Hair

Being Superficial Could Be Costing Us Chances At Real Love

There was once this thing considered ideal for an African woman seeking to date an African man.

This thing of tall, dark and handsome.

So let’s be honest, how many of us African/Black women chanced upon this tall, dark and handsome man who was equally caring, unselfish, loving, attentive…blah,blah blah? My guess is none of us. And even if we did get this tall, dark and handsome man, chances were, he might have been lacking in other areas we considered crucial in building a healthy relationship. Unfortunately or fortunately, we were forced back to earth and concluded that a love interest’s character was what mattered as opposed to only how he was supposed to look.

I am a short woman. Just 5’0 tall. In the very recent past, I had never thought anything about my height since I come from a family of short women on my maternal side. But not until someone I considered a love interest seemed thoroughly bothered by my height. In a short duration of time, I got descriptions of pint sized and too short which really caught me by surprise. Nobody had ever seemed bothered by my height in the past. Including those men who felt there was not enough spark to warrant a romantic relationship with me. At least they were polite enough to spare me the bodily criticism.

To make matters even more appalling, the fact that I had recently done the big chop was also a huge cause for concern. Now when an African woman decides to go the big chop way, just know that she has tried just about anything on her African head from braids, to perms, relaxers, color, you name it, to finally settle on rocking her naturally, God given tuft. Here I was, riding on the wave of the natural hair movement and actually starting to really love it when out of the blues someone decided I was a fad follower, had a school girl look and just needed to grow that damn African mane. As if my past experiences trying to figure out this kinky head did not matter at all.

My weight was also a contentious issue. I was flab. For a moment there, I felt like an African female version of humpty dumpty, with barbed wire short strands sticking out of my head. They tell you that a confident woman is never bothered by other’s opinions of her but trust me, when someone decides to attack that very thing that makes up you as a woman, it is bound to cause all kinds of bodily insecurities. And so I was left licking my wounds. Never mind the fact that I had mentioned beforehand how I looked to him and I’m barely plus size but simply, a short woman with a perfectly God given apple shape and short African hair.

A plus size model. Photo courtesy of Internet Sources

This experience got me thinking about how being superficial has actually only served in being detrimental to our love lives. We often times complain as women that there are no good men left out there when in reality, we have this long mental list of standards that we use to gauge a potential mate with. Half of those standards being based on how he looks. I equally know of men who would rather be caught dead dating a dark woman, short woman, fat woman, a woman with tattoos…you name it. And yet, those very same men will sulk and whine that there are no marriageable women nowadays.

This obsession with things appearing on the surface causes us to spend a huge chunk of our dating life analyzing and sifting through men and women trying to match our standards with them. In the process, we forget all about ourselves and whether we are indeed what someone else would call an ideal mate. And all because we have let our superficial standards on others take us down the selfish route.

I’m not trying to suggest that you date the very first person who comes your way that you are thoroughly unsure of. It is perfectly in order to be unsure of some people and especially when you get that deep intuition that this might not work in the long run. However, sometimes and in certain situations, we need to cut potential mates some bit of slack. Otherwise, we will waste our years wearing our critical lenses and bemoaning the fact that we can’t seem to find someone to love us unconditionally.

Do you love yourself in the first place unconditionally or are you simply looking for someone to make you feel good about yourself? That you can walk arm in arm with that magazine, cut out, looking woman and others will acknowledge how much of a good taste in women you have. Or that you will show off your sexy and dapper man to your friends and will almost swear the green eyed monster has paid them a visit.

Indeed some of the couples considered most incompatible are the ones who ended up having the relationships to be admired by many. For them, it was not only a matter of looking at the surface and quickly writing each other off for perceived flaws but being patient enough with each other, to discover that despite what many considered their significant differences, they indeed complimented each other.

Short man and tall woman couple. Photo courtesy of Internet sources

This encounter has taught me that despite failing to meet a man’s standards, I do not need to wallow in self pity at this kind of rejection. It has also opened up my eyes to the fact that I need to personally be realistic when considering a potential mate to date. I do not need to tear down their appearance just because I do not feel attracted to their physique. Rather, I need to reject them in a way that does not make them feel inadequate as individuals. Indeed, that which you consider inadequate to you, could perfectly be adequate for another.

