One of my fondness memories as a child is of my dad styling my hair. Now he like most dads had ZERO experience in this area. In fact I have one word to describe my look for the that day…GREASY. My dad went the full nine yards. He pressed out my kinks with the hot comb and managed to slick my hair down into a side ponytail. By the end of that styling session, my hair and face was slathered in hair grease. You could easily spot me in room because I was glowing, you hear me?
This past Father’s Day made me think of that story and a similar story I had read about President Barak Obama. At a recent private dinner with four contest winners, he and Mrs. Obama shared memories of their young family. When talking about their children, the President fondly shares,
My favorite story out of this is Malia, when she was 4, she had a little dance thing. Well, Michelle was gone that weekend so I’m taking her to ballet. And I get her in her little leotard and her little stuff. I did her hair, put it in a little bun. We get to the dance studio and one of the mothers there right away comes up to Malia – she thinks she’s out of earshot of me and she says, ‘Sweetie, do you want me to redo your hair?’ And Malia who she’s 4 says, ‘Yes please, this is a disaster’ you know, she didn’t want to hurt daddy’s feelings.
Wow! Even at four years old, no daughter wants to hurt daddy’s feelings. We look up to our daddies and we only want to please them.Unfortunately, in some circumstances that image of “daddy” is stained and sometimes even shattered. When that happens we are left to pick up the pieces of the part of our identity. I can say that I am blessed to have had my daddy around, imperfections and all. It’s no secret that he struggled with and overcame drug abuse which at times made my childhood difficult.
So, I am grateful for the greasy forehead as I am sure Malia is grateful for that messy bun. We don’t ask for dad to be perfect–just be there. And moms, I know we do a lot, but let’s not forget to praise dad for the little things he does, even if he doesn’t do it “right.” Thanks, Daddy for little things that made a big difference.
Has your dad/male-figure ever tried to style your hair? What is the fondest memory of your dad or male-figure growing up?
|This is not my son…lol
So, I’m having a conlict with my husband. Our oldest son has my hair texture. What does that mean? It means that when he gets a hair cut the hair starts to grow back beaded up. My husband, who has hair that lays flat and has a loose curl pattern, is like “Ugh! It [our son’s hair] doesn’t lay down when I brush it” Stating, “You know yo’ hair is nappy when you go to the store and say give me the hardest brush you got.” LOL. Of course, we had a good laugh at that one. So then, we started talking about his childhood and the stigma of being “nappy-headed.” You see, the nappy-head little boy was the bad boy. He was the one who couldn’t sit still, was always acting up in class. “Oh, you talking about James, that little nappy-headed boy down the street.”
When, my husband sees my son’s hair start to bead up, it makes him want to go get the hair clippers and shave it off. The conflict is that I don’t want his head bald. When my husband gives him a mohawk, he cuts the sides practically bald. I’m like, “Bay, why do you have our son looking like Mr. T?” His reply, “so that the hair won’t bead up as fast” He keeps going back to the stigmas of his childhood and he doesn’t want our son to be “that kid.” “Little boys, black men need to be clean cut.” Or, at least, that’s what society has told us in order to be something in life.
This is very aggravating. Though, I know that he is not alone in these sentiments. Growing up if you were arguing with another little girl you could usually win the battle by ending off, “wit yo nappy-headed self.” We’re not children anymore, but these deep-rooted sentiments have carried over into adulthood. To this day, when a little Black baby is born everyone is waiting to see if the hair is going to “turn.” Mothers are still smothering their baby’s hair in mineral oil hoping prevent the inevitable.
I’m thankful that my husband and I can laugh about this. It does not hurt any more to think that there is a part of me that he would prefer different (or, at least, tamed). These sentiments are just a part of our culture and history that comes with the territory. I will not stand in the way of my husband training our son to be a man. I will however, give our son the balance of loving self that a mother gives. I believe that as more of us embrace our natural hair and define beauty on our on terms, those old stigmas will not be an issue anymore.
Share your thoughts…whatever they may be…