Forget democracy: let's talk Mexican hair, ladies (+video)(Read article summary)
Mexico's president-elect Peña Nieto attracted as much attention for his lush locks as his politics. Did his glistening mane overshadow more serious talk on democracy?
Hardly an article can be written about the winner in Mexico's presidential election Sunday without discussion of ... the victor's hair.
Forget the race's impact on the democratic future of Mexico. More intriguing to Mexicans is winner Enrique Peña Nieto's glistening locks. They're hard to overlook. He's also got glistening teeth. And great bone structure, not to mention what appears to be a perma-tan, all of which has led reporters to liken him to JFK and Barbie's Ken.
His followers showed up to rallies wearing wigs styled in his emblematic coiffure, the best way they knew how to show their solidarity for the candidate of the PRI, which took back power after 12 years.
But really, were the wigs they sported even necessary? After all, Mexicans have great hair, plain and simple. Enrique Peña Nieto's do might be the most celebrated right now, but it's certainly not an anomaly south of the border.
As one irreverent columnist from the alternative weekly the Dallas Observer wrote in an “Ask a Mexican” column, “If there's one body feature that Mexicans can boast about,” he writes, with a few side notes edited out for the purpose of this family newspaper, “it's follicles, repositories of the world's hair DNA. Kinky, straight, curly or wavy, the Mexican head is pregnant with possibility, and Mexicans do everything possible to draw attention to what humans can do with a comb and three pounds of gel.”
I happen to be writing this as I look out my window in Mexico City, where I can see ... five heads that would be the envy of the world. I am also writing this as the wife of a bald man, as in shaved off, completely bald. In the six years that we've lived here, I have been painfully aware of the looks of pity from Mexican women. (Though, ladies, don't feel so bad, it serves an amazing pragmatic purpose here: I can spot my husband in a flash second in this vast megalopolis.)