…having your hair braided:
1. It takes an unbearably long time. It took two women over four-and-a-half hours to do my hair, and I needed them to keep stopping so I could stretch my legs and have smoke breaks. I at least had the foresight to take my crochet with me, but I forgot to take food. My blood sugar was dangerously low by the time they released me.
2. It hurts. Not like labour pains, granted, but the continuous pinpricks of pain as your hair gets pulled really tightly into 3 million skinny plaits will bring tears to your eyes. The last thing you want is that the [braided] ladies doing your hair will think you are a feeble, pathetic whitey, so you blink the tears away and smile staunchly.
3. If you’re white, people will think you’re wearing a wig or a hat. On the evening of the day I had the braids done, I scooped it all up and wound a scarf around it, and went to visit a friend in hospital. Ooh Jill, she said, I love your hat, but it looks like it might be very heavy? It’s not a hat, Doreen, I said, it’s my hair. But you’re right, it is heavy.
4. It’s noisy. The fibre that gets braided into your own hair is some sort of horrible acrylic stuff, and the braids all rustle together when you move. Which is pretty much all the time. Which means that your hair is loud. Loud hair is not a good thing, especially if you have to think about things sometimes.
5. It’s long. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be!– but it’s longer than you imagine and so you forget about it, until you’re rushing to get somewhere and you slam the ends in the car door. Your tender white scalp will hurt all over again when you do that.
6. People will make jokes. I’ve heard a lot of Whoopi Goldberg quips in the last three days. I’m a huge fan of hers, so it is no insult when I say that the braided look suits her far more than it does me.
7. Dead braids are very sad. Even when you want them out (because they are too heavy/noisy/dangerous/in the way) and are happy to have your own hair on top again, as it were, the dead dreads seem like a sad waste.
The thought of recycling them into something useful crossed my mind, but I chose to let it cross unhindered. I think I’ve had enough experimenting for this month.
Back soon x