Celebrity hairstylist Ethan David came across his partner Roland Rittenau in Singapore in 2016, and kept in touch on social media for months. “We finally met again in Singapore after a year and understood how special we are to each other,” Ethan—who does the hair of KC Concepcion, Maja Salvador, and Chie Filomeno, amonhg other star clients, narrates to ABS-CBN Lifestyle. “Though coming from different backgrounds, we immediately felt the potential to be each other’s destiny.”
Yet Ethan and Roland's story didn't begin with plain rainbows and butterflies. While his friends have always been supportive of his fairly new relationship, Ethan was initially quite reluctant to share it with his parents. “Before, they were filtered out on my posts. Coming from a religious family made it harder to tell,” he recalls.
And so Ethan only felt overjoyed at the eventual revelation, he says. “Finally, when Roland visited them in Manila, I was speechless on how hospitable and nice they were to him. They greeted him with a warm welcome and treated him as part of the family. I was crying tears of happiness—many,” he muses.
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For years, Ethan and Roland have enjoyed traveling, drinking wine, and appreciating each other’s culture. “Roland has adopted parts of the Filipino lifestyle and I love many parts of the European lifestyle,” the celebrity hairstylist continues. Their different backgrounds, he says, only brought them closer. “We do not see this as a burden because we complement and learn from each other.”
In terms of meeting conflicts, Ethan says they operate just like any other couple. “We discuss things and we don’t expect each other to always understand non-explicit gestures or situations,” he shares. His best relationship advice? “Even in the heaven of love, leave enough space for individual privacy and of course, trust.”
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And like some couples very much in love, Ethan and Roland are also on to planning their wedding. Their month and destination of choice: this October, and in Vienna, Austria where same-sex marriage is legally recognized. Of this, Ethan can only ponder his support for the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill in the Philippines. “I sincerely wish that the Philippines will reach this status soon."
Stressing non-discrimination as one of the fundamental principles of human rights, Ethan says, “It’s very unfortunate that some politicians still think they can improve their standing by promoting prejudice against minorities... If they can present good results of their good work, they would not need to use bigotry to replace performance.” It's a tired narrative that Ethan says those from various religious sectors can also let go of.
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Photographs taken from instagram.com/ethandavid_