In the previous article I looked at how women define good hair and why they go to great lengths to have good hair. In the documentary Good Hair, Chris Rock interviewed some men and asked them what they thought about our efforts as women to have good hair.
A weave in the United States will cost you anything from US$60 to US$1 000 for the Indian human hair brand. The more superior the brand, the more you can expect to fork out. Here in Zimbabwe our weaves generally cost between US$10 (depending on the brand and length) and US$200 for a Brazilian weave.
The African-American actresses and television personalities believe that good hair is a priority for them considering they are expected to look like a million dollars. They are more content with themselves when they look impeccable. In their view, spending US$1 000 on a weave is an investment in one’s appearance and market value.
In the documentary, there is a particular teacher who paid for her hair in installments as she could not afford to make a one- off payment. These weaves can last for as long as one to three months, depending on how well you take care of them. Some may even be re-used.
I interviewed a number of Zimbabwean women to see how much they deemed reasonable to spend on their hair. Their responses were very interesting. The maximum most were comfortable spending on their hair was US$50. Some were content with spending US$100 as a maximum with one saying she could go as far as US$300 and no further.
For most it was a function of their current disposable income and a thousand dollar weave would not be the best use for their current income. However, for some, whether they earned US$20 000, they would not increase their hair budget while others would gladly purchase the pricier weave as it would not dent their pockets as much.
Another interesting take was that they did not mind if someone else paid for the weave, for instance a boyfriend or husband, as long as they did not have to part with such a large amount of their cash.
Rock asked some men if they have ever not approached a woman because they saw her hairdo and thought she was too expensive to maintain. A good number of them said they had steered clear of the woman seeing as she looked like she was high maintenance.
I asked a few Zimbabwean men about their views on weaves. Half did not mind weaves, as long as their women felt and looked good in them. They are not fussed by their woman’s hairstyle choice as long as she is happy. Of course they have their preferences, but they would not have a hernia because she had a weave. Then there are those who out- rightly do not like weaves, especially the synthetic ones because the shine is too artificial. These men prefer women with their own hair.
I then asked if they would spend US$1 000 on their lady’s hair and once again the responses were fascinating. One was a vehement no. He asked if I knew how many shoes he could buy himself with that money. He then said if he had a higher income he would not mind spending that kind of money on his lady.
Another said he would not mind spending on his woman’s hair as long as he could afford it and she would look good.
At the end of the day our hair is our crowning glory and no one should judge any woman for what she decides to do with her hair, whether she straightens it, adds extensions to it, locks it or keeps it natural. Variety is the spice of life.
Women missing out on fun to maintain hairdos
Another dimension that Rock touched on in his documentary was how African-American women lost all sense of adventure once they had had their hair done. Swimming goes out the window as does sitting in the sauna or having your man run his fingers through your hair.
The men that were interviewed by Rock said they knew that a black woman’s hair was out of bounds. One never thinks of even attempting to touch it. A man I spoke to said he had had relationships with both black and white women. With the white women he could run his fingers through her hair whenever he willed and when he did, he did not end up with a greasy palm.
What can we do? Black peoples hair needs moisture and oil added to it while Caucasian hair needs oils removed from it. Most Caucasian women can swim without worrying about the change in the texture of their hair. Of course there are those who steer clear of the water as it may cause their hair to frizz uncontrollably.
African hair shrinks and may become unruly once wet so we stay away from the water to avoid the hustle of taming the hair again.
Then there is the bedtime maintenance which involves tying a variety of accessories in one’s head in order to maintain the hairdo. If you do not tie your hair, your hairstyle will not go the distance but if you do it may be a turn off to your man. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
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