I would love to hear if any of you has ever had a similar experience to mine.

Do I Make A Statement With My Natural African Hair?

I’m at that stage in my life when I have no idea what to do with my hair. It’s about slightly over an inch long (courtesy of a shave I did sometime in September last year, when I still didn’t know what to do with the full length, African mane on my head), partly chemically processed, partly natural. So on days when I’m leaving the house, I do the curl activator thing to make it look a bit presentable and comb it into an impressionable afro. If you can call it that.

This is my current hair situation. I was trying a kind of mohawk look sometime back.

This is my current hair situation. I was trying a kind of mohawk look sometime back.

 

This was my chemically processed, styled in curls hair sometime back at its full length.

This was my chemically processed, styled in curls hair sometime back at its full length. Forgive the 60s retro look that is oh, so old fashioned.

 

My once full length completely natural hair when I had belief in my original kink

My once full length completely natural hair when I still held belief in my original kink.

It’s not the first time I’m writing about hair on the blog. Because hair is a part of us. And especially African women who are blessed with kinky manes. That shrubbery on your head, if you would call it that on days that it just can’t sit right and frame your face right, always reminds you of your African roots. You can’t run away from it. You can perm it, like I have done in the past and recent past just to make it more manageable, but as soon as that growth of natural hair appears, you are reminded of your roots.

Not that it is a bad thing to be an African woman.

However, an African woman who chooses to embrace her natural kinky hair is a force to reckon with. I have seen celebrities try the no make-up look albeit successfully. I have also seen celebrities of pure African descent swear that the long, silky hair we were seeing on their heads was indeed natural. I have equally seen pictures online of natural, African hair that still didn’t look natural enough. So whenever I see an African woman walking around with what indeed looks natural and still appear confident in her skin, I silently salute her because I’m still not that confident with my natural one.

Nigerian Writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who has a penchant for rocking her natural mane. Bellanaija.com

Nigerian Writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who has a penchant for rocking her natural mane. Bellanaija.com

Take Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for example, who is never afraid to wear her hair natural. She has actually talked about African hair in her books. She is also considered a feminist. Not the bashful kind of feminist who got the script all wrong and ended up appearing bitter instead of passing a message. Which actually brings me to my blog’s title today, Do I Make A Statement With My African Natural Hair?

In many ways, yes.

It takes a lot of courage for an African woman to choose to wear her hair natural. Not with the wide array of styles and weaves to choose from, coupled with all the tricks available, to help make your hair appear fuller and much more silkier than it originally is. Hair is considered sacred in many religions. They actually refer to hair in Islam as “ornaments” which a woman is supposed to cover, to avoid unwarranted attention such as admiration, envy, sexual attraction and the likes. This just proves how much power hair actually has and especially on a female.

Therefore, when an African woman decides to celebrate her actual hair by choosing to wear it natural, she is passing out the message that she embraces all that makes her African. Including her hair which had once been considered undesirable for a long time, by the African female fraternity due to its texture. A texture that seemed unusual when compared to Caucasian hair.

She is making a beauty statement that by deciding to take the often unpredictable natural look route, she is not fazed by the desirability factor. She is confident enough to work with what mother nature blessed her with. And trust me, African men are totally turned on by African hair on a woman’s head that is well taken care of. So a woman is not only making a statement but embracing that which makes her an African woman. It oozes confidence to the opposite sex.

And while it has taken a very long time for African women to love their natural hair, it is refreshing to see a natural hair fad in Nairobi, a city I have resided in for sometime. It speaks volumes about the liberation of the African woman, who tried sometimes unsuccessfully to achieve that silky Caucasian hair look. Who literally tied her head with a head tie on those days when she didn’t have her braids or weave on, because she was not confident enough to venture out in all her African glory.

That woman has since seen the light and is rapidly moving in a direction that celebrates what was once considered unusual. That woman can be called a feminist who accepts herself first, before she can begin to demand for gender equality and for more opportunities for the oppressed girl child. That woman is a shining light in a dark tunnel.