The Essence Of Existing As A Black Woman Who Has Never Worn A Weave Or Wig In Her Entire Life
“This dress looked so nice on you. Are you going to get your hair done?”
I was purchasing a skintight black dress at a small boutique in Brooklyn. The cashier who inquired about my hair also assisted me in picking out the outfit for a party I was going to that weekend.
“My hair is done,” I stated.
An embarrassed look crossed her face. She quietly handed my shopping bag over to me from across the counter.
As I confidently walked out of the shop with the internal satisfaction that my response gave that woman something to mull over, I looked around to notice the entire staff was black and woman. Everyone had a weave on their heads. My short afro stood out, not only in the boutique but in my environment as well.
This experience occurred a few years ago when I decided to move from Queens to Brooklyn. I uprooted from a predominantly Asian and white area to a black neighborhood where the beauty norms were different.
What really fascinated me was the beauty and hair care rituals of women in my new community. Although we shared the same race, our physical expressions of beauty were vastly different. These ladies made time to visit their stylist to get hair bundles put in on a regular basis while I handled my simple natural hair care routine at home. Long, acrylic nails in bright colors and creative designs decorated their fingers while I preferred to spring for the stylish yet sophisticated manicure during my lunch breaks in Manhattan. I stuck to red and brown hues that complimented my skin tone for lipstick while my female neighbors were more daring by wearing lavender, nude, bubblegum pink, green, and blue lip colors.
I noticed that these ladies also had false lashes installed to “complete” their new weave styles. Lashes were apparently the cherry on top and women did not leave their apartments without them. I was usually the only adult woman on the street without thick, long ass eyelashes glued to my eyelids, complete with a long ponytail weave or 24-inch Brazilian hair sown onto my scalp.
My natural hair and bare face excited black men but caused me to be shunned by most black women.