Her Hair is NOT That Bad…
But she still needs a perm.
Ok first of all let’s just get this straight (no pun intended) once and for all. No one’s natural, nappy hair is soooo bad that they need straighten it with caustic chemicals every six-to-eight weeks and risk the health of their hair and scalp. If that’s what you think, then I’ma straight up say it, you are indeed brainwashed.
Once upon a time, I was too. Now on to my latest hair story.
I was at my friend’s house last night and we were sitting in her bedroom talking when a bunch of her family showed up, including a sister or a cousin or somebody who is a licensed beautician. They were congregating at her house to get their hair done for one of the nephew’s upcoming wedding. My friend has thinned relaxed hair, and she was waiting to get a touch up. So until then, we just stayed in her bedroom talking and watching TV.
Well in pops all the women folk to talk for a few minutes when one of them spotted me, and oh my stars you’d have thought I was a nappy lady from the planet Nappton or something. She just started going on and on about my hair and how thick it was and how much she loved it. So did the rest of her family…except the sister/beautician. So of course the assumption is that I press my hair and of course I had to correct them. The sister/beautician, who looks like she’s sporting some kinda Jheri curl, wanted to talk specifics so I gave her the breakdown. That’s when she informed me her hair was natural. I’m like “Oh really.” Then I spot her daughter whose hair is kinda sticking all up over her head from the remnants of some style that had long since seen better days. One of the aunts say to her “You need to get your hair like that,” and nods at me.
Well now, out she breaks with “No my hair is waaaay too nappy.” Ok y’all you know I had to go there. I’m like ok, “How is your hair nappier than mine?
Then her mom (sister/beautician lady) puts her hands all up her daughter’s head and says…”No, really, she’s got that kinda hair that’s just too thick to wear natural.”
Again, I ask, “How is her hair thicker and nappier than mine?” Now I’ma tell ya, wearing my hair like this shows off some naps…bebees and all…ya feel me? You can’t tell me nothin’ about having tight nappy hair cause at the in this do, mine is out for the world to see.
So then mom tries again, “No you don’t understand, she’s got kinda a bad grade of hair. Well ok…it’s really not that bad but it definitely needs to be relaxed.” That’s when my friend interjects and says, “There’s no such thing as good and bad hair. All hair is good hair.”
Actually I think she just jumped in to humor me. Hmm… Anyhoo, gotcha again. She sister/beautician begrudgingly concedes with a half hearted nod although of course she really does believe in the notion of good and bad hair, and I’m not naive enough to think this conversation is going to change a deeply held belief to the contrary.
But hey, I’m up for a good discussion. That’s when I point to my hair and say, “So is my hair “bad” hair and your hair is “good” hair? Now mom is just digging herself in a hole here and says, “Well, you know what I mean. She HAS to have a perm to make it more manageable, cause it’s just tooo thick otherwise. You know, you just can’t comb it…it’s really thick.”
“Well as far as I’m concerned, I have good hair too. Her hair couldn’t possibly be thicker and nappier than mine and I manage my hair just fine,” I say. That’s when I launch into my whole spiel about letting go of the notion that our hair is unmanageable and hard to take care of. I’m like, “If you’re trying to take care of nappy hair the way you take care of straight hair well then yeah, it’s easy to say that it’s unmanageable. But that’s only because you’re trying to make it do things that it doesn’t want to do. When you work with with nappy hair as opposed to against it, it becomes manageable and then you will be surprised at how versatile and beautiful your hair can be.”
OK… this conversation goes on with them touching on the usual excuses, reasons, rationales and defenses for staying addicted to creamy crack and me trying to break through even the surface of those age old notions about the “evils” of nappy hair. Finally, my friend got up to go into the kitchen to fry her roots so I decided to leave. I just refuse to sit there and watch a sista go through the age old ritual of nap torture and ask her to walk me to my car. She does; we say our goodbyes and agree to meet up sometime next week.
As I drive home, I’m decidedly very tired, and that’s when I realize how exhausting that conversation was. Good grief. But I understand cause I used to think like that too. More often than not, whether I want to be or not, I’m often reminded of how brainwashed we are or have been all when it comes to upholding this imitation european standard of beauty. It’s just crazy I tellya. Just crazy.