Must-See TV: The Good, the Bad, but Never Ugly

Readers will remember that I announced my intention to go natural a couple of weeks ago. I’ve worn natural hair before, after a long stint of texturizing my short hair, which followed braiding my hair, which followed a period of wearing the cutest darn permed boyish haircut you ever did see!

Of all my styles, I got the most compliments and felt the most confident about my texturized hair. After my braiding stint, I reaped a head of thick, black, shoulder-length hair. I loved the length, and the fact that it was all mine! But I didn’t know how to take care of natural hair. I also had a demanding job. Being perpetually short on time, I kept pressing it. Without proper maintenance, it quickly became unhealthy and broke off.

As a matter of fact, the only reason I permed my natural hair  three years ago was because—once again—I had a demanding job, had just had a baby, and couldn’t dedicate the time to reading blogs, forums, watching videos and meandering through the aisles at natural food stores to find the essential oils that my natural roots like so much. As for texturizing and going bone straight, the knowledgeable stylists I relied on to help me maintain strong, thick hair became unavailable to me, either because they moved on, or I moved out of town. Same thing with the braids. My favorite stylist was harder to get to, once I moved out of her town, and I couldn’t find a replacement as talented as her within an easy distance of me.

I was actually inspired to explore natural Black hair care after a white woman told me about naturallycurly.com, which I used as a resource to find out why my biracial daughter’s hair was falling out. Otherwise, I had resigned myself to being one of the unlucky Black women with ‘bad’ hair. Hard to grow, dry like chip, impossible to maintain, just ‘cream it and done’ hair as Jamaicans might say!

It is different now. There is an amazing wealth of natural hair care resources on the Internet, ranging from dark-skinned Black women working it with their teeny weeny pretty Afros to dark-skinned, no-I’m-not-mixed, in fact I’m Nigerian, women with hair past their shoulders and damned near their waists.

Most of them are committed to growing and grooming natural hair for the foreseeable future, even if it requires putting in tons of time and effort. Of course, you have the bandwagon-jumpers on the natural kick, who go grow out their unpermed roots mainly to experiment for a few years. Some are quite enamored with seeing themselves in Web videos, but have little to offer in the way of concise, instructive well-edited videos. They get bored and perm again, and they are perfectly entitled to do that, enough said. I steer toward the women with hair textures in the 4 grouping, because my hair is similar. Not ‘a one’ of them has expressed the slightest intention of going back to perms. JoStylin’ the YouTuber, even posted a clever rant (mild as rants go) about her natural hair fatigue. She’s not about relapse into using the creamy crack, but her admonition that maintaining natural hair—long natural hair—requires a lot of work was refreshing.

So, after a day at work, settling Baby for bed, maybe a little work I’ve brought home, or writing out checks for bills, I click onto my favorite blogs and YouTube pages to see what some of these ingenious women have come up with next. At this point, I am voracious for information, so I check the Internet almost daily to get the tips and information I want to sustain my coming leap back into natural.

One last thing: Big ups to you talented artists, fashion designers, and hair stylists whose information I’ve sopped up with a biscuit these last five months! Not only does your hair look amazing, but your generosity of spirit has vastly expanded my knowledge of and appreciation for holistic and purpose-driven living. TruKinks for instance, has started a charity to help provide easy access to clean potable water to citizens of developing countries. TruWater is a worthy humanitarian cause that I encourage other naturalistas to check it out at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TruKinks#p/u/4/jsLn7zDI0m4

Also, treat your eyes and senses to Fourborne Art’s blog. The link is in my blogroll. I supported TruKinks’ charity, and I’ll support the small Black women-owned businesses I’ve stumbled across as I’ve explored this option for my hair. Some might scoff at the notion that it took something superficial like hair care to enlighten me to all of the small Black businesses out there, but here is my comeback: Our hair, this fine-stranded, thickly cropped fiber we are just coming to fully appreciate is not frivolous. Neither are we. Our hair, like us, been misunderstood, called course and uncivil, enslaved in a Euro-Asian beauty standard, and written off in some cases. Actually, it is as shiny, bright, fine, and delicate as hair—and women—you’ll find anywhere else in the world. Quite natural that it would bind us, too, no?

