    There is nothing to answer to, you keep posting newspaper articles from journalists like yourself who look for sensationalism, and which are quick to critisize any government action being it good or bad. Like I stated before, you are a good journalist, true to your nature, but when it comes to stating the facts as they are, you missed the boat bro.

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