Remember that 80’s hit from Klymaxx? Anyhow, this is what was happening to me when I would walk into a room around my birthday this past March. Some women paused, too. Even the jaws of children would drop. Why? Was it my birthday aura? The confidence of being a woman who knows she’s got it going on?
Umm, not really. This was the reason why.
If you’re curious as to why this look made the people stop and stare…remember Afro Girl?
I had my hair straightened because a) I really needed a trim (desperately), b) because I wanted to change it up. I hadn’t straightened my hair since my last BC (that’s Big Chop, see Respect the Fro) almost two years prior.
I got mostly positive feedback. My friend’s eight-year-old son’s jaw practically fell off his face. People at work doubled back when they passed my cubicle. One dude in Wendy’s just kept looking. I’m pretty sure if I had my puff or my full-out Foxy Brown ‘fro, he probably wouldn’t been looking so hard. Unfortunately, it just further solidified the fact that even though we kinky/curly chicks have come a long way in keeping it natural (think of the overwhelming explosion of products catered to natural hair), the “straight-and-narrow” is still the standard and the preference for other people when it comes to our hair. Paul Mooney once said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that relaxers cause the people around you to relax. I think I might have to agree with him.
Of course, I got questions:
Did you relax it? Nope. Nothing but juices and berries…and a blow dryer and flat iron.
Is it all yours? Yes. What you see on me normally is called shrinkage. Why? Because it’s tightly coiled normally. Straighten out the coils, you get the actual length.
Seriously, you didn’t put a perm in it? Don’t believe me? Wait 1-2 weeks and you’ll get your answer.
Did I get some bass-ackwards comments? You know I did! One lady said I’d gone “white”…for real? Yeah, she got the side eye. I’ve already established that I’m not some afro-crazed nap official, so why the (insert your choice of colorful word here) would you make an asanine statement like that? Just further confirmation that sometimes, you can’t fix stupid. (Thanks to my buddy for sharing that quote with me)
And after the questions and crazy comments, the inevitable happened…
“You know, I like your hair the other way, but this looks REALLY good…”
“You always look nice, but this is so stunning on you…”
I knew it was coming, though. Really, I did. People are entitled to their opinions. However at the end of the day, this is MY HAIR. I have to maintain it, not them. I have to be happy with who I see looking back at me. And truthfully, I love the kinks, curls, and naps. Did I like the time I spent rocking my Joan Clayton hairdo (circa the last few seasons of “Girlfriends”). Of course, it was awesome. It had bounce, body, and shine. I learned a new technique to keep the body…pincurls (yes, I know I’m late, folks). The pincurls also helped my style stretch another week when my roots started to whisper “We’re going back to our natural curl pattern now. Let the ends know we’re waiting on them to get the memo.”
I love the variety that my hair gives me, so the “Joan” may pop up again…but in the meantime, my straight hair is like a Disney classic – it’s going back in the vault.
- bell hooks: straightening our hair (blkcowrie.wordpress.com)
- Tracee Ellis Ross Killin’em… (netflowers.wordpress.com)