That’s IT! I’m Going (Back to) Natural

In early Spring, my friend down the street hosted an Easter Egg Hunt for the neighborhood kids at her house. One of the mothers caught my eye because her hair was shorter, curlier and more vibrant looking than I had ever seen it previously.

“Kyle,” I said looking at her neat, glossy twists. “You’re going natural?”

“Oh yes,” she said, he left arm akimbo. “And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

We got into an animated conversation, with me telling her how great her hair looked, and her telling me how freeing it was to be on this new journey. I think the word “journey” pulled another mom into the discussion. In just a few short minutes, us three grown women were standing around in our friend’s kitchen, extolling the virtues and beauty of natural hair. Natural curls were widely under-appreciated, we said, especially by Black women, whose hair is naturally curly. Kyle talked about how great her hair feels to the touch, without being fried and slicked down by straightening chemicals. Ann has a little boy, but she was still interested in talking about her own routine. And there I was, outwardly talking and complementing both of them, inwardly wondering whether I should make that leap once again into wearing natural hair.

Maybe that conversation was a one-off thing, you say. After all, I wore texturized hair for years before going “bone straight” as my stylist called it.

Well, the natural hair trend is not going away for now, and we’re not talking about a bunch of left-leaning, vegan 20-somethings with their hair blogs and YouTube channels, either. During a block party in July, I ran into another neighborhood mom who also sported a natural style. She dons a suit everyday for her job at a Big Four accounting firm. She doesn’t do any kind of chemical or heat straightening on her two beautiful daughters, who are actively involved in sports, and are also naturalistas. What about Melinda and Sharon, my cousins, who also hold professional jobs and rock the curls everyday? Let’s not forget my friends at work, who at turns inspire and infuriate me with how their thick, black, rich hair of different lengths and textures get longer and seemingly healthier everyday. Loads of people are ditching perms and letting their natural hair grow out.

I’m running out of lame excuses, especially at home, and especially now that Hubby is more educated about Black hair. About two months ago, he stopped by the Dominican salon I frequent, just as the stylist was nearing the end of my session. He happened to listen in on a lengthy discussion between me, the stylist, and the owner about the damage that a chemical burn did to my scalp. Then he became Mr. Let’s Look It Up. A few evenings afterward, he researched the harsh chemicals that go into hair straightening creams. He grimaced in abject horror as he described a demonstration of what perming chemicals did to raw meat. He reads the labels on the products I order for Baby. He sometimes watches me as I style her hair and groans when it’s his turn to practice pony-tailing. (Hey, I’m going to have to travel for work again, eventually. He needs to know how.) He once asked me why God gave Black women hair that requires so much work, and talks about how relieved he is that I haven’t permed my hair in a while and have switched to products with natural ingredients.

I was thinking of perming my hair again, just once to cover up all the uneven lengths, tame my new growth and try to correct the drastic shedding and breakage that has been happening for months. But I think it might be a lost cause. There has been a massive profusion of products, styles and management techniques on caring for natural hair in the last three years alone. Not to mention natural hair care shows and exhibits. So I’m going back to natural. Just as soon as I can book an appointment with a stylist who can help me through that first year of growing it out.

In the meantime, I’m passing along word about the World Natural Hair Health & Beauty Show. It’s happening in Atlanta in September. Doubtless, attendees will find enough products, styles and tips to help them stick to their natural care routines. I won’t be able to make it to this one. But who knows: maybe I’ll make it to the next show, whenever that is!

Big Play for Naturalistas

I grew up in a Jamaican Pentecostal church, as I’ve mentioned before. After one particular service, a female minister accosted me, demanding to know why I was wearing extensions and braids. My childhood church was—is, actually— very conservative, and I remember perennial debates over how women should wear their hair. To the female minister, I answered frankly that I braided my hair to manage it more easily, in return she flashed: “Comb whe’ God gi’ you fi’ comb!” An overly simplistic and nonsensical response, to be sure. We didn’t have much to say to each other after that, and the controversy fizzled out.

