Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Inner Angela Davis

It's been pointed out to me by several folk (well, really, only one folk and she knows who she is) that this space has been rather quiet lately. There's a long, boring story about tenure and new responsibilities at work, coupled with my indecision about exactly what to do with this space that explains it all--but I won't bother you with that. Instead, I'll venture into the always fraught world of black women's hair.

Since May I've been sporting cute, shoulder-length single braids. I had braids in grad school and when I first got married and I loved them, primarily because I couldn't be lazier when it comes to doing anything to my hair. I stopped wearing braids for a number of reasons, including being too impatient to sit for the 8-10 hours it takes to do my hair, but also because I concluded (as does mainstream culture) that I looked less young and more professional without them.

My innate hair laziness took over this summer, though, and the braids returned. I loved them. I kept them in for our vow renewal in June and for the start of classes in August. And was all set to get them redone last week when a minor catastrophe occurred.

When I undid my braids, my hair was tangled at the roots, so much so that I became convinced that I would need to cut it all off. I have really thick, shoulder-length hair, so cutting all but an inch or two off is drastic. But I was willing to do it, reading the moment as the universe's way of telling me it was time to start growing a sweet Angela Davis 'fro.

The only problem was that I couldn't find anyone in Charleston to cut my hair. Admittedly, after the first two people, both black women, refused (both very matter-of-factly telling me I was mistaken about wanting to cut all my hair off), my resolve weakened. Maybe the universe wasn't telling me to find my inner Angela Davis. Maybe it was saying I needed to go back to my chemically-enhanced soccer mom ponytail.

Brian wound up having to untangle my hair. The third woman I went to relaxed and trimmed my hair, ooh-ing and aah-ing through the entire four hour process.

I wish I'd had the courage to cut it all off myself.


Alison said...

Did you have your hair redone when I saw you on Friday? Am I THAT oblivious to the world around me? (Apparently, yes.)

I'm all for a sweet Angela Davis 'fro, by the way. I would have great admiration for you if you cut your hair off, since I have always wanted to cut my own hair off (but I never will).

Conseula said...

yes, my hair was redone on friday and yes you were oblivious. but i forgive you.

claire said...

I would have gone with you and we could both have gotten bianca style haircuts -- I am ready, but totally chicken about cutting all of mine off (and then there is the vanity issue that all I will have left is a bunch of white hair). So what was the charleston hair cutting issue -- you shouldn;t have a 'fro? You shouldn;t have short hair? You shouldn't diagnose your own hair issues and you should leave that to the professionals???

Alison said...

I'm so sorry I didn't notice your hair! When I saw you on Friday, I remember thinking, "She looks nice. She must have dressed up for her interview." And I noticed that you were wearing the earrings you got for your vow renewal. Odd.