Going Natural With Bae

Hello people!

How is the going going? Let’s gist today. 🙂

Last week, I saw this video on facebook. It’s called ‘The Natural Hair Song’, a parody of Breezy’s ‘Don’t Judge Me’. You should watch it. A guy sees his girlfriend after her spontaneous big chop and he just can’t take it. And so it begins: “Where the fuck is your hair? Where the fuck is your hair…”

I thought it was hilarious. I laughed plenty and proceeded to tag my friends. For starters, the guy’s blonde wig. LOL. Now I’ve thought about the video since then, and the first thing that came to me was: If I’d seen it like two years ago when I was transitioning or after my big chop, it would not have been as funny. I’d probably have gone on a tirade somewhere. Blog, twitter, real life, some place sha.

In the 2004 romcom, ‘Breaking All The Rules’, Morris Chestnut was infatuated with Gabrielle Union. He was describing her to his friends and one of the things he kept going on about was her gorgeous long hair. She got a pixie cut, and when Jamie Foxx (a friend of Morris) met her, he did not even know she was the one, because she couldn’t be- you know, Morris’ girl was the one with the hair. Anyway, the funny thing was, Morris was so attached to her hair that as she was getting it cut at the salon, he felt jolts in his body with every snip, but did not know what exactly was happening. Haha.

One thing we can all agree on is generally speaking, hair means a lot to us black people, in Africa and the diaspora. So, for the purpose of this post, can we ignore that little voice trying to say “It’s just hair”, nope, not today. People have divorced over toothpaste and lesser things, and one woman’s husband did suggest a divorce because of her hair. Yes, read about it here.

This is a topic I avoid (natural hair and relationships), but today I want to hear your thoughts. I’ve never thought about asking a guy to air his views on natural hair (except his own) on the blog simply because, I firmly believe that however they feel, is for their pocket. It doesn’t really matter in the general assessment of things.

However, that’s a big broad stroke. Getting specific about our individual lives, we share the things we love with the people we care about. So, what about when bae isn’t excited about this new change in your life? I big chopped when I was ready, but it was encouraging in a little way, that my then love interest absolutely LOVED that I was going natural. His own natural locs were a great inspiration for me too.

I want to hear from you in the comments- have you been in this situation? What did you do, what you would do? But first, my 2 cents:

1. In trying to be understanding, think about it this way:

What if bae decided to come back one day with relaxed hair in a ponytail? What if bae came to see you one day and he has changed his look to something you really can’t process e.g. he goes blonde and looks like the guy in the video, and not Chris Brown. Or even dyes his hair silver (or was it grey? or white?) like Sisqo.

Honestly speaking, I won’t call you shallow if you feel just a teeny bit less attracted to him. For me sha, don’t play that kind of rough play if we aren’t deep in our feelings yet, it could be the beginning of the end. ( ._.)

Now, I know you’re going to say that this analogy is crazy and does not apply because you’re simply RETURNING TO natural, where it all began! Embracing your roots, being who you’re supposed to be!! Of course. But does he know this? Does he understand? Sure, you can call it sad, being anti-black, self-loathing on some level (so many essays on the subject) but can you really blame him? The way the world is set up, all the conditioning the black race was put through for centuries- and is still being conditioned today… It’s not such a surprise. For years you have relaxed your hair. If you’re like me, you tossed and turned over the idea for almost 2 years before you finally took the plunge. I’m saying. You know now, what you did not know before. AND, you’re the one who just made, or is making a change. People don’t really like change, it takes some getting used to. Give him time to process this. Patience.

2. Talk about it.

A lot of people do not understand why people go natural. Like why? What are your reasons? You’re going to get questioned a lot. At the market, at work, at school- you don’t owe them any explanation, but take some time to share with him, because you care. Whether it’s a simple “I just feel like it” or a 7 page essay about finding yourself, share. Show pictures of naturalistas that inspire you. Give him the chance to see it how you see it.

