An exemplar of High Maintenance


Well, last week, Miss Colombia was crowned Miss Universe after 57 years of Colombian absence from the throne (One good thing that came out of this competition is surely the correct spelling of the country’s name. Columbia no more!). So it’s about time to explain why Colombian women are seen as beautiful.

After doing some anecdotal research (which includes numerous conversations with men, Colombian and non-Colombian alike), the conclusion is that Colombian women take very good care of themselves.

What does that really mean? And how can you do acquire beauty the same way they do? It ranges from daily beauty salon visits to colour coded wardrobes. Monthly keratin treatment on hair. Weekly nail sessions (even pedicure, though the exact reason for that is unfathomable to me because Bogotá is in a temperate climate zone, which means we women routinely wear closed-toe shoes or even boots, with no need to show off our immaculate toes).

Here in Bogotá, you will often see very good looking women everyday, and one might wonder how it is that they have managed to look great to go to work with up to 4 hours of daily commuting time (well, if traffic means sitting at one spot, not moving, then you can easily clock up the hours). This means waking up at 4 or 4.30am, reading the bible, taking a shower, then a trip to the beauty salon by 7am for a blow dry for the typical office workers. Although just to make a note, this seems to be more of a practice for the 30+ ladies than the ones who have recently entered the job market, who would more likely display just-washed hair, still wet out of the shower, when they get to the office.

The HAIR is a very crucial factor to the perception of beauty in Colombia. To better understand the human psyche in relation to femininity, it warrants anthropological investigation. It is no coincidence that most Colombian women have a luscious mane. Short hair is confined to the above 60 age group. Teenage girls or university students all have long hair (I can bet a 99% statistical rate).

While I find it difficult to understand how so much effort could be made for hair maintenance (or removal), I find it yet harder to explain how the ladies could have so many colours in the wardrobe. One day it’s a fuchsia belt with a fuchsia blouse of the same shade, another day it’s bright blue shoes with bright blue watch and shirt.. And another day it’s green leggings with a green cardigan and green earrings. And then you’d get a red watch, red handbag and red silk scarf.. (This is all from the same person btw).

It’s a stark contrast to England, at least. I can’t speak for America, but I am sure not every office lady there would have perfect nails, hair and shaved legs when they to work everyday. A manicure could be as cheap as COP 5.000 (USD $2 at the current exchange rate), so it’s relatively affordable. Even the working class, like house cleaners, who may use their hands a lot, would show off some nail art, which I just don’t see the practicality of it, and I for one hate using my hands when my nails are perfect. One can almost see perfect nails comparable to the bound feet. They cripple women, keeping us away from the emancipation of our binding role..

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One comment

  1. […] pride among them for their country. ‘We have the best coffee!’ ‘We have the most beautiful women!‘ ‘We have the best salsa!’ ‘We have the most […]

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