Having Curly Hair is Like Being Pregnant

10 Oct

I have curly hair. Really curly hair. And a lot of it.

Big hair.

For years, I fought my hair. I did everything I could to have the hair of girls I admired – shiny and silky with the littlest bit of wave. The kind of hair that could bounce back from an open window in a car or a dip in a pool without any trouble. As any of you who have tried to challenge Mother Nature already know, it’s a losing battle. Your hair is your hair. It is what it is. When that hair is curly, it’s better to make friends rather than fight it – because the curls always win.

For reasons I don’t fully comprehend, curly hair seems to encourage people to take certain liberties. It’s like curly hair is an invitation to step over the lines society has so conveniently drawn for everyone’s mutual satisfaction. It so reminds me of what it’s like to be pregnant. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out.

1. Touching Any woman who has ever been pregnant can tell you a story of a little old lady or a crazy co-worker who could not manage to keep their hands off her belly. It’s like a pregnant belly has some magical pull that just sucks hands right to it. Curly hair is just like that. I’ve actually had a woman walk right over to me in the frozen food aisle, reach up and touch my hair – and not just pat it, but actually grab a handful and squeeze. Then, as though it was some kind of explanation, say “I’m sorry, I just had to touch it.” If this woman hadn’t been over the age of 70, I might have assaulted her with the bag of frozen corn I was clutching.

2. Unsolicited Advice If I had a nickel for every time someone gave me a “little tip” when I was expecting, I’d be dictating this to my assistant while my personal chef was whipping up dinner. It’s a rite of passage in pregnancy that prepares you for the decades of free advice you get after your child is born. When you have curly hair, people are constantly sharing their advice on how to handle it. In fact, not an hour ago, my mom was telling me how I should wear my hair. I can’t tell you how many people let me know about that Brazilian Blow-Out. Yeah, let me get right on that!

3. Personal Questions “Did you plan to have your daughters so close together?” “Your son is 4 years younger than your daughter. Was he a surprise?” What is it about a pregnant woman that makes people forget their manners? No one has ever asked me if I planned my hair, but I’m constantly asked if it’s natural, which of my parents had curly hair, how often I wash it, if I hate my hair and what products I use. None of which I really have a problem sharing (yes, mom, wash weekly – rinse and condition daily, no and anti-frizz serum and gel) – though a little small talk first might be nice.

4. Editorial Comments After I had signed for a package, a UPS delivery man once did a double take and told me I had “a LOT of hair. A lot. Wow. Big hair.” He then walked away shaking his head. What the what? Not unlike the FedEx delivery man who once told me, while I was 7 months pregnant “You’re so big, you must be due any day now.” Delivery men obviously have it out for me and my self-esteem. Didn’t they ever learn the old “if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut”? You love my hair? Great, tell me all about it. You think that woman has the slimmest ankles you’ve ever seen on a pregnant lady? Let her know. Big hair? Big belly? Keep it to yourself.

See what I mean? I understand that people are drawn to the magic of a pregnant belly, and while I’ve once had a beetle stuck in my hair, that’s as close as it’s come to the miracle of life. So what’s the attraction? Things that are big and round?

Mom and I on my 40th. I realize how few pictures I actually have of myself!!

It’s taken me a while, but I have finally learned to love my hair – frizz and all. Frankly, the bigger the better. It’s so much a part of my identity, that after my name, it’s the thing most people use to describe me. I’m the one with the hair. It’s what makes me different. It’s also made me more aware of the things that make other people different – and special. Whatever that is for you – embrace it. Even if it means someone grabbing your hair in the grocery store.

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9 Responses to “Having Curly Hair is Like Being Pregnant”

  1. Kathy Gaulin Donovan October 10, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Love this! Flow of writing is great and very funny. I have a friend I ned to pass this on to! And although I cannot relate to the curly hair I have had a few of those pregnancy comments! People are amazing!

    • Beth - Realist Mom October 10, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks for your comments Kathy! I really appreciate them.

    • Mary Lynn October 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

      OMG…You just wrote about me!!!! I am the runner with “the big hair” and the waitress with “the big hair”…and people are sooo fascinated with my hair I too get stopped everywhere I go by people who.. “just want to touch it!!!” The other popular unbelievable question I get asked is…”is it real???” And oh let’s not forget..” how lucky I am to have such curly hair!!”

      • Beth - Realist Mom October 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

        I knew you’d be able to relate!!

  2. Tattoos, love and lunacy... October 12, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    This post is awesome. I have curly hair too but almost always straighten it. I’ve done the dreaded Brazilian! And Keratin. And…

    Anyways, I actually wore it curly (in public) today and yesterday so this post couldn’t have come at a better time.

    • Beth - Realist Mom October 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

      Thank you! I’m terrified to do anything too serious to my hair – better the devil you know, right??

  3. Utica315 October 13, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    I actually LOVE your hair. It was the first thing I noticed about you. So, wear it proud.

    • Beth - Realist Mom October 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      (Blushing) Gee, thanks!

      • Michelle October 22, 2011 at 11:50 am #

        I love your hair!! I wouldn’t change a thing!!

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