In all this talk, I think it’s important for me to state here that I am not saying you should ask permission before you go natural, or you should ask bae to ratify your decision after you have taken it. It is YOUR hair, on YOUR head. You will do what YOU want with it. You’re just trying to help absorb the shock a little. It’s a journey, one of life’s journeys, and you’d be happy to take him with you.

Maybe it’s the fact that for us kinkier types, we have gone centuries not knowing, or not remembering that our hair can grow, maybe that’s why for us long hair is such an achievement, or positive attribute. But we should note that, most people aren’t REALLY averse to all natural hair, it’s the idea of short hair that worries them. (This is a topic for another day- how length “validates” the journey, in some eyes)

3. Also, I think there should be boundaries.

The video was a parody and really should be just that. If the things he said were repeated in real life, the girl would/ should not have been pleading with him to understand.

We can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends- and we can definitely choose who we want to be romantically involved with. Family will tease you, but they cannot disown you (lol, jk. They love you and will eventually get used to and love your new hair). Friends may tease you but in a while, they may follow your lead. On one of my bad hair days last month- a really wonky twist out, my mother told me that the sight turned her belly. LOL. Now, from my mom, that meant nothing. It was just her being my frank mother, no malice in there. However, I cannot let any bae talk to me like that, except he has Tourettes or Aspergers- and I don’t think you should, either.

4. Finally, be willing to let go.

If your person stops wanting to be seen in public with you because of your Teeny Weeny Afro or starter locs (it happens!), If after some time, your hair is still an issue, I think you should keep it moving. He is entitled to his opinion but you don’t have to deal with it. He doesn’t have to deal with your hair either. You should not be liked or loved or found attractive “despite your hair”. NO. It should be one of the reasons why you’re special, why you’re beautiful, or your hair should be a non-issue <- that is, he doesn’t care either way. Your hair should NOT be a downside.

If your relationship can’t handle your going natural, then why hold on to it? I’m just thinking out loud here. And this is about actual relationships. If you’re worried about how potential bae will find your hair, girrrrrrrrl I don’t think you should bother.

Present bae did not dig my fro at first when he was potential bae but he grew to love it. Who knows, he may not have come to talk to me if he had seen it (I was wearing kinky twists) but now, he is a fro spotter, and always tells me when he sees kinky sistas, referring to them as my, or our clan members. LOL. Good for him because this hair would have been a deal breaker. *warrior pose*

Going natural, returning to natural is a personal journey. You hear naturalistas call this a journey, but it really is. You will soon understand. One you should embark on for YOURSELF, and nobody else. But, to soothe your worries, there are 7 billion people in the world, 140 million people in Nigeria, about 20 million people in Lagos alone, and I can assure you that there are as many great guys out there who would love your kinky-curly-coils. Don’t let one person hold you back.

I really did not intend to go on for so long. I was just meant to post a quick conversation starter, but here we are. I can’t delete all these words. :p

All in all, I’m advocating for a balanced view. You should do what you want to do with your own hair, but it’s also okay, good, to enlighten him, try to get him on the same page as you. NOT the same thing as seeking permission.

So, let’s talk ladies. What are your views on natural hair in relationships? Is your hair a deal breaker for you? Have you ever been in a situation where “love” made you question your hair choice? Speak on it!

Love,

AB,

xx

P.S. Have you entered the Big Fat Giveaway? Deets over here

0 Replies to “Going Natural With Bae”

  1. Some of this post might apply to ditching a boyfriend, but when you have a husband of 4 years, a boyfriend of 10 years, and have had two children together it’s a completely different story. You don’t just up and leave your husband and father of your children because he called your hair “cantcha-combit” when it was time for your relaxer (jokingly, but still). My husband can even admit that he has come to like the “Americanized standard of beauty,” as he calls it. I just tell him that we are changing that standard so he can get used to a new one. Granted, I am transitioning without the big chop so as not to shock him, but hair is just not that serious of an issue when you consider the health and happiness of our overall relationship. He’ll get over it and he knows it! He even complimented my bantu knot out yesterday (but I’m only 5 month post…we’ll see if the compliments continue)!

