Thursday, June 9, 2011

Salon Hubby

I once had a chat with a friend, who is Latina and hair is probably type 4a (very coarse, densely-packed, tight curls), but she relaxes. She mentioned that her husband, also European, is very against relaxers and slightly protests each time she applies one to her hair. Talking with her, I realized my husband has no idea about my hair routine. I guess I just left him in the dark since we started dating. I'm not sure why, but I guess I just felt I didn't need to inform my husband about my hair and up keep, he's married to me not my hair. Of course he knows the troubles I went through finding a suitable salon in Europe, as my hair is not the same texture as European hair and he knows that when my hair is flat-ironed (as opposed to scrunch and go) that means I sleep with my "night hat". The first time I wore my durag to bed, my husband, at the time my boyfriend, asked why I was wearing a "night hat", I found his accent and this choice of wording so cute that I continued using it with him ever since. So, that's the extent to what he knew about my hair.

Recently, I realize my not telling him about my hair issues was more of a defense mechanism to protect myself. I was really lying to myself, as I was hiding everything I went through to achieve "perfection". I'd style my hair, when he wasn't home, time our shared activities (going to the lake, spa or running) around the state of my hair, never really explained the process behind the relaxer, but instead just said "my hair is really thick and difficult to manage, so I just get a process that loosens it and makes it easier to style. Instead of telling him, I'm putting an alkaline based chemical in my hair to alter the structure of my curl pattern, which makes my natural hair irreversibly straighter. I think I was mostly afraid, that he would find the process dangerous and unhealthy and protest my doing so and at the same time dislike my natural curl pattern. This all sounds very irrational as I write this down, but this is what I felt. I've heard stories on blogs where women's boyfriends, often black, have left them after they decided to go natural, why wouldn't the same apply to a white male?

As I decided 3 months ago to go natural, I sat my husband down and started to tell him about my decision and what I had been doing to my hair. I try to make this an ongoing conversation , so that he can understand that this is a theme, that goes skin deep and is not just about the hair. He thinks my decision is wonderful and always tells me nonchalantly "I'm in love with you and not your hair, you'd look hot bald, so I could care less." (I'm lucky, I know). I think next, we are going to watch Chris Rock's Good Hair together. Maybe I'll interview him on my blog to get his perspective on the movie and topic. I'm really happy that I opened up to him and think it's crucial he understand black hair. We're not quite ready for kids yet, but are definitely at the stage where we talk about raising a family. Seeing that we both have super curly hair, I can only imagine our children will have the same, so it's good that he'll know how to care for and understand their hair when the time comes.
Last night, I bumped my hair quickly with the flat-iron after wet wrapping and sitting under the dryer for about 1 hour (this made my hair so much softer than direct heat from the blow-dryer). It came out okay, but like I said, I'm looking forward to learning more methods that don't involve the heat. Perhaps soon I'll try the flat twist out, I've seen a couple of videos on YouTube and it looks manageable. My husband trimmed some of my dead ends for me yesterday. Yes, that's right, my husband trims my hair. I don't trust anyone here to do it but him and he does a pretty darn good job. In the US, each time my stylist would ask if I wanted a trim, I'd leave with a haircut, so I'm happy he just gives me a trim. Like I said before I'm not ready to part with the length yet, so don't want to cut off all the relaxed ends yet. I'll probably wait a year or 2 to do so, depending on my new growth.

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