28 February 2006

Me and my natchy curls!

I can’t believe its been a year already! On a hot Sunday afternoon in February 2005, I walked into my neighborhood barbing salon and shaved of my hair, all 12” of it. My ex-flat mate (aka my girl, OAA) almost stopped talking to me and Princess was furious, so furious infact it took her a whole month to actually say anything about it to me, meanwhile she had talked OOA’s ear off (‘why did u let her cut her hair’) like I was some 2 year old or something.

I had always wondered what it would be like to have close cropped hair; I always looked enviously at Alek Wek. I had actually cut my hair short once before in secondary school. It was in form 3, towards the end of one of the terms (can’t remember which). My hair is of the thick variety, and by Sunday, I couldn’t find anyone brave enough to attempt to plait it (I had loosened the old plaits foolishly on Friday so now it was like a real thick forest!) The head girl (HG) saw me wandering around the dorm area in search of some to plait may hair, and told me I hade better find someone to do it or else! After searching in vain, Ema helped me snip of my hair that evening, the HG was a little surprised to see me at inspection time with my hair cut low, and she said as much ‘I asked you to make your hair neat not cut it’ she stammered. Not to worry, I will not call your name when my mum raises hell. I started losing my nerve soon after that because the term was drawing to a close and I would have to face my mum. Luckily for me, ‘Papa’ (‘skirt and blouse’) invaded my school and I was bitten so badly I was sent home with one eye swollen shut. That kind of took the wind out of Princess’s sail so she didn’t really make to much noise about my hair, just ensured I never went to the barber for a trim! This also meant I got to perm my hair a lot sooner that I would have done if I hadn’t cut it in the first place (at that age that was a really good thing!) But that memory was a blur, and it didn’t serve to quench my desire to wear my hair short (closely croppep). On that fateful day, I had just left church and the air conditioning in my car was on the blink. I was perspiring so badly, at a point I was convinced I must have peed on my self! I had braids and I was still going to the salon to take those out and then retouch my hair. More heat!!! I just couldn’t take it anymore!!! Then I remembered I had my then boyfriends’ clipper in the car. Kia (quickly) I stopped at the barber shop at the entrance to my estate and the rest is nappy hair history!!! My boyfriend loved it, and with hindsight, I guess he was just happy to be killing two birds with one stone! Now we made one trip to the barber and max 30 mins he had got his shve and me my trim. Sure beats waiting around for me for 2-6 hrs, depending on what I was taking out, putting on, etc). And we could spend the whole weekend doing whatever we wanted, just nip into the barber shop at 8:30 pm Sunday on our way home (his place or mine) and we are ready for the week. My colleagues started calling me ‘african queen’ because of the tu face video (the object of his affection had hair as low as mine now was). I enjoyed the freedom! My new hair style defined my overall style – get up and go! Get out of bed, get in the shower, get dressed, and go. I finally started swimming lessons (which I have since abandoned because someone drowned in the pool; no I didn’t witness the drowning). Princess tentatively asked what my plans were for my hair, was this just a phase and would I grow it back. I was like yes I would (I could see relief fill her eyes) but I wouldn’t perm it for now. Whatever just stop scraping it! If only she knew what my plans were! Dreads here I come!

I actually started grooming my dreads October last year, but I didn’t like the results (the stylist didn’t section the hair off so I ended up with really wild dreads) so I just washed and conditioned the hair everyday for a week and got rid of that attempt. Then I just stopped combing my hair. I think I have shocked Princess enough when it comes to my hair because she really hasn’t said too much about my attempts at growing dreads. She made the usual noises but I guess she is tired. I really haven’t seen anyone’s dreads I like so for now I am just sticking with the wash and towel dry routine. I used to wash it every other day, but now I shampoo and oil it twice a week. Luckily I have curly hair which tends to ‘stick’ together when I don’t comb it so right now my hair looks like Jon Michel Obi’s (the other day I was out shopping for curtains for Princess and every shop I entered I was addressed as Obi!).

People always want to know what I did to it to make it the way it is, then they ask where I work. Once I mention I work in the banking industry and mention my particular bank, they are like ‘and they let u carry your hair like this’? The one that gets me is when I go out for meetings with clients. Even after I have been introduced, they always ask me if I work with my bank as in am I sure I am at the right meeting with the right marketing group?! I really don’t blame them for asking, I work with a very conservative bank and I must admit that I am surprised no one has said anything to me about my hair! (knock on wood!)