Well, a lot of Black women are wearing their hair natural these days. Most want to break away from corrosive chemical treatments, and damaging weaves. The discussion about wearing natural hair and styling “what God gave you,” is no longer exclusively church terrain, or that of our ultra-progressive, dread lock wearing, left-leaning sistren. Those of you who are on a hair journey, or contemplating one, might want to check out this article in The New York Times. It’s about African-American bloggers and video bloggers dishing out advice on caring for natural hair. It ran in the newspaper last week. Looks like there might be a few more additions to the blog roll!

Before CurlyNikki, MopTopMaven, Naptural85 or any other hair bloggers came on the scene, the women in my church were passing around this book by Lonnice Brittenum Bonner. You might recall “Good Hair” yourself, or maybe you’ve read Brittenum Bonner’s other books.  She had been a reporter for the Oakland Tribune, but I think being a “hair memoirist” and forerunner to a hip new wave of hair bloggers makes her even more interesting.

As for me, I wear my hair chemically straightened. And I attend a different church, where no one really gives my head a second glance. I still keep in touch with a lot of my friends from my old church, and occasionally visit. But I try to blend quietly into the background and not draw any attention to myself. (Yeah. Good luck with that, with the mixed family and all.) And besides. Considering that the Bible offers no compelling clues or absolute doctrine on this issue—it preferred to admonish adherents to love their wives and parents not to provoke their children to anger—I never jumped on the natural hair movements that occasionally bubbled up at our church. Besides, I really wanted to spend my time writing stories, reading the classics, plotting my route away from home. That sort of thing. So whenever a minister rapped the back of my hand for cutting my hair into a super short boyish style, I politely explain that I chose the cut because it suited my perfectly shaped head. One woman minister glared at me and my braids—judgmentally, I presumed—from the rostrum during a service. I directed my gaze right back at her until she wilted. She’s probably off somewhere with the woman minister I mentioned earlier, the one who tried to jack me up in the pew after a service. Maybe they are praying for me right now.

Fashion Score!

Last year, I cut through a discount fashion department store on my way to work, and stopped at a rack of beautiful designer handbags. I pulled out a fierce Oryany bag with irresitible hardware on its leather strap, but held back from buying it on impulse. I wanted to mull it and figure out if I had enough free cash to buy it. I went to work, and made my calculations. After only a few hours, I went back to buy it, but the thing was gone!

I did not make the same mistake this year, that’s for sure. This time, I caught the shop girl as she was stocking the racks, one pretty bag at a time. She had a WHOLE BIN of designer goodies, looking for good homes. I asked her if she was going to stack the entire rack with Oryany bags (please, Jesus!), but she said I’d have to check.

Soon after she hung this beauty, I was running my hand over its buttery smooth leather, zipping and unzipping the front pockets, and checking out the cavernous interior. It was a thing of beauty. I glanced at my watch, doing my scheming and calculations on the spot. When I saw how these front pockets peeled away like the skin of a mango or papaya, it was a done deal.

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So the other kids—Prada and Ferragamo—have a new sibling now.

😉

A Little Help From Naptural85

Admittedly, I can be “all thumbs” when it comes to styling hair. That’s one downside to having a girl: You have to deal with the ups and downs of caring for Black and bi-racial hair—for two! Luckily, I can tap into the expertise of beauticians, friends, relatives—and the Internet if the ones I just mentioned are all busy—to bolster my hair-care know how. That brings me to this YouTube channel, which I stumbled across a couple of weeks ago.

