HAIRY TALES: The Fares Family of Zakho Spends All Their Time and Money on Their Menfolk’s Tresses

The Fares brothers of Zakho, in Dohuk, are teased a lot. And it’s always about their hair.

By Saja Shirzad

“One of the things we often get asked is why we don’t have enough money to go to the hairdresser,” says Radwan, one of the three siblings. “But they don’t know that we spend around the equivalent of an entire Iraqi family on hair care and styling,” he laughs.

His brother, Tamar, has grown his hair down to his waist and it’s been that way since he was a child. He’s a graphic artist and, as he puts it, “My hair and the way it is styled say that I am an artist,” Tamar says.

The 22-year-old doesn’t want to cut it – it’s an important part of his personality. However, he says that, if it became an impediment to getting married – as in, his prospective bride’s family thought it was too odd – he would get the chop.

Tamar’s younger brother Haji is just 18 and he also has really long hair. Yes, there is teasing and insults, Haji concedes, “but that just gives me more strength. I feel different,” he boasts.

“People look at us strangely sometimes,” Radwan, 21, agrees – he’s a fine arts student at the university and has slightly shorter hair than his brothers because his is curly. “But when we talk to them, they always become our friends.”

The siblings’ father, Fares, doesn’t mind that his three sons have grown their hair so long and that they stand out in this relatively conservative city. He would love to see them end up in the Guinness Book of Records someday for their hair.

“It’s actually very difficult to take care of hair like this,” Fares told Al Menasa. “In fact, they can’t wash and dry their hair properly without help from their mother and sister. They help the boys style their hair every morning too.”

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