scr
Bun

I read an interesting article in the November issue of Essence magazine. A panel discussion was conducted with several African-American celebrity women to debate the issue of “our hair” in light of Chris Rock’s new movie “Good Hair,” which is in theaters now. One of the panelists made a comment about how “white guys don’t understand”. Hmmm…really? I beg to differ. My white guy does understand and after 12 years of marriage to me, an African-American woman, he understands completely.

That article got me thinking about how my husband truly felt about my hair issues. I mean, he’s been with me through it all—braids, weaves, relaxers, highlights and the big chop FOUR times … not to mention the money spent on products and services. Heck, we could send a child to college with the money I’ve spent over the years. Well … maybe community college for one year, but you get my point! I decided to just ask my husband what he thought. What was his preference? How did he feel about my natural hair? Well, I wasn’t surprised by the fact that he prefers long and straight but I was scratching my TWA wondering what he saw in me since long and straight hair was something that I’ve never really had.

When my husband and I starting dating back in the mid-90’s, I went from a short, relaxed “Halle Berry cut” to a braided, asymmetrical bob. I knew he was a keeper when he didn’t run the minute he saw that look. Over the years, I’ve worn everything from a short afro to relaxed hair past my shoulders; braids of every type, size and length; 3 disastrous weaves, and now I’m back on my natural journey once again. I’ve also managed to turn our bathroom into a beauty supply store that rivals Sally’s!

Hilary and her husband Bob

The one hairstyle that I know will invoke emotional vibes is micro braids. The mere suggestion of it puts him in a minor tizzy. It’s not that he doesn’t like the look … he loves it, actually. The problem is taking them out. He knows he will be recruited to sit with me for 4 or 5 hours performing hand-cramping, back-breaking, butt-numbing work. Not his ideal way of spending a Saturday night. Mine either, for that matter — given that he loves to remind me during those 4 to 5 hours why I’m so lucky, and what other white guys are doing this or would any guy do this, for that matter. Blah, blah, blah.Most of my hair issues have been met with measured reactions. My husband is a military man who rarely gets emotional. After returning home from my latest big chop, I was feeling empowered and free. I’d kicked my creamy crack habit for good! When he saw me, he just looked at me, expressionless. "So, what do you think?" I asked. I could almost hear the debate going on in his head ... ”If I tell her the truth, which is that I hate it, then she’ll be pissed. But if I lie, then she’ll know I’m lying …”. His was response was a very careful “It’ll grow on me.” He clearly didn’t share my enthusiasm, but I’ll take it.

My hair is a constant work in progress and my dear husband’s reaction to my ever-changing, ever-growing, never-ending hair saga? A simple “do what makes you happy”.

Final thoughts

I’m not saying that you need to marry a white man to feel comfortable exploring all of your hair options. This just happens to be my story. What I am saying is that we should all feel comfortable enough to do whatever we like with our hair whenever the mood strikes regardless of who we choose as a partner. Today I’m rocking a 1-inch curly ‘fro but next week I may feel the need for a weave and guess what? My husband probably won’t love it but he will definitely understand.

