Cuba's digital destination
by Lucía Lamadrid
Gone are the days when hairstyle-wise, the most complicated thing for men was deciding whether to part their hair to one side or simply comb it straight back. This is not to say that men were unconcerned about the way they groomed their hair. In the early 20th century, men throughout the Western world copied Rudolph Valentino’s perfectly greased-back hair, and in the 1950s, James Dean and Elvis Presley made the Pompadour fashionable. In the 1960’s, the Beatles popularized the moptop, which was widely imitated worldwide and would impact fashion globally.
Cuba is no exception to these fads. Nowadays, there seems to be an explosion of new, “transgressive” hairstyles for the boys. Just take a stroll around Havana. Whether it’s the city’s historic center, the Malecón or Miramar, you will find no shortage of uncanny hairdos in the guys: the Magua; the Tiburón; the Bistec; the Moñito (plain or cooked up with the Magua or the Tiburón); the Dominicano; the Machimbrao, the Mohicano… And the list goes on and on.
Cuban lads are no longer satisfied with visiting the barber once a month. They are now going to beauty salons, previously considered women’s exclusive domain. The Mohicano, or Mohawk, for instance, is being pushed to extremes. Although the sides are still shaved down, height and color are being added to the old standard.
But of this epidemic of (unfortunate?) haircuts, perhaps the most common one of all is the Yonki, which, alas, is all the rage in Havana. Popularized by Cuban reggaeton star El Yonki, the hairstyle can vary from person to person and basically leaves more hair on the sides than a Mohawk and a bit less height on top. The sides may sport drawings, letters or symbols, depending on the customer’s wishes—and the hairdresser’s ability.
These hairstyles and haircuts in guys (some discrete, others visible a mile away) are sometimes regarded with reluctance, especially by parents, who simply can’t understand “the horrific haircut the kid just got.” But one thing is for sure, though: the streets of Havana are teeming with unique hairstyles and, for better or worse, they seem to be here to stay.