Naptural85’s styles are really creative, ranging from sleek and elegant to sweet and adorable. I’ve already used the Bantu knot-out on Baby’s hair, with some terrific results. Big, soft curls that last the whole day, and if I take care of them properly, throughout the week. I have to chuckle when I use the term “Bantu knot,” because when I was growing up, we called them Chiney bumps. It’s just a Jamaican thing. I go with the multi-ethnic term on the blog, but in my house, we still call them Chiney bumps. And if Baby is upstairs kicking up a tantrum, after she calms down and I make my way downstairs, Hubby swivels around in his chair and asks me: “Chiney bumping?”

Here is a picture.

Baby's Bantu Knot Out, Day 2

It’s hard to get good shots of Baby’s hair without her scooting away after a toy or looking straight into the camera. (Hubby still strongly disapproves of putting her face on this page. *Sigh* Even though I’m proud of my little beauty and want to show her off, we have to maintain our daughter’s privacy.)

I’ll post another update on how I actually style Baby’s locks. Hint: Variations on themes and lots of “free & easy” days.

A Coronation/Diefication Gone Wrong

People who faithfully watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta are probably still shaking their heads over the recent spectacle known as Phaedra Parks’ baby shower. The woman came under heavy criticism for an event that some say was far too extravagant and tacky. I disagree. When a woman is named Phaedra and is married to man named Apollo, she owes it to the lowly masses, the mortals, to put on a show. In my humble and belated opinion, Phaedra did not go far enough. Here is the BravoTV take on the situation: The Real Housewives of Atlanta – Videos – Bonus Clips – Planning the Baby Shower | Bravo TV Official Site.

Here are my impressions of the splashy, showy baby shower that almost everyone who expressed an opinion seemed to hate. Baby Shower or Tasteless Free for All?

Of Gardens & Guns

When Hubby and I took the family on vacation last week in the mountains of north Georgia, we stayed a week with his parents at their house in the Big Canoe private community, located in the Blue Ridge mountains there. I brought my September issue of Vanity Fair for poolside reading. I also like to get a sense of local news, politics and lifestyle cues when I travel, so I decided to get a local publication. While we stopped at the IGA supermarket just off of Steve Tate Road in Pickens County, to pick up supplies, I saw something at the newsstand that stopped me cold. There is a magazine there called Garden & Gun.

I had to have a copy. Not only is the name a trip, but the cover also teased an article by Rick Bragg, a very talented writer that I like to follow from time to time. Upscale Southern culture is what Garden & Gun appears to be about. That figures. Nobody wants to see Southerners offensively rendered as ignorant, Confederate flag waving, hayseed Appalachian dwellers, who only aspire to own a full set of teeth. What comes to your mind when you say “the South?” Thanks to popular movies and miniseries like Roots and North & South, I think of shooting, heat, bugs, and snakes. But I also know that the South is very diverse, and there is a lot more to appreciate than good cooking. Garden & Gun did not let me down. It had impressive features on land preservation, a profile on Lexington, Kentucky, plus great articles music and the who’s who among Southern designers. And yes, there were a couple of articles about gun culture, mainly write-ups involving high-end hunting rifles. Garden & Gun reinforced what I already knew about the region after having written about real estate development for several years. There is money in the American South. It drives the region’s higher-tiered architecture, fashion and music, and goes a long way toward supporting its underappreciated artisan culture.

Hubby’s parents live in a private community that defies a lot of those common perceptions about Southerners. High in the Blue Ridge mountains of north Georgia, their community attracts permanent families from all over the U.S. I met retirees who once lived in swanky towns near my hometown in North Jersey, and we ran across several British families who had swapped homes with Americans for their vacations. Almost everyone is educated, well-traveled and seem to be fairly open-minded and friendly people.  Many of them are older Americans whose adult sons and daughters have married outside their culture or are gay and partnered. Whether we are splashing around in Big Canoe’s private pool, lakes and beaches, or out in the local towns, no one gives Hubby, Baby and me daggers. I like to think it’s because everyone is open-minded about our situation, but let’s be honest. Unless these folks strike up a friendly conversation about a recent trip up to Cape May and their son or daughter-in-law from another culture, they probably aren’t interested in being progressive. They’re just minding their Ps and Qs to avoid an unnecessary scrap.