0 Comments
Wow! Love this story....I just wrote my story on how my husband who is white is my biggest fan of my natural hair!! I was soo afraid to wear my natural hair, but he was very supportive and encourage me. I love my hubby...! He truly loves me for more than my hair..lol..Anyway, I'm sure there are black men who would appreciate natural hair. I just dated the one's who were superficial and did not understand my hair. I was told I needed to put the "white stuff" in my hair. Another attempt, and I was told I "Might"look okay with my natural hair if I grew it really long.
I agree that it is wonderful that your husband is accepting of your hairstyle. Since doing the big chop almost a year ago I've gotten mostly positive feedback from both white and black men. The few negative comments I've gotten are from black men. Comments such as, "When will this phase be over." I just laugh because I know that black men and women have by in large bought into the myth that long straight hair is inherently better than short kinky hair. Interestingly enough I met my boyfriend (who is African American) after the big chop. He loves my hair. The bigger and wilder the better. It is truly wonderful dating someone who sees the beauty in my natural state. Although I must say, even if he had a problem with it I wouldn't change a thing because I love it. Being myself is not "a phase." It is who I intend to be for the rest of my life.
Let's be real. Many of "us" have been raised to have issues with our hair. A permed acquaintance said "natural BW" have traded permed hair obsession for curl pattern obsession. Black men are not immune to having a negative opinion about it. My teenage son says all the time that many of his Black male friends constantly talk about how the "total" package of a young women includes silky & long hair. They don't want "bald headed or nappy headed women". They listen to popular music and I forget this one rapper said he did not want a woman whose hair tricked him because when she got out of the pool; it napped up. It was in some urban slang, but that was the jist of it. My own male family members "kid" about throwing some relaxer in my hair when I am sleeping (I have locs). Their wives, lovely Black women, say that it would be too unprofessional Down South to run around with nappy hair. I think that many Non Black men don't come in with the emotional and historical baggage that many of us have experienced to varying degrees so they can look at our hair more objectively.
Hey Wavezncurlz, I think her point was that there is a perception that men who are not of African decent can't understand what women of African decent go through regarding their hair. The author very clearly shows that the perception is not reality. I agree with her.
I get the point of your article. However, I was a bit taken aback by the title. Isn't the point that it is great to be with someone who gets you and understands your hair. Not that he's a white guy. Trust me, there are plenty of african american men who love and cherish natural curls. Any man that doesnt (regardless of race) isn't worth my time.
As the ladies of Naturally Curly know, they have been with me from the very beginning of my natural hair journey; I was very surprised at the reactions I received from men when I decided to go completely natural. For 27 years, I wore my hair relaxed. When I decided to go natural, I was wearing my hair in a very, very short relaxed style, Toni Braxton, back in the day, so the big chop was not an issue for me. I just went about eight weeks without a perm and then cut off the rest of the perm. So, I had a head full of very short natural 3C/4A curls. I received more encouragement and compliments from white men than I did from black men. In fact, one of the black men in my office actually said, “Why did you let your hairdresser do that to your hair?” The other black men didn’t say anything and just pretended they didn’t notice. I work in corporate America, so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised since most women with curly hair, black women, white women, and other women of color, do wear their curly hair relaxed, ironed, or pressed. Although, I am noticing more and more women going naturally curly and especially a lot of African American women who are moving away from relaxers and embracing their natural curls, kinks, and coils. What did surprise me are the reactions I received from white men vs. that of black men. Now my hair is longer, below my neck, and I still receive wonderful compliments from mostly white men, and still not as many from black men. It doesn’t bother me because I feel great this way and I think I look better now than I ever did with my relaxed hair. It’s who I am. So, whoever I end up with, black, white, or whatever race or color in between, will have to love all of my great qualities and my imperfections, topped off with a head of wonderful, wild, beautiful curls. Thank you, ladies, for the insight and this wonderful article! Michelle
My fiance is Filipino. He LOVES my hair SHORT and natural. I have a head full of 3b and 3c curls, and he just Loves to play in them! He hates when I get micro braids and was ecstatic when I did the BC! I am trying to grow my curls out for our wedding and he just wants me to keep it short! we may have to compromise on that one! When we first met, I had a relaxer and my hair was to my bra strap. Then when we started dating I had a short Halle Berry cut and he loved that, but when he saw my natural curls, he forgot all of the other hairstyles I had through out our relationship. Thanks to this website, I learned how to tame and care for my curls, and it's a lot cheaper and less time consuming than relaxing and going to the salon every week! I am sooo Blessed!
