What is it with me and hair? There’s been an ongoing battle with me and my crown from the first moment I realised I had it! The first time my mother attempted making my hair, I promptly deduced that it was no fun at all and screamed and struggled till she devised a way to keep me occupied why I endured the process. My mother was a genius, the mallam and his sweetshop her allies. For every corn row she plaited, I sucked furiously on a sweet. Chocolate’s always been my favorite but soon the balance was upset. My mother grew bolder, making more intricate hairstyles every time she touched my hair basking in the fact that I’d remain docile as long as there was a sweet in my mouth. I grew increasingly impatient as my hair took longer to finish till I discovered a beautiful set of God’s creation- teeth! From then on I became a sweet carnivore. Chewing and chewing away. My mother was baffled, unable to decide if she’d gotten slower at making hair or if the mallam was giving her lesser sweets for her money. Soon she discovered the truth! Her baby had discovered her teeth! Of course a whole lot of things changed after that, my mom stopped chewing groundnut and putting the paste in my mouth and I was allowed to eat chicken. Meat and pomo came years later. As I grew up, I realised that while girls around me were blessed with long nice hair, mine was an afro that frustrated the hairdressers as well as my mother. It broke combs and my mom named it forestry reserve because my grandad was the director of forestry in ibadan back in the days and she swore my hair was an exact replica of the reserve! Had lice in primary school and my mom gave me two options; cut the hair or have my hair doused with kerosene. I chose the latter, my hair was dipped in the highly flammable not to mention smelly stuff and then a hair net was put over it. ‘That’ll teach you not to wear your friend’s hats in sunday school!’ My mum said sternly. After that incidence, I contemplated cutting my hair but my dad would hear none of it. My mum said she’d let me retouch my hair in JSS1 and I eagerly waited. One day I passed by the salon and saw a grown woman crying as they retouched her hair. She wailed and begged to have it removed and the hairdressers kept saying ‘E neva cook!’ I was horrified, almost didn’t go on with it but it was that or keep my natchy hair and that was a no-no. I did some research and learnt venus was the bad guy that hurt like hell. My mama chose dark and lovely though the hairdresser took one look at my hair and said I had to use ‘super’ and I’ve been using super ever since. Sometimes the hairdresser gets it right. Sometimes she doesn’t. I still hate sitting to do my hair because I have a tender bottom and my bum pains me when I’ve been sitting for a long time. Braids have always been a once a year ordeal and I’ve resorted to innovative weave-ons. I never had the liver to be a rihanna, you know just take a bow or shut up and drive with an umbrella. Short hair always freaked me out. What if it didn’t fit me? I’ll never know… Now to the crux of the matter, why don’t weave-ons last on my head? I have a strict one month policy. Laugh at me but doing my hair more often than once a month is torture! I combat the smell with pears baby oil cos obi’m would freak out if the head against his big muscular chest reeks! But my weave-ons just don’t last. Whether it’s darling yaki or supreme or human hair, they expire after a month. My friends use human hair more than once but I can never recycle the stuff. Before you lecture me, I use the right combs, brushes, mousse, oil and hair nets. I think it’s just a genetic blip! I’m really frightened about the prospect of buying brazilian and seeing it expire after a month.
This is the story of a tough, resilient no-nonsense coarse textured african afro that refuses to be subdued by the weave-on that keeps him under and bound but still keeps fighting. How resilient are you?