Monday, August 27, 2012

False Advertising

*Disclaimer: Just 'cos I know that we are all tired of beating the hair issue to death... everything about this post applies to me as an individual, and not to anyone else. This is not a preachy post about anybody else's hair etc etc etc. 

Okay? Good.

As some people may know, I’ve been a member of this so-called "team natural" since 2002/2003. I’ve also been one of those people who for the most part, has stayed true to the essence of “team natural” as a personal preference. That is to say… I’ve never used a hot comb to press my hair to convert it from kinky coily to straight and shiny, and I’m pretty boring when it comes to diversity (i.e. braids and weaves). I wear braids maybe like 10% of the time…more in winter months than summer months, and the last time I fixed a weave was when I was heading off to Kuwait in 2010, and didn’t want to bother with hair. Prior to Kuwait, the other most recent time that I’d fixed a weave was when I was a 17 year old Jambite in Nigeria. So to summarize this long story, I tend to wear my hair in its most natural state majority of the time.

Recently though (read: July 2012), I’ve been wanting to do more with my hair and embrace more diversity outside of the usual braiding that I do. I’m trying to save my edges and besides, it’s been like a high of 100 degrees every day this summer, so there is no way I was going to battle with some long yarn braids in this heat. My homeskillet for life and hairstylist extraordinaire, Lavvie aka Lavenderchic told me “you should do something different and try a weave” but I didn’t think that I was mentally ready for a weave. So, after much thought I had this Aha! moment where I said to myself “how about a wig?”…and that’s how yours truly scoured some beauty supply shops and is now the proud owner of two wigs. I like my wigs…I only wear them on weekends when I’m being too lazy to deal with my hair. I haven't considered them for weekdays because I prefer to not have to deal with hair in my face on a typical weekday hustle. I like the fact that I can slap ze wiggies on when I feel like, and toss them off my head when I’m not in the mood for hair. And, like most wigs/weaves, they give my looks a certain upgrade. I throw a wig on, and I go from “natural haired girl next door” to “Ohh, you is looking good girl!”

Fast forward to the main reason for this blog post: I have this dear friend who is always trying to hook me up with somebody. I was talking to her the other day, and she was telling me how she has this friend who I might gel with etc etc. Then she’s like “by the way, I saw a picture of you with your new hair and OMG girl, that is the picture that I need to be sending to all the dudes”… “In fact, that is the type of hair that you need to be rocking because it was so fabulous, and you looked amazing” etc etc. I had to laugh abeg. From the way my babe dey yarn, you would think that I look like a housegirl on the regular. I mean, I know that with my naps, I probably don't fall into the "glamorous" category but shiii I know I'm cute at least... LOL. But in all honesty, this was nothing new to me. A lot of people have told me and continue to tell me that they prefer seeing me with “hair” (read: anything other than my naps). Even I will agree that hair (if done right) generally upgrades anyone’s looks. But still, I felt a bit uncomfortable about her trying to use this wigged up picture of me for marketing purposes because in all honesty, that is nothing but false advertising. By false advertising, I mean…that is not me 90% of the time, and I would have preferred that she market me with pictures of nappy ol’me, as opposed to curly wigged up me, because nappy me is generally who anybody is guaranteed to see for the most part. These guys may see that wigged up, glam looking picture as their first point of contact for marketing purposes, then meet me with my naps and it’ll be like “errrr…where is the girl in the picture?” And, in all honesty, I still don’t think that most Nigerian men appreciate women with natural hair, for their own individual reasons. 

The convo with my friend had me thinking about other reactions that I’ve had to this wig of mine (and hair in general). I attended a wedding the other weekend, and some dude who I see at practically every event and he’d never said a word to me, came up to me at this particular wedding and stated that I “looked familiar” and “do we have mutual friends?” He then proceeded to make quite a bit of convo…I mean, I was quite surprised by the sudden friendliness and trust that I attributed it to ze wiggy. Why not? I don see dude countless times, and he never spoken a word…all of a sudden, I look familiar and he trynna kiki it up? 
Another male friend stated that my “hair” was really nice, and why don’t I wear it more often? Not to mention the various compliments that I received from my female friends. I went for another wedding where I ran into a bunch of my ex-feddy girls (who I must note that I had seen quite recently sans wiggies) and I got a lot of “wow, you look great girl”. I appreciated it all, but I kept thinking… “this is all nice, but it’s also very temporary”.

I have even gotten comments from my family members about hair on my head (i.e. braids). I once went to pick my mom up from her friend’s house. Then, I had a head of long yarn braids…and so, on the way home, my mom told me that a lady who she met commented on how “her daughter was so beautiful”. Then my mom turned to look at me and stated that I should consider keeping my hair in braids more often than not, as opposed to wearing it out in its natural form like I’m prone to do. I laughed. Even my sister once commented that braids really look good on me, and added that I should braid my hair more often because according to her, “my individuality is so strong that I need to wean Naija guys small small”. I laughed at that too.

I’m not even mad at anyone’s opinions…I do get their points. They say that a woman’s hair is her crowning glory, and I know that "hair" does add some kind of an upgrade, and dare I say, ups my “level of attractiveness”… but I still generally prefer to wear my own hair in its most natural state. That’s when I feel like my truest self, and in my opinion, everything else that I put on my hair is just false advertising. I prefer for, and feel more comfortable when men approach me with my naps, as opposed to any kind of artificial hair on my head. And, in an ideal world, people would think that I looked equally as amazing as a nappy headed HOttie, as they think that I do with braids or a wig… but we live in a world where packaging is what’s hot on the streets. The better packaged you appear to be, the more attractive you are considered to be. 
I will still continue to wear any of my two wigs when I feel like it. I appreciate the diversity that they bring, especially on days that I do not feel like dealing with and styling my hair…but on the flip, I gotta learn how to process the positive attention and comments that I get as a result of wearing the wiggies.

On that note, Im outtie for now.

Peace and Love, brethren *dutty whines out of this joint with my nappy roots*