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.