Sunday, December 28, 2008

au naturel

i have a black girlfriend who wears her hair natural. sometimes it's in twists, sometimes it just...there. lately her hair has been looking kind of....rough. and i feel like bringing it up somehow, that maybe it would look a little better if she did this or that to it. i feel weird about it because my hair relaxed. i don't want to give the impression that the only reason why i think it doesn't look good is because it's not relaxed. granted, i honestly don't like the way natural hair looks-sad, i know. there's just not much you can do with it, besides braids, twists or a 'fro. what if those are my style?

i digress.
i just think she could care for it differently to make it look better in it's natural state. for some reason though, i just feel like i don't have the right to say anything because i'm not "natural". I honestly put that in the same category as a white person telling a black person how to style their hair. how dare i try to give her tips and advice when i've never worn my hair natural?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think you would be doing the right thing if you told her. Black people hair should be groomed even if its in it's Natural state. If it looks as though it's not done she should get it done, and since she is your friend you should tell her.I know most black people think as though we can just walk outside with our hair being any kind of way. It's not true. Our hair it's not in the european state in which you can just throw it back in a ponytail. Our hair takes time even if its natural. She should get it done.

Anonymous said...

That's funny, because I feel the same way except about relaxed hair. To me natural hair has more texture and can look wonderful a variety of ways.

Most black women I see with relaxed hair have damaged, unattractive hair. They only wear it in one or at the most two styles, their hair breaks off, and looks dry. It never looks healthy. They're afraid to get it wet, and worse yet, they can be slow with the maintenance and not touch up the roots, which leads to more breakage.

If you feel your girlfriend's hair does not look healthy tell her. There are plenty of hair style magazines that cater to natural styles. Maybe pointing some styles out to her can be of help.

I have no problems telling my girlfriends with relaxed hair when it looks terrible, and they do the same for me.

Anonymous said...

Well, how is her hair looking rough? If it's a style issue, maybe yeah.

Of course, like the previous comment above, she might tell you that your relaxed hair could be maintained better, too.

Maria said...

What exactly about her hair looked rough? Was it the shape, the conditioning, split ends, knots, etc? You should definitely tell your friend if her hair is looking weird, but in a constructive way. So if your friends’ hair is dry/brittle, recommend a good conditioner for her. If there’s no discernable style to it, say “Hey, I liked your hair when you wore it this or that way.” You know what I mean? Just like you’d do for your friends with chemically altered hair. Just remember to be constructive in your criticism.

As a natural head myself, it’s always disheartening to hear someone say “When are you gonna do something to that head?!” Even though I keep my hair in tip top shape. A lot of black women are just not used to the way natural hair looks and feels. It’s not overtly shiny and sleek, it shrinks and it curls in on itself. It feels like cotton, not silk. Remember how your hair was when you were a little girl? Before you starting relaxing it? Relaxed hair and natural hair both take maintenance, time, and care. Though I do not think relaxed hair ever looks healthy, no matter how well maintained it is.

Anyway, I recommend that you and your friend check out natural hair care sites. Afrobella and Nappturality are two of my favorites. You’ll find out there’s more to do with your hair than twists, locs, and fros. I’ve been rocking twists for a year now and I can do just as much with twists as I could when I had straight hair: Ponytails, curls, updos, freeflowing, etc. And I don't have to spend one dime on going to salons! One day you might try it!
All the best- Maria

MW said...

I couldn't help but chuckle at the stupidity of your comment.

"i honestly don't like the way natural hair looks-sad, i know. there's just not much you can do with it".

Really? And there are a TON of things you can do with Gollum-looking, broken off, oily as sh*t, relaxed hair? Right. That'll be the day. That's how most Black womens' hair looks in America. Probably yours too. With hair in its natural state, it's a LOT healthier then a chemically-mutilated head of hair. You can braid and twist hair in a variety of ways as well as wearing an Afro in a variety of ways. I'm sorry but Black women have never looked good with permed hair. It just looks greasy and unkempt. But the laughable part about it is that they actually think they look GREAT. Ha. Before you call me racist (which clearly, you are towards Black people), I, myself, am a Black woman.