It’s just as well. I’d rather talk about local history. For instance, The Tate family owned the land that makes up Big Canoe today and then some. Stephen Tate, the marble mining industrialist, is probably the best known of the family, because he started the mining that brought attention to that area of Georgia. There is even a 19,000-square-foot mansion called the Pink Marble Mansion, because it uses a lot of pink marble mined from the area.

My father-in-law treated the eight of us to a relaxing afternoon lunch at a restaurant in Monteluce, a new neighborhood built around a vineyard in Dahlonega, Ga. All of the buildings there are rendered in Old World Tuscan architecture. But this is America, where we have a lot of space and we like things big, so a lot of the “cottages” actually looked like Tuscan McMansions. Anyway, Monteluce is another one of those unexpected treats that seem up pop up out of nowhere in Georgia. They serve high-end Bistro style food with Southern touches. I had the shrimp and grits, John had a yummy looking ham and cheese creation, and even Baby took a few nibbles of the pizza they made for her.

My mother-in-law took me shopping at a baby and children’s clothing store in Jasper, called Taylor’s. It’s inside a very unassuming, simple building off of the main road near the high school. But after we went in, I didn’t want to leave. The yummy, dresses, shoes and hair clips were absolutely charming. And I’m going to score Baby one ( or two or three) of those dolls, mark my word.

We took a nature walk in the wilder parts of Big Canoe. We made our way through miles of beautiful woods and ended up at a pretty waterfall. Along the way, some fellow hikers warned us about a nest of Copperhead snakes right near the falls. Those creatures fill me with dread and loathing. When my father-in-law accidentally grazed my heel with his walking stick I shrieked loud enough for all of Big Canoe to hear me, from McElroy to Wet to Sanderlin mountains, and I bet the county patrol down on Steve Tate Road picked it up, too. If I were younger, I would have probably taken off running and not stopped for many yards. But I stayed calm and took a few pictures in front of the waterfall with Hubby and Baby. Even if I were terrified, I couldn’t leave my flesh and blood behind!

I’ve spent time in Louisville, Ky., North Carolina, Florida, New Orleans and I enjoy myself every time I travel to the region. The painful history that Black Americans have had in the South with slavery, the Civil War, the Jim Crow era and the civil rights movement can’t be forgotten, but if I, and other interracially married women didn’t take those things in stride, we wouldn’t have our families now. Doubtless, there are loathsome creatures creeping amidst all that is beautiful about the South, just like that nest of Copperheads near the waterfalls on our nature walk. But I lay all those things aside and focus on getting to know people one by one. I’m always willing to believe that most people are just as curious about me as I am about them.

A (Pre) Celebrity Sighting

Manhattan is the sort of place where celebrity sightings are commonplace. I once almost ran straight into Isaac Mizrahi when I was hoofing it up 48th Street toward Times Square; Matthew Broderick was averting my quizzical double take when I saw him, on his Vespa, stopped at a light on the Avenue of the Americas and staring straight uptown; I think I shared a subway car with Peter Sarsgaard on the R/W line one evening. He was so unassuming that I almost missed him, with his head down in a book. But he couldn’t hide that clear complexion and sharp nose. When he lifted his head and looked straight at me, I thought: That’s his face, alright.

On Friday evening I saw Kendall Ferguson, or I think I saw her, rounding Bowling Green with her gaggle of girly friends. Kendall is the teenage daughter of Ms. Tracey Ferguson, the editor in chief of Jones magazine. I’ve written about Ms. Ferguson and her magazine on this blog before.

Just before the girl who looked like Kendall and her friends passed me on my way uptown, I saw a camera crew getting a shot of Beaver Street, which heads into the warrens of the Financial District. It’s very “old New York” back there, with its narrow streets and old buildings, so you all should explore the area if the chance ever arises.

It makes sense that Kendall would be in that part of town, because North Star Group, which published Jones and The Source, has an office on the Broadway side of Bowling Green. Maybe her mother was in town to deal with the September issue of Jones, and Kendall tagged along. Also, Kendall is apparently a talented young actress, with an impressive resume for someone her age and a talent rep. Maybe she was in New York City for a gig.

