From chemical straightening to braids to weaves to natural twists, a black woman’s hair is hardly ever in its natural state. I’ve been at my current job for three years yet my colleagues are still in awe of my ever changing hair. In the early days, although common sense told many of them that it was biologically impossible for me to turn up in a short bob one month and 16-inches of flowing locks the next, they chose to believe that black hair must be special. Astounded by their ignorance, I decided to educate them about black hair and all the weird and wonderful things that can be done to it.
A few weeks ago, I walked into my office sporting a weave. It was my first foray into the world of REAL human hair. I could have passed for an Indian girl. Well, from my hairline upwards. Anyway, I thought I’d share a conversation that transpired between one of my Indian colleagues and myself.
‘Wow MEE, your hair looks really different. I really like it!’
‘Thanks X,’ I responded.
‘You added extensions didn’t you?’
‘Yeah, I did.’
‘Is it real human hair or synthetic?’
‘It’s real human hair. Indian hair to be precise.’
‘Ooh, is it?!’ she squealed, her voice rising a couple of octaves.
I chuckled. She was so excited I was convinced she was about to tell me the hair on my head came from one of her relatives.
‘You know, when I was in India, a lady that lived on my street used to sell hair. She used to tell me I could make a lot of Rupees from the hair that’s doing nothing on my head.’
Too right I thought, that hair on your head is redundant. In the two years I’ve known her, her hair has been permanently trapped in a ponytail as long as my arm.
‘She used to try and get me to sell my hair to her but I didn’t want to cut it. Recently I’ve been thinking about cutting it though. If I decide to cut it, you can have it.’
I almost choked on the air I was breathing.
‘WHAT?!’ I asked in disbelief.
‘Yes,’ she said, barely able to contain her excitement, ‘If I decide to cut it I will give it to you instead. Free of charge, you don’t have to pay me!’
The look on her face put paid to any feelings of offence. She clearly thought she was doing me a favour. I laughed so hard my breathing became erratic.
Kai, I have suffered!!!