“Do you love your hair, baby?”
That’s a question I ask my wife often.
It usually comes at those times when I see the frustration on her face, the frustration of combing through a thick head of hair and trying to style it in a way that is presentable to the eyes of the general public.
My wife is a black woman who wears her hair naturally. It’s been free of perms and weaves since 2011, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After my wife went natural, I began to notice a growing trend: more and more black women were doing the same. While they were rediscovering their bodies, their authentic beauty, I was discovering what has now become my undying love for afro-textured hair.
What she sometimes dislikes about her hair, I adore.
It’s my mother’s hair. It’s the hair that her sisters wear. It is the hair of their daughters.
It’s the variety of styles and textures that isn’t as prevalent for women of other ethnicities.
It’s being able to freely run my fingers through it, knowing that they will get tangled in there. It’s the pleasure I get from gently unwinding my fingers from my wife’s curly mane, since pulling them out too fast would not be good for her scalp or my eardrums.
It’s the defiance of mainstream society’s beauty standards and embracing our own.
Whether it’s dreads, twists, knots, braids, afros, or Caesar’s cuts – or 4A, 4B, or 4C, I love it all. Kinky. Thick. Nappy. Real.
About 10 years ago, when my wife and I were dating, we were caught outside in a heavy rain. The rain didn’t bother me because I spent many days under rain-soaked skies during my time in the military.
For my wife, however, it was a terrible situation, and she ran inside as quickly as possible. The damage had already been done, though….
If only hot tub time machines were real so that I could go back and smack my former self.
Of course, nowadays, she doesn’t mind getting her hair wet. I don’t even think she owns a shower cap, which is ironic since they were all over the place when we first married six years ago.
At times, I walk in on her in the bathroom with a flatiron in her hand. Like a police negotiator in a hostage situation, I calmly persuade her to put the flatiron down.
But to no avail. I walk away defeated as my wife leaves for work with a head full of straightened hair.
Fortunately for me, Mother Nature does her thing, and my wife’s hair naps back up before the end of the day thanks to the humidity of the North Carolina sun, our emotions from the morning now reversed.
Only now, instead of teasing, I’m doing the Carlton Banks dance, while scheming on a way to make her flatiron disappear or malfunction without suspicion coming back to me.
Let’s hope she doesn’t read this. At the end of the day, women should feel free to wear their hair however they like regardless of my opinion or anyone else’s. Just know that there are men out there, such as me, who love the hair that came with the scalp more than the hair that came with the receipt.
About Boyd C. George
Inspired by greats such as Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Gordon Parks, Boyd C. George is a writer and photographer from Tappahannock, Virginia. He currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can find him on Facebook and Google+.