Look AT Me, Dammit!

Last week I returned back to “my roots”. I temporarily hung up my wigs and hair pieces in favor of my natural tresses. Inside I feel the same. I know I am beautiful with or without my wigs but one thing for certain, not everyone was impressed by my natural hair. Every morning I commute via mass transit to my copywriting gig located in Northern New Jersey. I catch the NJ transit at Port Authority in Times Square. Day in and day out, I see the same familiar faces standing in a single filed line waiting for our chariot to arrive. I don’t know their names but I know their stops. I presume, in their minds, I too have become a constant in their daily commute. As a keen observer and a people watcher , as I always been, I’ve noticed that when I wear my wigs I get looks from a lot of the men- they can’t stop staring. Some sneak glances while others make it plain ol obvious that they like what they see.

Upon reintroducing my natural hair, I barely received my usual glances from my male traveling cohorts. One man in particularly, a regular gawker, has avoided looking at me at all cost. I even spotted him during my recent evening commute and still no glances. I felt like going up to him in a dramatic fashion (like something seen out of a movie) and turning his head violently and saying “Look at me dammit. I’m still the same person your eyes fell in love with. ”

I didn’t get a sex change but to my former admirers, I might as well have. In their eyes, I lost my femininity or the thing that made me look desirable. I’m actually not a bit bothered because I’m comfortable in my own skin and in my looks. And it’s not that I missed their glances, but as a writer my job is to be observant and to take in my environment. I just so happen to note that my natural tresses don’t garner the usual attention that my wigs do.

I’ve heard similar hair stories from other women about how negatively their natural hair have been received by their significant others and admirers. However, I know of a lot of women who have professed to also experiencing men who are just fascinated and enamored by their natural hair and the confidence that goes along with it. Personally, I’ve been natural for two years- many wigs, weaves, extension have come and went but underneath it all I remain natural. Is it naive for me to hope that one day what’s under my scalp will be more attractive to men than what’s on top of it? I keep echoing to myself words by Indie Arie,” I am not my hair” but I’m starting to think that to some I am.

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