The perils of wet hair in Chile (and other temperature related items)

Lydia just posted about some strange beliefs that Chileans have when it comes to temperature and health. I have to admit, the sideways face effect is the strangest one!

However, I can assure you, Chileans are obsessed with not getting cold. The reason I have so many apparatuses to keep me warm is that my host mom is insistent that neither Sara nor I be cold.

Also, wet hair in the winter is considered a fatal recipe for getting sick. Never mind that when I was in middle school I used to wait for the bus in -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 degrees C) with hair so wet that icicles would form. Now, if I go out and it’s 55 degrees F and my hair is a bit damp, it’s guaranteed that I’ll get pneumonia or the flu. Everyone is always telling me, “Sécate el pelo Abby!!” (“Abby, dry your hair!”) This is what I want to tell them:


Well, I do. You see, in high school I wanted to curl my hair for the Winter Ball. The problem was, I had to milk the cows (not joking) the day of Winter Ball. Unfortunately, cow manure has never been a fashionable perfume scent, and so I had to take a shower before doing my hair. In order to tell my uncle how early I would have to leave from milking (he got me a replacement, but not for the whole time), I had to calculate how long I would need to completely dry my hair. So a few days before the Winter Ball, I took a shower and then immediately started drying my hair. It took almost ONE HOUR. Since then, I’ve never completely dried my hair.

But I do admit that I’ve started partially drying it, just on the top so that I pass piola (so nobody notices). Today I did just that because I was going to have lunch with the host family. Drying my hair is hard work, plus I had hot hair blowing on me, so my face got a little red. So I arrived and everyone starts yelling at me, “Abby, desabrigate! No hace frío! Y estás roja!” (Abby, take off some layers! It’s not cold out! And you’re so red!)

I can never win.


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