I know this sighting is not even on the same planet as that of Isaac Mizrahi or the other guys earlier in this blog, but it just reinforces how much New York City is brimming with sights and sounds every single day. Maybe the African-American ‘tween crowd will be lighting up Twitter and Facebook and all kinds of things tonight, as Miss Kendall makes her way through town. LOL.

Well, there you have it folks: A pre-celebrity sighting to kick off a weekend of gorgeous summer weather. As for me, I’m keeping a sharp eye out for the Fall edition of Jones when it hits the newsstands. I love the Web site, but I need to have a print copy, too!

Venus: A Natural Phenomenon

Whenever a gangly teenage girl develops into an arresting and grounded young woman literally before the entire world, you have to give that woman credit for doing so with grace and integrity. That’s why it made perfect sense to learn that the YWCA of Greater L.A. recently named Venus Williams a phenomenal woman. She is featured here because her fiance Henry “Hank” Kuehne, a pro golfer on the PGA tour, is white. Here they are in a photo at her college graduation party, or so the credits say. 

Ms. Williams holds the world’s #3 ranking in singles and the #1 for doubles. You can read all about her impressive achievements here, and it’s safe to say they put her abreast with the late Althea Gibson, the first AA to join the LPGA tour; the first AA to win a Grand Slam (Wimbledon, 1957) and the late Arthur Ashe, the most successful AA man to play the game. She is super close with her sister and doubles partner, Serena. If you’ve ever watched them trudge onto the court at a Wimbledon or French Open final to play each other for a championship, you can appreciate how much resilience it takes to live their lives.

I’m glad the YWCA has given her this award, because it burns me up the way the media treats this wonderful young woman. No matter how many trash-talking nobodies from Europe try to rip her down or sloppy obnoxious sports fans—who, by the way, would need a respirator to survive one of her routine workouts—savages her publicly, she finds a way to walk through it with her shoulders squared. God bless her, because I would attack back with my most repugnant ‘yo momma’ insults I could dredge up. And these piggish sports writers or “commentators.” Who are they to knock her appearance? If it weren’t for the FIVE pounds of pancake makeup they wear before showing their faces, they would scare children in the streets and cause camera lenses and computer screens everywhere to rupture into millions of teeny shards of glass and whatever poly-chemical coating they have on them. (See what I mean? I blame the Jersey in me.)

One of the reasons she comes under such scrutiny is her fiance. He is white, divorce, has a 5-year-old son and people are just all in a tizzy over that. Who cares? I like the fact that there is scant information about their wedding plans, because it shows restraint and modesty on their part, even though it makes my Latte Cafe hobby a little trickier.  In one Web-based thread, a particularly ignorant soul criticized Venus’ decision as some misdirected form of spite against black men. Others took it in stride and said her handful of a father, Richard, probably did a background check on the guy anyway, so she’s probably in good hands. That made me smile, because it’s probably true!

Well, Venus has nothing but my utmost respect and admiration for giving Americans one of two main reasons to watch tennis, along with her sister Serena. Andy Roddick is another draw, but he has yet to break through Nadal or Federer for a Slam championship. You would think this country would thank the Williams sisters properly for giving us such graceful displays of athleticism, years and years of global dominance in the sport, showing us how to respect other people’s cultures—by speaking French when accepting a French Open trophy, for instance—and for growing up as celebrities with no greater scandals than wearing questionable outfits while they pummel some loudmouth from someplace with an inferior game. Well, that last part is not entirely true. Venus was eliminated from the last Wimbledon tourney, after wearing some odd corset creation. It didn’t suit my personal taste, but I can only congratulate the young woman for having the figure to pull it off and the creativity to see it through. Usually, though, they take about an hour to whup their opponents.

