Oh good Lord. I love being a black woman, but I must confess I’ve grown tired of this ongoing conversation about our hair. Grow an Afro, lock it up, slap a perm in it, lop it off — just groom the stuff and let’s talk about something else. Sheesh. I get there are deeper issues that go along with what comes out of our scalps, mental conditioning that’s pressured us to hate our hair as is. But I just can’t discuss it anymore. At least, that’s what I thought.
Curly Nikki sucked me in after one guest blogger posted about a one-time meltdown in her relationship. Her husband threatened to leave her when he no longer found her attractive because she’d grown out the perm she’d been sporting when she initially met him. Despite the fact that she was five months preggers at the time, he told her that they needed to split up. Yes y’all. Split up. Over her hair. Those are her words, not mine.
Now, let me say first that I scrolled through the comments and felt her pain, one blogger to another. She probably whipped up the post thinking she was sharing a personal experience to help empower or enlighten or encourage some other budding naturalista and ended up getting firebombed with negative commentary from the peanut gallery. It’s happened to me oodles of times — comes with the territory of using your personal life as inspiration for a public blog.
In an effort to do damage control, she wrote another post defending her marriage and the husband who inspired all this nappy-is-crappy brouhaha in the first place. But it couldn’t possibly compare to the original piece, which, as far as I’m concerned, was more off-the-cuff and, therefore, a more honest recollection of the truth. It didn’t exactly present her hubby in the most flattering of lights, though.
It must be awful to have the man you love be so outdone and bewildered with your look — a look that you’ve been working hard to achieve because, let’s be real, growing out a perm is no small feat — that he turns a lunchtime meet-up into a lunchtime breakup. Over hair. As she described the scene, it sounded like that thing had been laying on his mind for quite some time. Had to have been to text her to let her know they needed to talk so they could get together and discuss his aversion to — here we are again — her hair.
But then, according to her, it was all just a big, overemotional misunderstanding. In the happy ending that they managed to piece together after a long overdue heart-to-heart about — again — her hair, she realized that she wasn’t being sensitive enough concerning his feelings about her new unpermed tresses, and he realized ... well, I’m not quite sure what his revelation was except maybe that he should’ve made it clearer sooner that his hatred for her new hairdo was really that strong.
Men can be shallow. Men can be superficial. But I don’t think a man who is that vehemently passionate about his wife’s natural hair is really suffering from any of those things as his core issue. He’s fighting something that’s going on in his own mind that smacks of a bout with self-hatred. Even as a chick with a perm, I feel unsettled about his dislike of her “nappy” hairstyles because he’s still, at the end of the day, opposed to her hair in its natural state.
In order for it to be OK with him, she agreed to straighten it more often or wear it in less appallingly kinky ways. That ain’t liking it the way it is 'cause the way it is actually is how it looks when it balls up after she runs it under some water. Once they get to a point that he can like it then, they’ll be making progress.
My girl dismisses that almost-breakup with her boo as an oopsie on their path to happily ever after. She’s better than me for letting it slide that easily, that’s for sure, especially since they have a daughter together who has tresses like her mama’s. Even if he never says anything disparaging to the child about her own hair, his running criticism of her mother’s is bound to send the message, loud and clear.
Would it matter to you if you changed your hair and your man didn’t like it?
Image via stevendepolo/Flickr