I suggest you seek psychotic help with self-hatred issues, my dear.

Aly Cat 121 said...

Well if that's your friend and her hair needs some help, bringing it to her attention may be a GOOD idea. I know I'd tell my friends if their hair looked a mess *chuckle*

And because hair is relaxed or natural doesn't mean the person styling it knows what they're doing. Most folks need help on how to care for their hair properly but many times don't have the time or money to style it the way they'd really like to.

anotherblackgirl said...

i am also a black woman living in portland, and i just found your blog the other day. although i disagree heartily with almost all of the stuff i've seen on here, i respect your willingness to begin engaging with these issues.

regarding this post:
really, to me, it doesn't seem like this is about your girlfriend's hair at all, but about your reaction to her hair, and your reaction to that reaction.

since you freely admit that you don't like the way natural hair looks, maybe before you make any suggestions to your friend you should sort through what, exactly, looks "rough" about her hair/natural hair. is it a stylistic issue or a healthy-looking hair issue? other potential questions to ask yourself before giving any advice:

1-what does "better" look like? less wild, less puffy, none of these, both?
2-what makes "better" hair "better"?
3-why does the state of her hair (relaxed,natural, healthy, damaged) bother me so much?
etc.

that, maybe, can inform the thinking you've already begun on this.

panda said...

your blog is surprisingly entertaining to me.
it's obvious that you are an insanely insecure person. and blind, as well, apparently.
you assume that white people float through their easy, privledged lives constantly patting themselves on the back for being born a white person. hahahaha..that is hilarious.
as a 25 year old white girl from the midwest, i can honestly say that the time i spend even thinking about black people is about...maybe 6 percent of my day? or less maybe. i just don't care, it doesn't affect me in the least bit.
you are giving so many people so much power over you. if i ran into you in person, pushing your buttons would be a game. i could just prance around, flipping my straight, silky hair, pretending not to notice how much money i have. knowing that you were tearing yourself apart inside thinking i was better than you.
i feel so bad for your husband, having to live with your horrible shallowness, lying about his job when he's only trying to support you and his children.
shame, shame..

panda said...

ps..i spent almost three years with a black guy who grew up in colorado springs, CO. a city filled with rich-ish white hippy types. he was quite wealthy, or his family was. he only ever dated white girls, because he was not attracted to most black women, and when he was, they were nearly always mixed or very light skinned, and would have to be wealthy and intelligent enough for his taste. it was like he needed to be envied by his white, attractive peers in order to make up some invisible difference. he wasn't familiar enough with most other black culture, having grown up in germany and colorado. he was always watching other black dudes, picking up new traits, deciding which ones he liked and which were below him. he avoided the embarassing black people.

jcanguy said...

Its been a few weeks, anything new TBG? No Obama happenings? I'm looking for something to contemplate about and this always seems to be the place to get it.

Come on, get on it!!!!!!

Sue said...

PANDA...Wow, girl tell her how you really feel!

I'll give you this TBG, you've got courage to put yourself out there like this but I agree with panda, you realy are an insecure person.

Did it ever occur to you that your friend is aware of how her hair looks and likes it that way?

Anonymous said...

I feel worse and worse for you every time I read your blog. You've been keeping this blog for awhile and it just seems like it's not doing sh*t for you. You sound ignorant as always. That sucks.

lalawren said...

Dang!
I really enjoy your blog and your honesty. it's so easy to write what you think people want to hear. I get tired of 'pundit' blogs - the portentious "this is the way it should be" sort of postings. I think you are brave for putting it out there, not insecure or self-hating at all. It takes real guts - obviously judging from the comments you get (i mean sheesh who's self-hating here?)!

keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

"honestly don't like the way natural hair looks-sad, i know. there's just not much you can do with it, besides braids, twists or a 'fro."