To be totally honest, I am really enjoying the zero maintainance level of my hair. Its not that there aren’t salons and stylists who can start of and maintain my dreads the way I want, I think it’s the whole going to the salon, devoting 2-4 hours getting my hair done bit that’s not too appealing. I think the solution would be to shave my head again. I think I will wait till I go to graduate school to do that, so Princess won’t make too much of a fuss!


mshairi said...

Hi Adefunke, I read your post with interest. My life has changed for the better since I begun growing my locks about 4 years ago. It is long maintenance, looks good (I think:) and says things about me which I like. At the point of growing dreads I had been thinking of cropping it very short as you have done.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and have a good day.

Na Me joo said...

Dreads . . .hmmmmmmmm . . . interesting :)

songreach said...

isn't it liberating to have short hair? especially when you are tagged by traditions that attach so much to how a woman should and must look...you name it(hairdos that is) i've done it...but now I have short hair again and i love it. its one way of me letting myself be the woman God wants me to be. people usually ask me what my husband thinks of my cropped style and i tell them his head is clean shaved...so he! its a beautiful world let all reflect their identities as they choose.

I enjoy your blog a great deal...

adefunke said...

Late last year, a collegue walked up to me and said I shouldn't grow dreads, that its not how God made me, and I am looking at her very permed hair and thinking, yeah and this is how you came out of the womb! I think she was speaking from a cultural/religious bias, but really its just so liberating wearing my natural hair whichever way (close cropped or dreads). Whatever I decide to do, you can be sure it won't be involving chemicals!

Ore said...

LOL @ your colleague, Funke. People are just incredible!

Isn't natural hair just the bomb? People think it's so limited in its styling options, but I couldn't disagree more. Plus (and this is a big advantage), you actually get to keep the hair on your head and not end-up with hair so thin that you could see right through it.

Ouch!!!! said...

i am dying to cut my hair, and grow dreads..... my boss says the jury is out on whether consultants can wear locks on their head at our establishment... i am so envious of your hair (or lack thereof) but till i find a more enabling work place or the jury comes back with a 'not guilty' verdict... i'll hold on to the pay check over the hair

but more grease to your hair

Pilgrimage to Self said...

Short hair really is the way to go. I cut my hair to within one centimeter of my scalp a few years ago and I felt so FREE. I looked my best, felt my best and I loved the looks I got from people when I whipped my hat off and they got a load of my short hair. My hair is now shoulder length but my next visit to the hairdressers is going to see it going all off - and I mean ALL. I can't wait.

Also, it's terrible for ones job to dictate how your hair should be worn. We are not back in secondary school for chrissakes!!! Let any boss of mine tell me what I should do with my hair and that's the day they will see the wild side of me. Hah!!

Olawunmi said...

i feel you about your hair. i've been growing mine for a few months now, and while i'm not cultivating locks, the hair i've inherited from my mom has a tendency for twisting itself up without any help; so i'm walking around with about 2 inches of seriously nappy hair.

now this isn't a problem at the moment, i'm in an academic community and as we're all perceived to be eccentric noone really cares. but last december i was in nigeria and i could not believe the negative attention my hair got from everyone.

"olawunmi, you're a lawyer, how can you let your hair look like this?" some relatives went as far as calling me juvenile despite several attempts to explain that my hair had not been relaxed or twisted.

when you add the fact that my father's a pastor you can imagine the grief i got. fortunately, he's one of the liberal ones, and he said nothing (no doubt due to the knowledge that the more he complained, the more my rebellious nature would cause me to keep the hair - smart man); my mom said nothing either - its her hair afterall! finally i just decided to ignore everyone and enjoy my holiday.

but i couldnt believe how narrow-minded nigerians can be about this stuff: the policemen gave me pain at every checkpoint, and even the immigrations guy at the airport on my way back had something to say about it. only my fear of being subjected to a cavity search caused me to hold my normally sharp tongue.

but im back here now, and noone cares. but now i wonder if any of the law firms i intend to apply to in nigeria next year will make me get a haircut...

keep ya head up