  2. I laughed my heart out on the video. I have been transitioning unknowingly since May of this year and knowingly since August of this year. So far my husband has always told me “whatever you want to do Baby” when I go over plans for about my hair with him. I appreciate that because I don’t feel my hair defines the wife I am to him, it surely does not define the person I am. My hair grows I get it cut. I also at times will wear corn rows with hair braided in. I love my hair short on the sides and back, a little on top, thick and well nourished. Also, this saves my husband big bucks; because very rarely do I go to a salon to get my hair done.

  3. I think its best to include bae in the decision to go natural, support youur views by showing him pictures of beautiful natural haired sisters on the internet… For me all the ‘baes” I have had are either spotting dreadlocks or an afro. What can I say, I’m a sucker for cute guys with a head of hair 😉

  4. I love this discussion Ezinne! Hair and Relationships, hmmm its a toughie. Personally, as a Single I feel when I am in Lagos that my TWA puts me at a HUUUUGE disadvantage. Even my more or less open bro who is the kind of guy I’d like to date-stats wise-told me it took him a while to get used to my TWA. A Lagos date I had when I was rocking one of my weaves back in the day told me that short cuts tended to give the whole House Girl look! In Berlin, so far the German dudes I meet could not give a damn about my hair, they still find me sexy. I asked a mate about this and she said its coz they want to go to bed with their idea of an African Queen. Hmmm, I dunno but I will ask more Lagos guys about this matter! x

  5. Hehehe. Well in my case I’m transitioning. Started my HHJ when me n ‘present bae’ were on a break. Now we’re back and he sees me obsessing over my hair, he keeps giving me this confused look esp with the weird DCs. I’ve mentioned doing the BC like twice now and he just asks ‘why? I don’t understand? Why exactly do you have to cut your hair? What will now happen?’ then it’s back to weird look. Lol. Mostly because I don’t really bother to explain it well and that’s because I feel ‘my hair, my decision’. And I kinda take it for granted that he’ll support what makes me happy. But I think I’m going to try to include him more now. Maybe even convince him to BC for me (ha!). Because at the end of the day, there’s a lot of hate and misunderstanding for natural hair and when that comes I’ll like to be able to remember bae’s support and smile coz he’s got my back. Yeah we can tough it alone but maybe I don’t have to. That’s why we have baes in the first place, right?

  6. I quite agree that its your hair and you can do whatever you like with it but in a marriage it cannot be that way. A single chick bcing or transitioning is quite different from a married woman doing the same. As long as we are talking about singles in relationships and not a marriage, then I agree with you. In a marriage however what works is communication and compromise, you can’t just up and do whatever you want because its your hair/body/ womb. You have to be considerate and be ready to compromise for the sake of peace. For me, my man cut off what remained of my relaxed hair himself after his mom cut off the bulk of it. I told him I wanted to grow out my hair afresh and I wasn’t satisfied with his mothers cut so I handed him a pair of scissors and he cut it off. He didn’t wince neither did he ask me what I planned to do with my hair. He just said: I hope I did well with the haircut. He tells me he loves my hair even when I look cray cray ( I guess love is truly blind lol) Not everyone will have my experience but communication and compromise work even in the toughest situations.

  7. Ok sooooo i have never shared on a topic like this but today i will lol. So my hubby was not 100% happy when i cane home with my short natural hair. However ots my hair and he is supportive of whatever i do. I do know that having my hair straight is something he likes. My deaire is to bw pleasing to my own husband. His opinion matters most to me. I know what i like but i do take his thoughts into consideration. I feel that i should have included him in my decision prior to my actions. In my marital relationship its not about me anyone but us! Likewise with him. Knowing who you are is important however natural hair, permed hair, short hair, or no hair. Who you are inside is what counts. I may perm my hair in the near future cut it short or blow it out. Either wat he loves me BUT knowing what he prefers nothing can compare to me meeting his needs. So yea thats my piece of the pie lol. God bless

  8. So many of my friends tagged me in that video and I found it hilarious! Mind you, I’m transitioning and still found it funny, but I don’t take too many things personally and I know my friends weren’t trying to be hurtful.