Are you serious? How in the world can you give someone hair advice if you don't even like the way it looks in the first place? Maybe before you give your little two cents, you need to do some more research on natural hair. There are NOT limited styles you can do with it. if anything, relaxed hair has more limitations than natural hair. This blog is only confirming your ignorance of natural hair. You only think there is not much people can do with natural hair due to your OWN misconceptions and the fact that you have never had to take care of your natural hair. Maybe you should learn to base your opinions on fact. Because as of right now you sound baseless and ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Jesus christ, panda girl, get a grip!!!!! lmao The insecurities and self loathing just really pour out in those two posts. You have a freaking MASSIVE chip on your shoulders. good times

Tiffany said...

Wow this one completely got to me. I am a light skin female transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair. The reason I said light skin is because so many people and i know this is sad equate natural hair with dark skin females and believe that natural hair is 'undone'.

Research your facts before your pass judgment on anyone. There is nothing wrong with having relaxed hair. My hair was relaxed for 22 years and damaged as well. I believe that society has implanted this belief in black females that straight hair is 'the way to go'. You're more prettier and successful if you have straight hair. This is an absurd and naive comment. Beauty is not defined from your outside appearance but from within and your security and self esteem. YOU DECIDE IF AND WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL. Point blank period. No one else should and can decide that for you.

If you don't like natural hair then thats on you. You would rather have processed hair then okay. DO YOU! Who am i to judge. Im not and I won't because my mentality was probably close to yours. I thought natural hair was unmanageable and not versatile but I was wrong. After doing hours and hours of research I've learned to love my natural hair. I get so excited just seeing my curly, kinky, NAPPY hair as opposed to the limp straight hair i was use to. With natural hair you can do anything. Not just the braids, fro and twists that 'you' believe. If i want to straighten my natural HEALTHY hair..Guess what? I can. If i was to go out with a fro..Guess what? I can. If i want to twist, loc, bun, ponytail it..I CAN! If i want to go out with a "Wash and Go" as we call it and expose my curlies to the world..You guessed it! I CAN! I love myself and what God has given me. This is me. I accept it and I love it. I have a confidence loving the real me that those that are relaxed might not ever feel. We have to get the thought out of our head that natural hair looks messy and is UGLY. Its not. Its a sad thing when i read something like what you wrote on your website. Chnage your outlook. You're only hating apart of yourself.

Like Hov said.. "Its not for everyone"

Anonymous said...

You said on 11/30/07 "i have a black girlfriend who wears her hair natural. sometimes it's in twists, sometimes it just...there. lately her hair has been looking kind of....rough. and i feel like bringing it up somehow, that maybe it would look a little better if she did this or that to it. i feel weird about it because my hair relaxed."

Is this the same girl about whom you said back on 12/28/08: "i have this really great black girlfriend at work. i think she's cool because she wears her hair totally natural. it's not an afro; it's kind of just...there. she'll sometimes twist parts of it and then untwist it and just leave it hanging. i think she's awesome because she literally doesn't care what ANY one thinks. she's from the Bronx, new york and she's just...cool. she has a lot of guts to wear her hair the way she does. she's not even trying to make a statement. she's just natural.

"so, yesterday, i was sitting around chatting with 3 white women and a different black woman with relaxed hair. the black woman jokingly says (in front of, and talking to me and the other white women) 'i seriously just want to take a flat iron and straighten her [the "natural" woman] hair. just once! that hair!' giggling the whole time.

"that made me sick. i tried my best to defend my friend without making it an uncomfortable "thing". the woman who said these remarks is in her early 20's, where my "natural" friend is in her early 30s. i spoke up and said, "what's wrong with her hair??? it's her natural hair. you know, your hair would look like that too if you left yours natural"

If this is the same woman, some friend you must be. Or maybe your turnaround is just another black thang.

Mencken

v said...

How could you give advice on something you don't subscribe to? Go natural....then state your case.

Unknown said...

The black race is the start of all races. I encouraged you to dig deeper into your race. The truth will "set you free" my friend. As for hair, in my opinion African like hair is the most versatile, creative, and strongest hair when chemicals are not added to it and it is allowed to grow out, especially long, beautiful dred