Along with being a beauty writer, I’m also a health writer. When interviewing experts for weight-loss stories, several have said that it’s a good idea to tell other people when you’re trying to shed a few pounds. Why? First, you’re less likely to pig out when you know others are watching and if you do eat a few Oreos, their raised eyebrows may keep you from devouring the whole box. Second, your friends, co-workers and Aunt Rose won’t push food on you when they know you’re trying to trim down. Lastly, sharing your goal creates a support team – your own band of cheerleaders who help you stick with it (especially at times when you wish you’d kept the whole idea to yourself and could tuck into a pan of brownies”>. I’ve decided to use this strategy to help me come out of the curly closet and commit to it. Of course, I didn’t just tell close friends and family that I was heading off the straight and narrow; I started telling pretty much anyone who would listen (as you can tell from this blog”>. Just the other day, I was in the elevator with a curly girl. It was raining so I asked her how her curls were holding up and then proceeded to tell her about growing out my strands. She didn’t seem to care – at all, actually- but I felt better. I think saying it out loud has less to do with the other person and more to do with me, since each time I say, “I’m going back to curly” I’m committing myself even more. (Not to mention that sharing my goal explains why I’m always sporting a ponytail.”>

But it was telling two of my closest girlfriends that made me realize how clueless the straight world is about the curly. At a recent lunch date, I was talking about working on Curly Girl 2 with Lorraine. “How can there can be enough information to write a whole book about curls?” one asked. I answered by explaining how Lorraine has studied curls for a decade and that she had loads of secrets to share. I also told them some of the tricks of the curly trade i.e. no brushing (which stunned and confused them!”>. As I continued to ramble on, they looked at me with blank stares. Soon enough, they looked bored by the subject (quite a contrast to lunch with a curly colleague just the day before: she sat rapt as I told her about my hair and all I’d learned working on the book.”> But it was with my friends that it really hit me: straight girls really have no clue, not even a tiny hint, about what we curlies have gone through and go through. I also realized that in my circle of close girlfriends none have curly strands – there’s not even a wave among them! Maybe that’s why my curls had been such a struggle. The amazing friends who I rely on for terrific advice about everything from work to kids to fashion, couldn’t help me in the hair department!

The other strange thing about telling people I’m going curly are their reactions. Everybody – except one friend – thought it was a great idea. All of them said something along the lines of, “I love your curls.” I should have taken this as a compliment, but to me it was the equivalent of someone saying, “You lost weight.” Doesn’t that mean that you were fat before? And with that logic in mind, doesn’t it mean my friends didn’t like my hair straight? I know, I know, it doesn’t matter what people think and I’m trying to stay positive. Instead of thinking that my friends and family members loathed my poker straight locks, I’m thinking of these pals as my own curly strand cheering section. Rah, Rah!

Michele Bender

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