    That being said, I was married for about five years (been with my boo for four and a half years before that, so 9.5 years altogether) when I started transitioning. My husband was always attached to my long, straight hair. That was one of the things that he found attractive about me. But being together so long (I think) made breaching the topic easier. It’s not that he’s no longer attracted to my long hair, it’s more so that he cares about my well-being more than he cares about my hair (“as long as it looks nice,” he says lol). So he was supportive when I decided to transition.

    I hear the women who feel like they don’t have to talk things over with a man to make a decision about their body/hair/etc. And if you’re not in a long-term or committed relationship, I agree. But, in a marriage, especially, you talk about everything–from the mundane to the serious topics. So I could see a husband being upset if his wife at least didn’t mention her plans and completely altered her look–a look he’s been used to for the majority of their relationship. Just like I would be slighted if he decided he was to decide that he no longer needed to take baths, or would start wearing a toupe or relaxing his hair without running it by me first. I see it as a matter of respect, not that you need his permission. A recognition that your significant other plays an important part in your life, and just like you would come to them about little things like which outfit they preferred for a Christmas party, you would seek their opinion about your hair. That’s not to say you have to agree with them if their opinion is contrary to what is truly important to you, but you did run it by them out of respect.

    1. Thank you for chipping in! 🙂
      Marriage is a different kettle of fish, I wasn’t talking about that kind of bae, lol
      The mention of the husband wanting to divorce his wife because she went natural was simply to support the point that it isn’t always “just hair”.

      1. It most certainly isn’t always “just hair” lol. Like you mentioned, I’ve seen relationships crumble over far more trivial things. If the relationship is new, probably best to keep it moving, but even non marriage long term relationships should probably be given some time to get used to the changes. That’s really what I meant–if the relationship is “serious” it becomes a matter of respecting your “other” to at least mention it beforehand. 😊

  9. I agree with poisoniby, you need to discuss big changes with your significant other, take him or her EVERY step of the way, its important in any relationship to be open and not be unnecessarily defensive and if they still don’t see reason they should take several seats.
    If bae should come back with blonde hair we will sit down and have a talk cos I know he must be going through something deeper than hair (that’s like the only reason I can take).
    As for me my problem is with my dad I don’t think he undersrands what I am doing, he always looks confused when he sees my hair, I dunno, I don’t think he particularly likes it but he respects my hair choice.

  10. I think it all narrows down to the individual; ofcourse its your hair.However,we can carry along the people in our lives;make it fun,laugh about it,explain it to them. And of course let the man know what you are up to. The truth is no everybody would love it but some will.

  11. On the one hand, I believe a woman should do whatever she want’s with her body and her hair, as long as it makes her happy,and empowers her. But then again, like you said, its not fair to pull such a surprise on your S.O, leave the house with that 24 inch virgin Remy and come back in the evening with hair lower than your man’s own. It should be discussed, or at least mentioned, contrary to popular belief, if you are in a loving/serious/long-term relationship it IS your S.O’s ‘consine’. You talk about it with him/her/them and just like in any progressive, loving mutually supportive relationship, you may get the support or encouragement you need, OR not. They have an opinion,but who has the final say? (Apart from Jehovah) You do.

  12. EL OH EL.That video floored me completely, i laughed out loud. I am in the very first stages of my hair journey; what i like to call my “huge chop” with barely any length to even push back with a hairband. But i found it VERY funny. It lightheartedly highlighted the relationship issue surrounding kinky/short hair, I mean he called it ugly and she was begging.

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