How is the going going? Let’s gist today. :)
Last week, I saw this video on facebook. It’s called ‘The Natural Hair Song’, a parody of Breezy’s ‘Don’t Judge Me’. You should watch it. A guy sees his girlfriend after her spontaneous big chop and he just can’t take it. And so it begins: “Where the fuck is your hair? Where the fuck is your hair…”
I thought it was hilarious. I laughed plenty and proceeded to tag my friends. For starters, the guy’s blonde wig. LOL. Now I’ve thought about the video since then, and the first thing that came to me was: If I’d seen it like two years ago when I was transitioning or after my big chop, it would not have been as funny. I’d probably have gone on a tirade somewhere. Blog, twitter, real life, some place sha.
In the 2004 romcom, ‘Breaking All The Rules’, Morris Chestnut was infatuated with Gabrielle Union. He was describing her to his friends and one of the things he kept going on about was her gorgeous long hair. She got a pixie cut, and when Jamie Foxx (a friend of Morris) met her, he did not even know she was the one, because she couldn’t be- you know, Morris’ girl was the one with the hair. Anyway, the funny thing was, Morris was so attached to her hair that as she was getting it cut at the salon, he felt jolts in his body with every snip, but did not know what exactly was happening. Haha.
One thing we can all agree on is generally speaking, hair means a lot to us black people, in Africa and the diaspora. So, for the purpose of this post, can we ignore that little voice trying to say “It’s just hair”, nope, not today. People have divorced over toothpaste and lesser things, and one woman’s husband did suggest a divorce because of her hair. Yes, read about it here.
This is a topic I avoid (natural hair and relationships), but today I want to hear your thoughts. I’ve never thought about asking a guy to air his views on natural hair (except his own) on the blog simply because, I firmly believe that however they feel, is for their pocket. It doesn’t really matter in the general assessment of things.
However, that’s a big broad stroke. Getting specific about our individual lives, we share the things we love with the people we care about. So, what about when bae isn’t excited about this new change in your life? I big chopped when I was ready, but it was encouraging in a little way, that my then love interest absolutely LOVED that I was going natural. His own natural locs were a great inspiration for me too.
I want to hear from you in the comments- have you been in this situation? What did you do, what you would do? But first, my 2 cents:
1. In trying to be understanding, think about it this way:
What if bae decided to come back one day with relaxed hair in a ponytail? What if bae came to see you one day and he has changed his look to something you really can’t process e.g. he goes blonde and looks like the guy in the video, and not Chris Brown. Or even dyes his hair silver (or was it grey? or white?) like Sisqo.
Honestly speaking, I won’t call you shallow if you feel just a teeny bit less attracted to him. For me sha, don’t play that kind of rough play if we aren’t deep in our feelings yet, it could be the beginning of the end. ( ._.)
Now, I know you’re going to say that this analogy is crazy and does not apply because you’re simply RETURNING TO natural, where it all began! Embracing your roots, being who you’re supposed to be!! Of course. But does he know this? Does he understand? Sure, you can call it sad, being anti-black, self-loathing on some level (so many essays on the subject) but can you really blame him? The way the world is set up, all the conditioning the black race was put through for centuries- and is still being conditioned today… It’s not such a surprise. For years you have relaxed your hair. If you’re like me, you tossed and turned over the idea for almost 2 years before you finally took the plunge. I’m saying. You know now, what you did not know before. AND, you’re the one who just made, or is making a change. People don’t really like change, it takes some getting used to. Give him time to process this. Patience.
2. Talk about it.
A lot of people do not understand why people go natural. Like why? What are your reasons? You’re going to get questioned a lot. At the market, at work, at school- you don’t owe them any explanation, but take some time to share with him, because you care. Whether it’s a simple “I just feel like it” or a 7 page essay about finding yourself, share. Show pictures of naturalistas that inspire you. Give him the chance to see it how you see it.
In all this talk, I think it’s important for me to state here that I am not saying you should ask permission before you go natural, or you should ask bae to ratify your decision after you have taken it. It is YOUR hair, on YOUR head. You will do what YOU want with it. You’re just trying to help absorb the shock a little. It’s a journey, one of life’s journeys, and you’d be happy to take him with you.
Maybe it’s the fact that for us kinkier types, we have gone centuries not knowing, or not remembering that our hair can grow, maybe that’s why for us long hair is such an achievement, or positive attribute. But we should note that, most people aren’t REALLY averse to all natural hair, it’s the idea of short hair that worries them. (This is a topic for another day- how length “validates” the journey, in some eyes)
3. Also, I think there should be boundaries.
The video was a parody and really should be just that. If the things he said were repeated in real life, the girl would/ should not have been pleading with him to understand.
We can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends- and we can definitely choose who we want to be romantically involved with. Family will tease you, but they cannot disown you (lol, jk. They love you and will eventually get used to and love your new hair). Friends may tease you but in a while, they may follow your lead. On one of my bad hair days last month- a really wonky twist out, my mother told me that the sight turned her belly. LOL. Now, from my mom, that meant nothing. It was just her being my frank mother, no malice in there. However, I cannot let any bae talk to me like that, except he has Tourettes or Aspergers- and I don’t think you should, either.
4. Finally, be willing to let go.
If your person stops wanting to be seen in public with you because of your Teeny Weeny Afro or starter locs (it happens!), If after some time, your hair is still an issue, I think you should keep it moving. He is entitled to his opinion but you don’t have to deal with it. He doesn’t have to deal with your hair either. You should not be liked or loved or found attractive “despite your hair”. NO. It should be one of the reasons why you’re special, why you’re beautiful, or your hair should be a non-issue <- that is, he doesn’t care either way. Your hair should NOT be a downside.
If your relationship can’t handle your going natural, then why hold on to it? I’m just thinking out loud here. And this is about actual relationships. If you’re worried about how potential bae will find your hair, girrrrrrrrl I don’t think you should bother.
Present bae did not dig my fro at first when he was potential bae but he grew to love it. Who knows, he may not have come to talk to me if he had seen it (I was wearing kinky twists) but now, he is a fro spotter, and always tells me when he sees kinky sistas, referring to them as my, or our clan members. LOL. Good for him because this hair would have been a deal breaker. *warrior pose*
Going natural, returning to natural is a personal journey. You hear naturalistas call this a journey, but it really is. You will soon understand. One you should embark on for YOURSELF, and nobody else. But, to soothe your worries, there are 7 billion people in the world, 140 million people in Nigeria, about 20 million people in Lagos alone, and I can assure you that there are as many great guys out there who would love your kinky-curly-coils. Don’t let one person hold you back.
I really did not intend to go on for so long. I was just meant to post a quick conversation starter, but here we are. I can’t delete all these words. :p
All in all, I’m advocating for a balanced view. You should do what you want to do with your own hair, but it’s also okay, good, to enlighten him, try to get him on the same page as you. NOT the same thing as seeking permission.
So, let’s talk ladies. What are your views on natural hair in relationships? Is your hair a deal breaker for you? Have you ever been in a situation where “love” made you question your hair choice? Speak on it!
P.S. Have you entered the Big Fat Giveaway? Deets over here