Just wanted to leave my two scents. I think if a "white raced" man is in a relationship with a black woman at all, he should already accept the difference in hair texture or he's asking for trouble. I think the bigger issue is whether the man, no matter what race, is SUPPORTIVE of his woman's journeys, personl or professtional. Thses are the KEEPERs. My husband is bald and while supportive he still sometimes askes "Can't you just put on a hat?" :-)
Love these insightful comments! Thanks, ladies!
Good article and comments. I guess it boils down to the fact that these men (white, Koren, Latino, Black) are secure in who they are and their love to embrace their women just as God made them. Not ever having to have dealt with an identity issue makes them impervious to the notion that one's natural self is ugly. How can that be if that is how God made you. Besides if they wanted a woman with more caucasian characteristics they would have dated/married one. Loves it! I count myself blessed that I also have a supportive man on my natural journey.
My man is white and PREFERS my natural 4A, 4B hair or bald head, to me with straight long hair. I love this about him! He understands that it is sometimes necessary to blow out my hair for my work(I am an actress), but he does not find me more sexy this way. He knows what I go through with my hair and the attitudes I get from others towards it in it's various styles. We even have two daughters, one with hair like mine in 3c, 4A combination. He has learned how to style her hair and does not fear it as a challenge to be tackled. I think people underestimate the sensitivity of white men in relationships with Black women. I think a great many of them are very aware of the nuances of racism and otherwise that we have to deal with in our lives and can offer support and empathy.
My husband is also white and he loves my natural hair. I have only had natural hair since we met 5 years ago (I had big chopped about 3-4 years before that and was still finding a good routine). He loves my hair; on our wedding day, his only request was that I not straighten it. In fact, he would prefer I never straighten it and wear it out and wild all the time. I don't straighten it but I do have to pull it back for work. He's a keeper; he loves me for me, that is for sure.
I have a Korean guy, and he responded the exact same way. He told me that my look would grow on him. But he loves playing in my TWA (when it's not greasy. lol) He's very understanding and supportive. He's down for everything but bald and dreads, he doesn't like dreads at all. Lucky for him I don't want dreads or a complete shave.
My white guy understands too. He's seen my big chop (this year), and he's really embracing my natural curls. My hair isn't the deal breaker for our relationship though. He knows that my hair is not me, that it's my accessory. It helps the relationship that he's so understanding. I've not had to do the micro braids with him, but he understands that from time to time, I like to wear lace wigs to protect my hair. I had to train him on "the hair arts". He likes the versatility. In my opinion, white men don't seem so caught up in the hair issue.
Bob sounds so sweet! I've been married 18 years to a wonderful guy but honestly he's threatened divorce if I ever cut my hair short. First thing I had to do when I met him was grow it out from chin-length. Good thing he even gave me a chance! (~_^) You are blessed. I will say that my hubby has been really supported me being CG -- claims it's what he was telling me to do all along! lol
I am with you on this one Hilary. My husband is also Caucasian and he is very supportive of my ups and downs with me going natural. After the last touch up, 1.5 years ago, he said that $75.00 is too much (I agree). He loves the micro braids also but cries when its time to take them out. I think last time his fingers went numb. I made a comment one day that not all women want to have Beyonces weave (its not her hair). I wish that more African American women could embrace who she is and be happy in the skin and hair she was GOD given.
Lol, this story brought me back almost 2 years ago when i decided to go natural after years of different hairstyles and my husband seeing a different woman every time. My husband is Italian and he was the one who encouraged me to go for it and also cut all the relaxer from my hair (now that's love!). My hair was 1/2 inch when he was done and i was traumatized to say the least. But it was my husband that smiled, loved and hugged me and told me i was so beautiful. Even when we went out and insecurities hit me, he was the one telling me that i was more beautiful than any woman around. So i don't agree at all that white men don't "get" us. There are many out there that love us (lol). If anyone wants to see my "Natural Journey", you can find me on Youtube under the name "reshon30" . Take care and God Bless!
The posts and comments are so wonderful I just felt the neeed to share. I am black and my husband of 2 years is white. He has beautiful chestnut colored wavy hair and I have great black coils (4a). When we first met I permed my hair and wore a quick weave. When we started dating, I was nervous to show him my real hair and took the "plunge" and did it. He began stroking and touching my hair and face, and at first he was perplexed as to why I would feel the need to perm my hair, or be ashamed of my unpermed roots. His words to me were "you have beautiful hair, and I don't understand why you don't have it natural." That helped me past my fears of going natural. Over the course of our relationship I have learned to love my kinky, beautiful curls, I've been natural since December 2007, and my husband enjoys playing with my hair. He likes the look, feel and texture of my hair, and always has. Depending on my mood, or where I'm going, I'll wear a wig, which he despises. It always amazes me the misperception that pervades interracial relationships - that men of other races "don't get it" when it comes to a black woman's hair. Maybe men who have never dated or married a black woman wouldn't quite understand, but there are plenty of men of all colors who are interested in the woman for who she is, kinky oiled hair and all. I am glad to see a story such as this, because it helps to disparage a pervasive and often offensive stereotype. I look forward to many happy years of marriage that so many other respondents to this article have enjoyed.
