"Sure! You gave her all the good stuff!"
"Comb that hair, Krissy! You look like the wild woman of Borneo!"
My hair has always been a source of envy of other people as well as one of the things I can't decide if I love or hate about myself. I know I'm not alone. A lot of women have hair issues. It has just been within the last few years that I have realized just how much I have misunderstood my hair and how my hair has caused others to misunderstand me.
I'm stuck in the 80's. I loved that time in my life! Fun clothes, great music and BIG, CURLY hair was in!!! I mean, what's not to love?? I tried a short do for awhile in high school but I have so many 'cowlicks' around my face that a short style was impossible to keep up with. My high school sweetheart loved long hair, so as many women do to try and please their men, I grew my hair and never looked back.
Basically my entire adult life I have had long hair. It is all over the place and I can't help it. It is unruly and I try to control it. My hair truly has a life of it's own. It's stuck on my clothes. It gets caught in the car window. I hate when it gets in my face but I can't stand to have it restrained. When it's too long it gives me a headache. So much of it comes out in the shower that my father used to tease me and say that he was going to collect it to sew himself a toupee....
But this wild hair is mine and I own it. I really am not into spending hundreds of dollars and hours like other women trying to change it. When I get a haircut my stylist will blow it straight, just for a change. I can barely recognize myself in the mirror. I think I look ridiculous with straight hair. It is a bizarre experience for me. It will usually last a couple of days until it screams at me to be washed and then it's curly again. I don't have the skills to blow it straight myself or to even set it in curlers to try and control it. A woman's hair is exhausting.
Once when I was in college one of my co-workers put his hand on my shoulder and accidentally touched my hair. He said out loud, "I can't believe how soft your hair is. I mean it's so curly I just thought it would be bristly...." That was the first time I had ever heard that! I was so surprised at the comment that it has stayed with me but I never examined the thought process behind it until a couple of years ago. I was watching the 'Millionaire Matchmaker'; a stupid reality show about millionaires who can't find women and have to be professionally matched up. The 'matchmaker' interviews each prospective woman and if the women don't come in with pin straight hair, they get sent home. She tells them, in her thick New York accent that, "Men don't wanna get their hair stuck in that bush." I was shocked! Do men actually think like that?!? It can't be!
It has to be more than just the physicality of the mechanics. I refuse to believe that all men are that shallow. Some maybe, but not all. This revelation made me start to take notice of other women. Take for example a wedding we recently attended. There were about 140 people there and you figure about half of them are women. So out of roughly 70 women of all kinds of ethnicity, I was the only one with curly hair in the room. One of the bridesmaids had curls, but it was clear to see they were produced by rollers. There was not one other woman there embracing her Goddess-given curls. Hmm...
As a child I had considered joining a nunnery until I found out that the first thing they did to you when you got there was shave your head. I have always heard that a woman's hair is her 'crowning glory', so shaving my head sounded traumatic. I'll take a pass on the nunnery, thank you. When Shri Dhyanyogiji came to America, He was shocked to see women with short hair. When His disciples asked why this was bothersome, He replied that a woman's hair hides her karma. That's a huge concept to wrap your mind around. To fully grasp it you must first have to have a immense understanding of karma. Karma is so complex that many gurus tell their students to not even try to understand it. So the fact that your hair can hide it is mind blowing.
But this still doesn't address the issue of curly VS straight....
When I was little, my 'gram' would recite to me the poem at the top of the page. This made me wonder, even as a child, if it was my curly hair that made me naughty. My sisters taunt me to this day that I got the 'good hair', whatever that means. As a child I was endlessly harassed to, "Comb it! What will people think if your hair is so wild?"
OK, now we're getting somewhere!
There is a huge misconception about women that they are their hair. If your hair is straight and breezy but doesn't fly away, you are perceived as easy to get along with and in control of yourself. If your hair is curly, unruly and maybe even frizzy you are perceived as complicated and uncontrollable. (It seems that misconceptions are magnified 1000x if you are an African-American woman!)
My favorite discussion on this topic was in the show 'Sex and the City' when Carrie loses Big to a straight haired girl:
Although I am not my hair, it is just like my spirit; unruly and wild. It's mine and I love it. Love me? Love my hair too.