And they are role models for young black women in many respects, including the fact that they don’t acknowledge ignorant comments about their love lives. Yes, they are role models for this. Allowing a decent guy to love you and enhance your life is a good thing, if you are mature enough to handle it. His race, ethnicity and nationality are completely irrelevant. Any brother who is not personally interested in them as marriage partners ought to pipe down and go back to doing whatever it is that mean losers like them do other than criticize black women for finding guys who make them happy. Or they might consider erasing mean comments on blog boards, shutting down their computers and doing something meaningful with their lives, like these young women have done.

New Spring Dos

Baby and I both got new hair styles last weekend. I got a simple touch up of a perm that had significant thick new growth, and I took Baby to a children’s hair salon to cut her hair.

Yes, I finally gave in. I simply didn’t want to see anymore patchiness along the sides of Baby’s hair or in the front. So, in the interest of giving her locks a fresh start to even out, I took her in to hare everything cut off.

The salon where I took Baby occupies a converted first floor of a brownstone on Halsey Street in downtown Newark, cheerfully decorated in vibrant primary colors, where two owners braid, cut, ponytail and do just about anything else mothers want for their daughters (and sons). There are two styling stations and a couple of dryers. Too cute. About a third of the floor space is dedicated to retail, where they sell colorful tutus, sportswear, accessories and other adorable finds for little kids.

After settling Baby into one of the two styling chairs and snapping on her apron, I expected the hair dresser to use clippers. I didn’t know if I wanted her hair shaved all off all the way down to her scalp, but I thought clippers would have been able to handle Baby’s four inches. But the hairdresser slid her fingers through Baby’s downy, fine hair and said: “I’m not putting clippers into this baby’s hair. It’s going to totally change the texture.” Her co-owner agreed, and predicted that were clippers to be used in Baby’s hair, her new growth would be a challenge to manage. She kidded that I would rush back in after a few weeks holding Baby and say: “Do something with this hair!”

So we decided to just go with shears. Baby handled the process a lot more calmly than I imagined she would. One of the salon owners daughters offered Baby a Spider Man board book. Baby turned through the pages, but started to become unnerved. Then the little girl fetched a pink teddy bear, which she had created at Build-A-Bear workshop. Smiling, Baby accepted and hugged the little ambassador. Before long, however, Baby started whimpering and trying to climb up on me. I managed to get her to hang in there until at last, her new haircut was done.

I think she looks adorable, and her short curly afro (with the slight ducktail in back) complements her perfectly round head, plump cheeks and long eyelashes. I understand where other women are coming from when they decline to cut their daughter’s hair, or gave me plenty of alternatives to this route. But Hubby and I thought Baby’s hair started to look lopsided, and felt that her scalp needed a breather, a time out.

After this, Hubby and I will probably part ways when it comes to managing Baby’s hair. I don’t know if I’ll ever cut her hair again this drastically. I don’t want strangers mistaking her for a boy, classmates at nursery school or beyond taunting her or Baby herself to feel like a cherished possession was taken away from her. Little girls tend to love their hair, and this is something that I have to constantly remind Hubby about. He thinks hair styling is frivolous. I showed him the Beads, Braids & Beyond Web site, expecting him to marvel at all those creative hairdos, and he recoiled. He said making a little kid sit still for all that styling was torture. I told him to get a grip on reality and understand that even if sitting still is a pain, a LOT of little girls enjoy getting their hair all done up, and like the results. He just huffed and puffed and shook his head, calling it stupid. And I just told him to can it, and that little girls are not middle-aged curmudgeons who don’t care about their hair. They want to look nice, and as long as they’re not obsessed, there is nothing wrong with it. And I told him to stop being so hysterical and calling black hair styles “torture.” Really!

Well, he’s in for a rough time, because Baby is an adorable little girl. She is also young enough that we can reasonably expect her hair to thicken up to a texture much closer to my densely cropped mane than his. It’s not hard to imagine that she will attract lots of offers to get her hair braided, curled, pony tailed and whatnot to play up her pretty face. Besides, after I buy her those colorful tutus, it just follows that she’ll need to rock a cute ‘do to go with it!