Thanks for your post, Hilary. Your comment "I wasn’t surprised by the fact that he prefers long and straight” was very thought provoking for me. My husband, too, used to unbraid my long box braid extensions… with very little help from me, I might add!. He was first recruited to do this about 3 months into our relationship (we’ve been together a long time: Our son is 18 years old). It was at that time that he asked why so many Black women relaxed their hair. I explained the vicious cycle of touch-ups, scalp burns, etc. that follows that first relaxer. After my lengthy explanation, he said simply "I think your hair is beautiful" and upon hearing those words, I said goodbye to lye and all of its toxic cousins forever. He loves the look and feel of tightly coiled, super curly HEALTHY hair (he is a fair skinned man of Cuban descent, with straight to wavy hair). It was a relief to hear that he liked my natural hair's texture: By the time I'd met him I had already been through countless relaxers, Jheri curls, weaves and braids of every size. My own hair had grown to the same length it had been before my first relaxer at age 13, which was just pass the tops of my shoulders. Over the course of our relationship I have alternated between wearing long box braid extensions (which my extremely patient husband used to unbraid every 4 or 5 months) and wearing my hair out, it in its natural state. Caring for my tightly curled hair is really not that difficult. It just took some practice. I have never taken my husbands love and acceptance of me for granted, but after reading your post and the thoughtful responses that followed, I feel especially lucky. Thank you for taking the time to write. I wish you and all of my curly sisters decades and decades of healthy, GREAT curly hair days!
i love that my (white) boyfriend and i fell in love while i was sporting the TWA and he always supports me changing my style but i love the look of joy he gives me when my little fro starts coming back! I feel so blessed have found a guy who is into me naturally - it's helped ME become more comfortable with myself naturally!
Awwww! You two are so cute. I love the fact that he is so supportive of you and your hair stories. And I love that the other ladies have had such similar and good experiences. Choosing to go natural, for most, is a life altering decision, I know it was for me. I used to have past shoulder length chemically relaxed and colored hair and to say that my loved ones were shocked at my decision is an understatement! I am a 2 year no chemical 1 year natural sista rocking a VERY BIG afro and I have loved every minute of it. I've gotten some opposition from the male species, but, like so many of you have stated, anyone that takes you in your natural state is a KEEPER! Good luck to all of you and keep your fingers crossed and blessing going up for my KEEPER ;-)
And so does mine! My husband is a very understanding white guy! We've been through it all with my hair "phases" & he probably has learned more about my hair than any other man that I had relationships with before him, and they were all black men. I'm currently sporting a TWA (but I also rock my wigs), and he loves it! He actually prefers my TWA because he loves to rub his hands through my hair. And I agree with you - do what makes you happy about your hair. I AM! I'm just very lucky to have a man (who happens to be white) that loves my hair in any "phase".
I am loc'd and married to wonderful man who is White and we will be celebrating 13 years next February. I met him when I had a relaxer and after a disastrous perm; I had to cut my hair down to a BC basically. He said I was beautiful in anyway I came but why would I "perm" my hair when it has such caustic chemicals. He asked if I ever thought about locing my hair and the rest is history. I have dated more IR than within the race and IN MY EXPERIENCE..BM seem to have more issues with natural hair & hair. But, any man who accepts you in your natural state and you for you is a keeper!
Your story is so cute!!! I have been through the same thing as you... My husband also helps with my relaxers and washes and you can see the horror on his face when it is time to do my hair! LOL!!!
I truly agree with you. I, like you, have been married to a white man for 17 years. When we met I was rocking the relaxer and "phony pony" look from the early 90's, the wet set, the Bob haircut. He's been through more hair styles with me than my parents.I love to change my look. My hair is now natural, no chemicals and no "cones", but believe this, I will change my look in a heartbeat with a wig! He loves every moment of it, he says he never knows who he'll come to next! Our daughters love it also, they love that I like to change it up. If I like it, I'll try it once! We are truly blessed, sistah. May you and he enjoy many more wonderful years together!!
i guess thats most guys they want u to do what u like whether they like it or not but I couldn't be married and wear a style I know my hubby didnt like I'd rock the micros and pay to get them takin out. But you two are a great couple and I do hope no matter what style you have you keep it natural
Thanks for sharing this! My husband is White also - and a military man - and I get sick of the comments people make like, "He won't understand X, Y or Z because he's White." You are right, we all need to do what makes us comfortable regardless of our partner's race. BTW, you all make a great couple!
Thank you for sharing your story! He sounds like a really great guy!
Your are so lucky to be loved for you and not the way you style your hair week to week. I just did the bc again and my friends are wondering why I cut off all my hair again. I like change it up every few years.

Social