Straighter is Better?

[I write this on Monday 17/03/2014]

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I watched Chris Rock’s ‘Good Hair’ documentary a few years ago. It left me with dropped jaws, cracked ribs and thinking. Thoughts regarding hair that until today lay quiescent somewhere in my scatter brain.

I relaxed my hair this past weekend. It has been met with whys and compliments as well as ‘disappointment’ from some. Ha.

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I wasn’t going to do a post on this, at least not an entire hair post anyway. Probably something random suffixed by: “PS:I relaxed my hair guys! 🙂 “ But somewhere in between upsetting compliments and people’s apparent disappointment, this post was spawned.

When I cut my hair in December 2012  it was not because I needed to shed my crown of glory to learn natural beauty that is independent of the dead cells that reside on my head. It was simply for change, and somewhat adventure as I have stated before. I have always felt beautiful. Not in a narcissistic and vain kind of way but in a self-aware, self-loving kind of way. (I do want smaller hips though!)

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It was fun to document my natural hair journey, and I do miss the character it had. I do not, however, regret relaxing it (yet). I am happy to have been an inspiration and motivation to a few friends and readers to go natural. If you are disappointed in my relaxing of MY hair, I am sorry that you feel that way, but that is of your own. It has been in my hair plan to either lock my hair or relax it when I got fed up of natural hair. And the latter just so happened to have been executed last Friday.

This post is getting messy. So many things that I would like to say and no words to express them.

Let’s back up to GOOD HAIR. What is good hair? After today, I am starting to think that good hair is straight hair. According to the world at least. Or should I say according to men? I don’t know, but  I’m disgusted by the possibility of the ‘validity’ of this notion in the world.

Three male friends made comments about my new relaxed hair today. It may be of worthy note that these men are of different races: White, Indian and Black. We will see the relevance of this later.

Guy 1: I see you did your hair. It looks nice
**So all this while I’ve worn my hair wash n go, in braids, in a big stretched out afro, sleeked back into a bun, as an afro puff, bantu knot out, fro-hawk, wrapped in a turban and in a myriad of other ways, you haven’t considered it DONE? Is done hair straight hair? Is nice hair straight hair?**

Guy 2: A different hairstyle! What’s this one called? You should keep it; it’s nice. Not that afro. *gestures to show an afro* This is nice. But that’s just my opinion.
**Are you relieved that I am no longer wearing an afro? I should keep it straight? I see.**

Guy 3: You were running out of ways to tie your headscarves? Your hair looks nice.
*sigh*

Firstly, whatever this ‘NICE’ is, I do not like it. I do not know what the association with ‘nice’ and relaxed / straight hair is, but these guys all used the word in reference to my ‘new’ hair, whilst implying that how I wore it before was not as good. I know some of you are thinking I should just take these guys’ compliments on my new straight hair and swallow them. No. I refused to  just swallow (ahem). I chose to taste every one of these well-meaning remarks, swish them in my mouth, swirl them, and sniff the glass for any stale whiffs (whether meaningfully or not). I chose to pay attention to the taste they would leave on my palate and it was a bad one, that after-taste.

Now, I know that I should not take these 3 guys as a representation of men in general, but their remarks sure as hell stunned me. Is this what men think about African women that wear their natural hair? Curiously,  3 men from totally different cultural backgrounds  had a common ring to their remarks about my change in hair style: they preferred my relaxed hair to my natural hair; I am not sure why, because according to Chris Rock “Guys don’t care”. But these guys cared enough to voice their preference (even though I did not ask). Do people think that natural nappy and kinky African hair is unattractive. Is it, at best, fascinating and never good?

I have worn my hair natural for 15 months and I believe that I have worn it well. I know that I had good hair. Kinky AF, but good. I’m happy and unapologetic about relaxing it. What’s that thing? A change is as good as a rest? Yeah.

However, after today, I feel like going bald and doing this natural hair thing again. This time, to prove a point. You know? To show natural beauty and all those doctrines and teachings that fanatical naturalistas preach. I feel like joining a movement, maybe even a secret black hair society, or a cult in which you bare your chest and kinky coils (lol).

I advocate for one thing, and only one thing: keep your hair healthy. Feel free to go out and do whatever the hell you want with it, go bald, relax it, wear your weave, wear your dreadlocks, wear your afro, whatever rocks your boat.

Healthy hair is good hair. Period.

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16 thoughts on “Straighter is Better?

  1. Maryanne Jelagat says:

    I looove this post. 🙂
    I have had both kinky hair and relaxed hair and I got different reactions to both.

    For my fro, some guys liked it and others didn’t. I had some people disappointed when I removed the fro and apparently it gave me a “personality” but some preferred my straight hair and I actually had a guy say how my previous fro looked like a porcupine. I found it rather funny actually. But yeah, hair is such a broad topic but I think people prefer to keep their opinion to themselves to avoid offending anyone.

  2. abuamirah says:

    one thing i know is that a woman’s beauty is her hair (not sure am speaking on behalf of all men!!!), but again, there is an inexplainable beauty in a woman who is at peace with what she feels is good for her.

    Personally, i love natural hair whether long or short……

    ….and i love the way you place your words knitting them into a great story, i never at any time thought i would read an article about hair, and i just did!!!!

    keep it up.
    akhymjanja.wordpress.com

  3. Shanchena says:

    Wow! Totally totally loved and enjoyed this reading! Just got an afro a month ago and was thinking of going bald today(cancer movement thingy) then once in a while I do weaves and like it,now I don’t feel that bad about it,thanks for the insight. Healthy hair is beautiful hair! And i would like to add that the inner glow of inner beauty even makes it more beautiful…one day those men(and women) will realise…

  4. Anita says:

    I really liked this post!

    I feel that a reason straight hair has been deemed ‘nice’ or the better alternative is because of the media etc ( could elaborate but so much to say such a little post!)

    However, what i can’t stand is this natural ‘ extremist’ movement that claims that since you’re ‘relaxed’ you’re not happy with who you are or where you came from!… Bull. What i also can’t stand is this notion that Natural hair is ‘nappy’ and therefore ‘Ratchet’ as some would call it.

    The way I see it, its My hair. My scalp. My choice. Therefore I commend you, for doing what you feel like with your hair! personally i decided to go natural ( not because i’m trying to find myself) but because I’m curious and like you adventurous.

    Phew! I really needed to vent, I really like your blog!

  5. mumbishokey says:

    Haha haha what!! Those were mean comments. I like your hair either way I mean it’s YOURS! I’ll be glad to receive an invite to a ‘healthy hair movement’ any time😊

    mumbishokey.wordpress.com

  6. gt says:

    You are beautiful always, dear. I know that whatever style you wear, you always take good care of your hair. You were a little too harsh on the guys. That is simply the way many of them interpret/perceive hair. These three were just being spontaneous. Allow them.

  7. tess says:

    I also went natural just to experiment and have fun with it….and I did for the most part of it.Currently I’m in braids then I’ll just relax it…and my reason will be that thing-change.
    Just as I researched on natural hair I did the same for relaxed hair…at the end of it all…I just want very healthy hair:-)
    ION…shrinkage is real!!!

  8. hairjunkie2011 says:

    I’ve watched that movie too and until i did, i hadn’t realized how strongly people felt about hair! I relaxed my hair for the first time 2 years ago. I say the same thing you do – good hair is healthy hair.

  9. Nash says:

    Ever so slightly heart-broken that you left naturalistaville but it’s cool. Your life, your choices and it doesn’t change the core of who you are. All the best with this new phase of your evolution m’dear 😀

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