Lately, I’ve been getting super nostalgic. I haven’t lived at home for about five years now, but I’ve always been close by.
At the end of May, I’m moving to New York. And while I’ve been twirling around my apartment with wistful whimsy, clutching an empty suitcase and singing something corny like “New York State of Mind” with too much vibrato and goddamn anticipation, I’m scared out of my wits.
I still feel like a freaking baby! I can’t possibly move to such an adult city and do adult things! But I must. And the anxiety is making me long for a simpler time. A time when I looked like this:
Which brings me to the whole point of this little essay. My hair.
I HAD SUCH CRAZY, BEAUTIFUL HAIR AS A KID. Strawberry blonde, corkscrew curls. In fact, I looked an awful lot like this. But not undead.
Most people made more cutesy comparisons to Shirley Temple, Curly Sue, or any other ragtag child star that had dimples and a playfully defiant inclination to SASS. But those comments began to dwindle and fade as I grew older. People grew concerned about my “frizzy” hair, pushing flatirons or ads for treatments or mousses or gels or creams or WHATEVER my way.
And, oddly enough, a lot of those “people” were boys. And I happened to be dating them.
True, I’ve dated my fair share of nice kids who wouldn’t have dared to mention anything about the way I chose to wear my hair, but I’ve also dated a bunch of losers who laughed and said I looked like a “bobbleheaded frizzball” (actually happened) or that I was “unsexy” when I went out, curls askew. So I began to flatiron. And it makes me really sad to think that THAT was the impetus.
Like, really, Gabi? You wear latex skirts and black lipstick. You’ve embraced flat chested-ness and long armpit hair (story for another time, folks). But you can’t learn to love your hair? Bullshit.
The thing is that straightening my hair has just become part of my routine now. I don’t even think about it anymore. I’ve just allotted that extra 45 minutes into my morning regiment without batting a lash. But it takes up time, and it’s killing my hair, and -- back to my main point -- my curly hair is CUTE.
So I made a point to wear it more often. I don’t care if people say I’m fuzzy or funny or silly or unsexy. I like that I’ve embraced my other “unseemly” or, more likely, un-male-gaze-friendly features, so I’m going to love my hair.
But, believe it or not, I’ve still had people come up to me (in CLASS at the age of 22) to tell me: “Your hair! That’s so funny! It’s getting frizzier by the minute!”
And I’m flabbergasted about how bizarre it is that people feel entitled to talk about every aspect of my appearance. Like, just because I’m a lady, it’s the OK to pick me apart? All the time? Like I’m a fucking walking advertisement for Pantene Pro-V or whatever shit “de-frizzes” hair the best nowadays? No. NO. ARGGGG!
I want to take a minute now to clarify that I know my mild aggravation is nothing compared to the stigma that black women face when they wear their natural hair, so this piece was in no way a desire to invade that space or claim that adversity. I don’t have any authority to speak on that other than that I think it’s profoundly fucked up that women, in one way or another, have prioritized the white standard of beauty that is hyper-focused on the male gaze.
I’m super pissed about it. Like, all of the time.
But rather than seethe any longer (today), I’ll just take the time to experiment with fun, new products because while I want to wear curls all the time, I also want them to look as shiny, bouncy, and healthy as they can. And right now, they’re a little bit fried from years of heat.
Here are the products I've tried recently:
1. Treseme Flawless Curls Gelly Even though it’s a “gel,” it doesn’t make hair crunchy! Hallelu! Plus it’s cheap!
2. Moroccan Oil I’ve snagged cheap Moroccan Oil Styling Cream from Amazon, but you need to GET ON IT. They won’t last long at all. And, I mean, it’s still pretty damn pricy. BUT This is by far the best product I’ve tried so far. It hydrates my hair and defines my big curls AND it manages to ward off the effects of all the humidity I have to slog through every day. Cool story: My college was built on a swamp.
I can’t WAIT to try out more of these and get my curly hair back to healthy. Do you guys have any other products in mind? What have YOU changed about yourself that you wish you hadn’t? Who made you do it?
WHO MADE YOU DO IT, GODDAMNIT. I WILL FIND THEM.
Just kidding. Go on.