In response to my post about what men think, Goodnapps said that it is not only our men who have to get used to our new hair choices, but also the rest of our friends and family and sometimes even ourselves. That is absolutely true for a lot of people, but not for me.
I have never been able to relax my hair without incident (burns, breakage, etc.), so I have alternated between being natural and relaxed literally all of my life. I did keep going back to the chemicals periodically - thinking like so many of us, "Maybe this time with this new product (or method or stylist) it will be different. (And, of course, it never was.)
I never have really told my complete hair story. I have only alluded to it here and there, so most of you wouldn't know that.
I never had that period of adjustment among my friends and family because I was natural most of the time. Even if I was pressing and curling and it appeared to be relaxed, it usually wasn't.
So, it's always been, "Oh, you're wearing it straight again." or "Oh, you're wearing it natural."
And I've always worn a variety of lengths. So it was, "Oh, you've cut it all off again." And, "Oh, you're growing it out..."
So the only time it has ever been an issue is when I was in a relationship and I started out with one look and switched in the middle.
Thankfully, I come from a family that is supremely supportive of natural hair choices. I am not now nor have I ever been the only one to wear my hair short or natural, so I didn't ever have to explain myself with other styles.
I am the first and only one in my immediate family to start locks of any kind. My brother hasn't said anything and he probably won't. I'm pretty sure he doesn't like them as well as other styles I've worn, but he likes longer hair, so I think he'll appreciate them more once they reach a certain length.
My father has been AWESOME. He has never had a negative comment about ANY STYLE I HAVE EVER WORN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!
There are pictures I look back at and think: What???
But he never had anything bad to say.
It was always understood in my house that the woman is the one who has to style her hair and get out the door in the morning, and sleep on rollers or not, sit in the salon or not, so it is up to her to do what she wants.
I grew up with a sense that choice was not only a matter of what was perceived to be attractive by others, but knowing that it also involved maintenance and convenience and those are important factors, as was being proud of the way God made us and not feeling that we had to alter ourselves in any way to fit in to anyone else's standard of beauty.
My Dad was always like: Whatever. You and your mother are beautiful. Do what makes you happy.
The more I read about others who don't/didn't have that and the more men I have met who don't have that enlightened attitude, the more grateful I am to my father; the more I appreciate him and the way I was raised.
That's why I have had such a hard time dealing with men who don't appreciate natural styles on me and other women, and why I especially appreciated Kaya giving me another way to look at it.
Diva, I'm single now and I was single when I started my locks. I'd toyed with the idea of locking my hair on and off for almost 10 years! But always seemed SO PERMANENT. I liked switching back and forth.
On how my new look would be perceived by potential suitors: When making the decision to lock I have to say I gave it some thought for more than a hot minute.
My fiance loved locks. He liked my straight hair too, but every time I twisted it he would say, 'just don't take them out; let them lock.'
I was not familiar with SLs at the time, and I knew organic locks were not what I wanted and I knew that if I just left my twists in and let them do what came naturally, I would not have a look that pleased me. But it was nice to know that I was in a long-term relationship with a man who not only accepted locks and could get used to them if he had to, but who admired them and encouraged me to start them. I knew that whenever I was ready, he would be 100% supportive.
There was so much security in that knowledge, but I decided to start my locks several months after our relationship ended and I experienced a lot of self-doubt and uncertainty about how locks might hinder my attempts to find a new love.
I said I was single when I started my locks, which isn't entirely accurate.
I was kinda/sorta in a quasi/semi/almost relationship at the time, but it wasn't serious enough that his opinion could have swayed me. (Once I made my decision, my decision was made.) I discussed my decision with him, so he wouldn't be surprised, and because I wanted to know his thoughts, but I was going to do it! He was uncertain about how they would look, but I think he was really just mirroring my own insecurities. (Incidentally, he loved them!)
I just told him about the process, I didn't even show him pictures because I didn't know what they would look like.
I knew I looked at other women's and said: I hope mine look like hers, and it would have been disappointing if they looked totally different.
I didn't want him seeing someone else's and having the same reaction.
I didn't want him to have anything to compare it to. I just wanted him to see mine and love them.
It worked. He did.
But our very fledgling relationship was so 'not set' and barely established, I was pretty sure that it wouldn't stick. So I was pretty certain I would be truly and completely single fairly soon after my SL installation, and I would be lying if I said I didn't think about it long and hard. That is: what will men think?
Will I get less attention? Will I not attract the same type of man that I used to? What will I do if I meet someone who wants me to take them out? (OK, that was an easy one, but I thought about how that WOULD change my perception of him.)
What if an otherwise good man who would otherwise be attracted to me (with straight hair or curly hair) decided not to approach me because I had locks?
As much as I have loved my natural hair for all of these years, there was a lot of comfort in being able to wear it loose and straight or loose and curly.
It was kind of a safety clause.
I find my own attitude strange as I look back on it now. Even though I didn't want to be with anyone who didn't like me with natural hair, I guess I kind of liked having the ability to 'bait and switch.'
**My goodness!!! That sounds so devious and underhanded. I never thought of it that way at the time. **
God! That sounds awful!!
I never wore straight hair specifically to be more appealing to men. I wore straight hair because I wanted to at the time. It's another look I like. But it's true that even men who thought they wouldn't like my natural hair, and said they wouldn't have approached me with twists or a 'fro, actually did like it once I changed it back.
And all complaints always centered around length. It was never the actual style they didn't like, but y'all know...natural hair shrinks. I think it's safe to say that it is a fact that most men like longer hair, not even most AA men. MOST men.
In any case, in spite of all of my former doubts, fears, and misgivings of any sort, I have to say that I am completely happy with my decision to lock. Sisterlocks are one of the best investments I have ever made and one of the best gifts I have ever given myself.
I have absolutely no regrets!