Hello Meltingpot Readers,
Do you know I thought I’d dodged a major bullet when God had the good sense to give me two boys instead of girls. I sighed a major sigh of relief thinking I’d get to avoid the hair issues. Specifically the issues where you have to fill your kinky-curly haired daughters with so much love and pride for their kinky-curly hair that they won’t doubt their beauty in a world that idolizes Rapunzel and Marilyn Monroe. A world where Beyonce’s fake blonde tresses are considered the standard of Black beauty.
But guess what? My two sons have both asked me on numerous occasions, what we can do so they can have ‘hair that moves.’ I kid you not. You could have knocked me over with a feather. We live in a city that is almost 50 percent Black. They attend a school where Black and brown kids make up almost 40 percent of the student body. Their mother wrote the freaking book about Black hair being awesome. And yet my sons are talking about wanting hair that moves. Oy!
I’m not completely clueless. I know boys are just as susceptible to pop culture references of beauty images and standards of cool and hotness as girls are. And I know those standard bearers are overwhelmingly White, but it still stuns me that my boys, ages eight and 11, think being able to whip their hair back and forth would make them somehow more hip, cool and cute. I do kind of blame Willow Smith for this, because she did rekindle the hair-whipping phenomenon and, of course, she’s not White. So I’m clear we’re not talking ‘self-hating negro’ syndrome here. It’s bigger and smaller than that. It’s wanting what everyone else seems to have. I get that. I just wish it wasn’t about the hair. But it is and probably always will be.
Here’s what I’m doing about my sons’ request for hair that moves. I kind of went through my own 7 stages of grief. At first I really worried about it and made them tell me in great detail, Why? Why did they want this moving hair? Then I tried to come up with ingenious ways to style their hair so that it might move. We let their Afros grow out and then braided them, but that just gave us bigger Afros. Then I made the mistake of telling them that the only way their hair would move is if we permed it. And they asked if we could do that. Not! Wrong way to go there. Now I just tell them the truth.
“Your hair doesn’t move like Justin Bieber’s and it never will. Your hair is thick and curly and it is awesome because you can style it in so many different ways. Your hair is beautiful. Now go play and be happy that you even have hair. Look at your poor father, he’s loosing his hair!”
So, did it work? Do my boys appreciate their curly hair? I don’t really know. But they’ve stopped asking for hair that moves, at least they’ve stopped asking me. Now, they want to dye their hair blue. Oy!
At least I’m ready now for babygirl and her hair issues. I hope. What about you, dear readers? Any of you have boys who shocked you with their request for hair that moves or some other malarkey (wink, wink Joe Biden) you would have never expected from a son? Please share and make me feel better.
I’m so listening.