Curly Hair

In the words of Beyonce: “It’s too big, it’s too wide, it’s too strong, it won’t fit, it’s too much, it’s too tough.” And no I’m not talking about my ‘ego’, I’m talking about the bane of my life, my curly hair. These lyrics aptly describe all the reasons why I hate my hair. An unruly nest, it sits perched on my head like an overgrown beaver, the star of the show, the main attraction.

I’ve always had issues with my hair; it stems from childhood when, at primary school, I would sit in class having to endure my friends constantly tugging on my curls without any invitation to do so. “It’s so big!” “It’s so cool!” “Wow, it’s so funky!” they giggled, unintentionally making me feel like a freak. There I was surrounded by Aryan girls with long flowing Caucasian hair, and I was stuck with a frizzy bush. Every day I remember going home and begging my mother to straighten my hair, but she was utterly against clamping hot irons round my ‘fro and instead plaited my hair into tiny segments. The plaits poked out in all directions. I looked like a monster. 

I’m not sure what was worse, going to school looking like Medusa, or going to school with a birds nest precariously mounted on my head. I used to cry and pray to God that he/she could give me ‘normal’ hair like all my friends, just so that I could blend in. When you’re growing up you do anything not to be ‘different.’ Conformity prevents you from being the outsider, and the outsider is usually the victim of teasing.

Luckily I was never teased for my big hair, but now I’m grown up it doesn’t stop me from wishing relentlessly that I was born with straight locks. People think having curly hair is easy, just roll out of bed, fluff it up and Bobs your uncle, I’m Diana Ross. But let me obliterate that myth right now. Curly hair is not easy to maintain; in fact it’s anything but. I don’t hop up out of bed and get my ‘fro on. It takes work and lots of it. The combing, conditioning, drying, creaming, moussing, plaiting takes forever, but I’ll do anything to stop it looking like Scarecrow Sally. And the reason why I don’t want to look like a scarecrow? It’s unsexy. The amount of times men have commented on my hair saying that it’s “fun” “funky” “quirky”…it’s monotonous and I find it offensive. I’d rather a guy use adjectives like “sexy” or “seductive” to describe my hair, but that never happens. I’m still waiting for the right kind of attention from a guy who likes me equally with curly hair or straight hair, because in my opinion I shouldn’t be made to feel more or less attractive on the basis of my hairstyle. For this reason, my worries about my curly hair go right through to the bedroom as well. To be uncomfortably frank, as a general rule, I will never sleep with a guy if I have curly hair. You may laugh but honestly, this is an actual rule I have. No sex if it’s curly. Why? Well…to be even more candid, it’s because the thought of me bobbing on top with my ‘fro bouncing in all directions terrifies me, and will probably terrify the guy even more…half way through and he’d be thinking “God, I’m sleeping with a lion!” (think of the mane). 

I can’t defy what God has given me but I do have a tendency to straighten it as often as I can, and when I do it attracts a different kind of attention. If I go out clubbing with straight hair, I receive completely different comments than if I go out with my bush. If my hair is straight, I’d probably say I receive double the male attention then I’d get with curly hair. If I go out with curly hair, I still get attention, but a different kind. People (men and women) come up to me and spontaneously fondle my hair to ‘see if it’s real’ and they don’t even ask if they can touch it, just grope it and say “Oh. It’s not a wig/weave.” It’s annoying and invasive. You wouldn’t walk up to someone, touch their bum and say “Oooh, that’s squidgy!” so why do people feel it’s OK to do that with my hair? It makes me feel like an animal at the zoo and it’s degrading.

All of these personal criticisms about my curly hair may have misled you. I actually love curly hair; I love big, tumultuous, erratic curls…just not on me. When I see a girl with big, naturally curly hair I often think “Wow! That’s gorgeous.” or “She looks so sexy!” And it’s true, it’s beautiful because it’s different, but I just don’t like feeling like the ‘different’ one. I’d rather stand and admire someone else’s curly hair then have it on my head. On my head it just looks wrong; I feel less confident. It could be worse I suppose…I could have ‘limp, lifeless hair’ or even no hair at all! At least I don’t have to put unsightly, ill-fitted hair extensions in which make my hair look like a dirty beehive, or glue an itchy weave to my scalp. I am proud that it’s all natural at the very least.

In the meantime, I’m going to rock out to Beyonce’s ‘Work It Out’ (as I quite often do). It’s the only song/video that makes me feel proud to have curly hair. At least I can shake it about a bit, albeit in the privacy of my own room. Enjoy:

Oh and guys, the next time you see a beautiful girl with naturally curly hair tell her it’s “sexy” instead of “cool”. Trust me, she’ll appreciate it.