Today Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. Why in the world am I bringing this up in a blog about hair? A wedding is a perfect opportunity to examine notions of beauty and femininity. I was married on July 22, 2000. I remember all of the planning. Yes, the venue was important and we had to have a wonderful union and fantastic reception. However, if I’m honest, a top priority for me was to look phenomenal. I wanted to look slammin’! I wanted Fred to take one look at me and melt. Leading up to the wedding, I was wearing an afro. I am ashamed to say that I decided that there was no way in the world I was going to walk down the aisle with an afro. What was I going to do Velcro the veil into my fro? One of my girlfriends, the same girlfriend who took me to the Baltimore barbershop for the Big Chop (see my earlier blog), told me about a wonderful stylist, Janellia, who could give me a natural looking weave. Exactly what do I mean? Well, she used hair that looked naturally curly so I would end up with a curly afro. The night before my wedding, Janellia met me at my apartment and, after I washed and conditioned my hair, she began the process of weaving the curly extensions into my hair. When she was done, I was ecstatic. In my mind, I looked like an African goddess.
Looking back, I have to ask myself why I thought an afro was the antithesis of femininity. I admit that while I loved the freedom of my afro, I still felt like I HAD to wear nice makeup, and cute jewelry whenever I went out in public. In other words, my hair was not cute on its own merit; I now had to be accessorized in order to look feminine and pulled together. Ouch. This is painful to admit and see in writing. Point blank, I wanted long, curly hair when I walked down the aisle. I didn’t “feel” like a bride unless I had it.
Do you have any similar stories about special events and hair? Maybe not your wedding, but a concert or a business meeting? A first date? I’d love to hear your stories!