Today, I continued an on going argument with one of my male friends about my hair. It all started with advice about how to lure a man. It started with it being stated that my glasses were ugly and made me look like a librarian and ended with him wanting to change my hair style. Which I was a bit resistant to at first, but he stated that it seems that women have no idea of what appeals to men. I could see the validity of that statement so I was ready to defer to his male expertise on what is appealing to men. I only gave limits as to what can be done. He could not cut it, dye it, or process my hair. He balked at the limitations I set and had a fit. He wanted complete creative freedom to do as he pleased to my hair. Now most black women are very protective of our very fragile hair so complete freedom seemed highly unlikely no matter the woman. When he seemed to not want to let go of it. I just shut it down completely. I was done. He can’t have creative freedom with my hair and possibly do damage that would take months to correct. So I said forget about it. He can advise me in other areas other than my hair.
He really didn’t like that. He then responded quite smugly “I’m tired of the naturally kinky bush. LOL. I’m ready for something that appeals to MEN.” I was quite offended and shocked at the ignorance of this statement from a man that I truly respect. I couldn’t believe he actually said that. Like it was going to hurt my feelings and force me to submit to his wishes. But it did me make laugh and cry a little. Laugh because an educated black man would feed into the lily complex that plagues the black community, continuing the cycle of self hate. Cry because an educated black man would feed into the lily complex that plagues the black community, continuing the cycle of self hate.
I have had natural hair for a long time. Long before it became popular. The question I was asked most often in high school during the early 2000’s was “Why don’t I relax my hair?” The question baffled me a little. There was never a conscious thought on my becoming natural. I was not trying to make a statement. I simply didn’t like getting my hair relaxed as a child. It always burned, and my hair seemed resistant to the chemical. Meaning my mom was often pressing my hair the day after relaxing cause my kinks had reappeared overnight. So when my mom finally started to ask me if I wanted to get my hair done when we went to the salon, I would say no. I said no until one day my mom noticed as she was taking down my braids that I had almost no processed hair left. We cut off that part and I started to wear and afropuff in 8th grade. I liked the way it looked. I liked the way it made me stand out to. The world seemed to think I was making some sort of statement against the European standard of beauty, when the simple truth was that I loved my hair. I liked the way it looked on me. It was my crowning glory.
I admit that the busier I got, the lazier I got with doing my hair. I often wore my hair in twists for the low maintenance once I started my major curriculum in college. I was not in the mood for hair styling. When you’re a full-time student with two part-time jobs and an internship, hair and fashion is the least of your importance when sleep becomes a distant dream of a distant dream. Don’t let that fool you into thinking I left the house looking ratchet. I adhered to the professional standard that my job called for, but business elegance was the most I aspired to most days. I changed my hair style, but they were simple ones that could last at least a week with tying my hair up at night. Anything that required daily touch ups were out of the question.
My hair in college was about business. Now I change it up more often because I have the time to devote to styling it. But the statement that he made saddened me. I know how I look. The thought that wearing my hair the way it grows out of my head had turned men off to approaching me is sad. I thought that with the natural hair fad, black men were becoming more accepting and admiring of a black standard of beauty. Yet from his statement, I see that it is not so. We may as well still be outside the Cotton Club taking the brown paper bag test for the chance to perform. At least then it was white people saying we didn’t meet the standard, not our own saying we aren’t good enough because of our ethnic features.
This statement made me want to ask other men about their preference. Is a woman with naturally kinky hair unappealing? Should a black woman really have 22″ of straight weave in their head to be considered attractive? Or should they just relax their hair so you never realize that their hair even grows out of their head kinky? I really want to know what percentage of men truly appreciates and admires natural hair.
My hair today followed by other styles I have worn and those librarian glasses.