This is why I RARELY compliment straight hair…
Yesterday, I’m in Dollar General when this young lady’s hair caught my eye. Walking past her, I turn around to get a better look. Yep, someone most definitely did a really good job on her two-strand flat twists, which aren’t normally done on permed hair. Usually, permies get “twisties” and they’re done with a single loc of hair that’s jelled to the max and twisted close to and secured near the scalp with a rubberband. Her rock hard two-strand twists were large, parted in a swirl that allowed them to converge in the back into a donut bun that was fashioned half way up and positioned slightly to one side. Then she had these flat ribbon-like tendrils that had been jelled and flat ironed to cemented perfection coming out the middle of the donut.
When she notices that I’ve discovered her giving my hair the once over, she glances quickly away to make eye contact with me as if I’ve “caught” her doing something bad. Then in a typical permie fashion says, “And they can press your hair too.”
Despite being on her cell phone, I stopped her and complimented her hair. She pulled the phone away from her ear and said thanks. I took that as an opening to ask her if I could really see her hair. Now if people are receptive, I’m a touchy feely person, and I physically turned her head so I could see the back.
Yeah…most definitely well done.
For my taste, the two-strand flat twists were really the best part of the style, which should have stopped with the donut. Add the tendrils (don’t know what else to call them), and there was just too much going on with the style on her head. Nevertheless, it was neatly done and not nearly as busy as some permed sculpted dos tend to be.
So I asked her who had done her hair. She named the stylist…someone at Youngblood’s. Now Youngbloods is a very old and well established barbershop/beauty salon in the hood. Many men have most likely gotten their first childhood hair cuts at Youngbloods. Though I’ve never had my perms done or touched up at this shop, their beauticians also have an impeccable reputation when it comes to doing relaxers and styling chemically treated hair. But the one thing I’ve always liked about them is that they’re one of the few salons around the city that continued to do press n curls when everyone else frowned and refused to do anything with natural hair. This was always a good thing, to me, because parents who did not want their small children and young girls to have chemical services at such a young age continued to have traditional thermal styling options. And having pressed hair, in my opinion, is a much healthier alternative to getting a perm.
So I ask her if the Youngblood beauticians can style natural hair. Now I mean style natural hair as in SANS heat. I mean as in flat twists, two strand twists and other natural hair styles.
Girlfriend smiles and says “Oh yes, they do natural hair.” Then I take my eyes off her hair to look at her, and she’s staring intently at my hair. When she notices that I’ve discovered her giving my hair the once over, she glances quickly away to make eye contact with me as if I’ve “caught” her doing something bad. Then in a typical permie fashion says, “And they can press your hair too.”
Hmmm…really now? I give her an internal side eye look.
So I say, “Well, I rarely heat style these days.”
That’s when I get that look. You’ve probably seen it if you’re natural, and the person you’re talking to isn’t natural and you’ve complimented them on their hair. It’s the one that assumes you really don’t know what to do with your hair so that’s why you have it in braids, twists or some other unacceptable natural style (without fake hair attached) that shows off your naps. It’s the one that says “Well you really need a perm or SOMETHING cause you couldn’t possibly be wearing your hair like THAT on purpose.
She just stares at me. Well dang it, she’s speechless so I smile and tell her again her hair is cute as I walk away. Guess the nice person is still on the phone because she puts it back up to her ear and continues her conversation.
As I go on my way, I think, “Now I know that wasn’t my imagination…”
This encounter just reminds me why I DON’T go out of my way to compliment folks with straight hair styles. It’s not that I can’t and don’t appreciate a cute permed do when I see one, it’s that permies (used to be one so I do understand the mentality) can’t appreciate natural hair. They literally think that your hair is undone and you need to do SOMETHING with it. And to that, I just say oh well, shake it off and continue with my shopping.
In the end, I’m just glad I love and appreciate my own natural beauty enough to just do me with the realization that people like that will never “get it” until and unless they decide to go natural themselves.