I love my hair. It's big, curly, and soft, plus nothing beats the convenience of going from the shower to the streets without taking two hours to blow dry and flat iron. I've been wearing my hair natural for a while, and no matter where I go, the reactions never change. Here are some of the most common reactions when people see my curls in action:
1. What happened to your hair?
This is the most common reaction and possibly my favorite reaction solely because of the look of utter betrayal on the asker's face. One day my hair is halfway down my back, sleek, shiny, and straight and the next I show up with a halo of bouncy curls that barely reach my shoulders. My hair is the reason so many people have trust issues.
2. How did you get your hair like that?
I washed it. That's it. I hate to break it to you, but there's no special product or black magic involved. Granted, there's a Costco amount of gel to keep the frizz away and a little Moroccan oil, but you're looking at my hair just as it grows out of my head.
3. Did you cut your hair?
A valid question considering that my curls, depending on how they're styled, barely graze my shoulders. However, shrinkage is very real and the bane of my existence.
4. Wow, I love your hair!
Oh my gosh, thank you so much! If I'm serving a particularly good look or if my curls are especially defined and poppin', feel free to tell me. I put a lot of energy into my hair, so I am always here for a good sincere compliment. However, you don't have to tell me you love it every time you see my natural hair. It's a little much.
5. So like, how do you wash it?
With shampoo, conditioner, and these two hands, my friend. Often the implication is that I don't wash it at all, which is completely untrue (and a little insulting). Just so we're clear, every black person regardless of hairstyle or texture washes their hair.
6. It’s so poofy, it’s like a sheep...
Here's a fun fact; people don't really like it when you compare their hair to livestock. What seems like an offhand comment is actually kind of offensive. If the only thing you can think to compare my hair to could be easily added as a verse to Old MacDonald, I'd advise against saying anything at all.
7. Can I touch it?
8. You looked so much cuter/better with straight hair.
Okay? You were so much cuter when you were minding your own business. This may be hard to believe, but every time I wash my hair, I don't put out a poll to see if I should straighten it.
9. So, is this some kind of statement?
Look. Everyone has their own reasons for going natural whether it's for the health of their hair, learning to love themselves as they are or even sheer convenience. Whatever the reason, it's not your place to ask or assume. Not every afro or pineapple up-do is a political or social statement. Shockingly enough, every time I wear my hair curly, I'm not renouncing western beauty standards; I just think it's cute.
10. OMG, you look just like (insert any famous black woman who has ever worn her hair natural)
As much as I wish I actually looked like Janelle Monae or Yara Shahidi, it's just inaccurate. This is the equivalent of when an older person tells you that you remind them of their granddaughter, which is a fun way of saying they have a granddaughter who is a female person roughly your age (give or take five years) and height.
11, I love your afro!
A common misconception, but not every natural style on a black person is an afro. My go to is actually either a wash and go or a twist out. I can also promise you've never seen me in an afro because I don't even own a hair pick.
12. My hair looks just like that when it gets humid!
Does it though?
13. OMG, you could probably store things in there!
For what reason? That honestly just seems impractical. I'm not sure why this is such a common thought, but I think I'll stick to purses and pockets for the foreseeable future.