A weave, A wig, and a Natural
A social experiment rendered in order to understand the controversy surrounding black women and their hair.
At 27 years old, I have cycled through every hair style imaginable. My hair is the coarsest out of both my sisters and my mom; frustrated and confused with the texture, I received my first relaxer when I was two years old. That’s right, TWO, and even then my hair remained the most difficult to manage. I tried everything from cornrows, to extensions—I had a crazy flip style I wore in 6th grade, and moved to a wrap around my 9th grade year. From there, my hair got crazier and more difficult, it began to break from all the tension and heat. I decided to cover it with elaborate extensions, which looked great, but left my hair in the worst possible condition ever. What was a girl to do? All I ever wanted was beautiful shiny hair that cascaded down my back like a horse tail, and all I got was shitty haircuts, and this one time cringe worthy bangs (thanks Grandma).
I remedied this by ditching all the hair styles and chemical treatments and went Natural. Any of you thinking of making the big chop? Understand that this too, comes with its own set of problems. I have only just learned how to properly care for my hair in the last year or two. But, I do love my hair! In fact, until this social experiment, I had not succumbed to my weave addiction in over a year. My wigs had been safely stored at the top of my closet, and only touched for photo shoots, and impromptu events. It wasn’t until I was talking with a friend, who was convinced dating would be a lot easier if she just got a weave, that I began to reconsider my ideas.
Is it true? Can men not appreciate a bomb ass twist out? My friend thought so, but I remained incredulous. That is, until I was at the local pub with my girlfriends and J, who has the most beautiful afro known to man, walks in with a red-orange wig, which reminded me of a phoenix. Seriously, her “hair” was so distracting no one could peel their eyes away. J, finally admitted that the wig made her feel more confident, as men were more likely to approach her with long straight hair than they were with her afro. Tired of the, “Hello my beautiful black queen” types, who never really understood what they were saying, she was looking to attract a man with more substance. At that time, she had only been wearing the wig for about two days, but had already lined up a few dates. Hmmmm… no lie, my attention was piqued.
A few days later, feeling quite unappreciated by my boyfriend, I wondered if a hair change could up the spice. I headed over to a well-known Houston stylist, Jamie Williams, who was not afraid to tell me that she does NOT find a well coiled coif to be appealing. If you ask Jamie, its only sexy if its long, straight, and fake! Did I agree, No—but I was intrigued enough to find out. Weave me up!
I got out of Jamie’s chair and I felt NEW! I was giving Aaliyah vibes, and I was ready to pick myself up and try again. I came back home and my boyfriend loved it, he was talking to me but looking at my hair, and although he was trying to be sweet all I could think was—Asshole! I was really hoping that my hair played a very small role in the attraction we held for each other, and I do believe it does, but It ticked me off to find he liked this fake ass, limp hair MORE than he liked my beautiful, bouncy, REAL curls.
Never the less, I kept the style for two weeks. I snatched it out Tuesday afternoon after my head started to feel like I had rolled into an ant pile. Beauty be dammed, I think I had an allergic reaction. My scalp was red and flaky and itchy as shit. Conditioned to weekly washes, fresh air, and daily massages—my scalp was screaming for me to TAKE IT OUT!! Thirty minutes later as I surveyed the condition of my scalp–no breakage, no damage, the BF comes in, visually disappointed in the change (which only further pissed me off) and asked why I had taken my hair down. RUDE! I explained that I would not be risking my beautiful hair to appease the male gaze, now fuck off! (I also refused to make dinner that night.)
My hair was back, and the experiment was coming to an end. Except—The Wig. I am not new to wigs, they are the easiest way to make a hair change, and I’m not committed enough to my nightly hair routine to guarantee a good hair day every day. SO, I had a few old faithfulls in the closet. I broke out one bang style, that didn’t even last half a day. It was cute, but I just couldn’t help but feel that everyone was staring at the manufactured part. The wig had to go!! I was over fake hair, it felt more like a costume than hair, and at this time in my life I am just not interested in costumes.
In the end, I realized that the male gaze has been conditioned to Eurocentric ideals of beauty. Yes, they like the weaves, but only because they have been conditioned to seeing black women cover their tresses for those styles. I also learned that it is nothing wrong with that, enjoy that variety baby! No, it didn’t work for me, but I have a new found respect for the ladies who commit to monthly sew-ins. That shit is not cheap or comfortable—any woman doing that is a BOSS ASS DIVA! As for my natural hair, I love it and that’s enough—although I will try to tie it up as not to look so wild in the mornings. Now, as for spice…about the same. He liked it, but I was unwilling to appease such ignorant ideas. Translation: the more he liked the weave, the more I did NOT like him.
In the end, I say do whatever makes you happy. Whether it be a weave, a wig, or natural. Rock it with confidence, and these men will learn to love it or get over it! Comment below with the style you like best? Do you think your hair should have an effect on your love life? Do you switch your hair often or are you committed to your style of choice?
Let me know, and share this post with a friend!