That is the Question?
"Curly hair makes me taller, and better in bed." Or so goes the opening statement in a recent article put out by the NY Times entitled: In Defense of Curly Hair. The author Judith Newman was sharing her inner monologue that begins every time she starts jonesing to straighten out her curly mane. Like every curly haired woman she goes through the process of re convincing herself that her curls set her apart, make her unique and special. Ok smarty pants, as a naturally curly headed woman (excuse me as I spit on the ground in disgust) I'm not arguing that. Curly haired woman already know that we stand out. The problem is that most of us don't like HOW we stand out.
This article bugged my rug. It had a misleading title. "In defence of" duped me into thinking I was going to hear a laundry list of reasons I had overlooked about how curls rock. Considering the interesting fact that I dislike curls on myself and just about any other woman, I was looking forward to a fresh take. And then Ms. Newman goes on to reinforce the insecurities that curly haired women hear all of their life. The constant reminders that men/people, really don't like curly hair. Examples used in the article: Millionaire matchmaker Patti Stanger refuses to put a chick up on the auction block without advising her to: "lose the curls." The rise of the drybar in LA and now recently Manhattan (dear god please send one of these to Bloomingdale IL). The recent experience of Rebecca Brook who dared to set foot in front of Parliament with her natural head of thick red curls and the heat she received for presenting herself in such a slovenly disheveled state. And the piece de' Resista'nce; would be the many references made to how curly hair simply does not translate well in the professional arena. Coming from the business world and being forced to present a lot over my career I am actually in a potsition to pull back the curtain a little on that one. A woman with a blowout presents herself as more poised pulled together and in better possession of herself. I don't know why, but it's true! I fall for it every time someone gets up to train me and they have a tangled rats nest sitting on top of their head. First thing I think is: Really? Get that under control before you try to get me under control. Jerk? Yes. Sorry? Only a little bit.
And then I really started thinking. Even Alicia Keys loosened the grip of those beautiful natural curls she had going on when she was first introduced to us. Andie MacDowell now endorses hair straightening products. Mariah Carey gave up her natural curls about a decade ago. O sure, she'll break them out every now and again for us but overall even she understands that curls are not the haps. Your hard pressed to find JLO sporting those boriqua ringlets she started out with. Beyonce has yet to wear her hair in its truly natural state: weave-less and naturally curly. And I'm not talking about those crimped out curls that they spend hours behind the scenes maintaining, I'm talking about her nappy ass rugged black girl curls. What up B? More and more men (not gay men, sorry to disappoint) are into the Brazilian straightener craze, and if its not that than they are blow drying and flat ironing their hair. What does all this tell us? We are a people obsessed with straight hair. Personally I have made my peace with the fact that for me personally, I think curly hair in most cases (and there are exceptions) is pretty much not the business. Let me expound:
There is a time and a place to break out the curl. To me curls have become situational. Like Reggae music, they don't go well everywhere. On a beach, at a barbecue, on a really hot summer day, hiking, laying poolside with girl friends, or at a hot box club on the backstreets of NYC. It's all good! But leave them at home in the following situations: first date, business meeting, dressy black tie events, LA.... you get the picture. Truth be told if you have curls you really can't knock the hustle. But there is a time and a place for everything so chose wisely. Just because something is natural doesn't make it right. When I say this, think: mosquitoes, outhouses, sweaty underarms and woman who don't wear bras. Ahhhh, now I think your starting to get the picture.