We’ve all been there, it’s late at night and all you want to do is make a beeline to your bed. But before you can begin the eight-hour cuddle session with your sheets, there’s one thing nearly every black woman must do: Remove her makeup? No. Brush her teeth? We’ll worry about that in the morning. Hygiene can wait but frizzy edges and a dried-out do cannot. Before we lay our heads to rest, we dig into our drawers, medicine cabinets, mattress crevices or wherever that secret spot may be to retrieve perhaps the No. 1 black girl beauty item, the satin scarf.
Like a favorite pair of jeans, every black girl has her go-to scarf. We know the types: the hand-me-down from grandma, the knock-off designer brand from the local hair store, the bonnet for the natural sistahs, and the mini-me, 1 foot by 1 foot piece of fabric that barely covers your head, only ties in the front and will most likely be laying next to you in morning. And then there’s old-faithful, tattered and torn but strong and mighty, locking in just the right amount of grease and oil sheen from the last wear.
Yes the satin scarf, or what I affectionately refer to as the “urban turban,” is perhaps the greatest love and the biggest annoyance of my life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my hair and all of its personalities, but whether relaxed, natural, chopped, twisted, or dreaded, maintaining an A-plus coif can sometimes be a hassle and dare I say, an inconvenience. No matter if I’m at the gym, airport or a “late night early morning,” the issue of when and where to throw on my scarf always seems to arise more often than I’d like.
But let me explain.
I travel a lot for my job and often face the issue of whether or not to brave a dry, cloth seat cushion for the next five hours or whip out my satin savior and power through the airport as Aunt Jemima 2.0. And then there’s the gym. We’ve all seen the sistah sprinting on the treadmill with a scarf on her head (ladies why we do this I do not understand. I tried it and after an hour in the gym I unwrapped my hair only to find it a matted, tangled and damp mess).
As much as I love my scarf, and Lord knows I do, there’s only so many times I can explain black hair care 101 to a white college roommate, or explain to a beau, part-time lover or whoever Mr. Right Now may be, why my scarf and I are a two-for-one deal that will not be sold separately (as a natural newbie I must say it’s even worse when you have to breakout the grandma bonnet). But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s not even talk about road trips, bathtubs, convertible rides, and the list goes on.
But I digress.
If it seems like my scarf issues are based solely on other people’s perceptions then you’re probably right. I’ll be the first to admit that deep down I have an inner fear that by sporting my urban wrap I run the risk of being “that girl.” You know, the woman out and about at 2 p.m. running her weekend errands with a green and gold scarf on her head just daring you to say something to her. And because there’s the unspoken black woman’s law, which plainly states that no sistah shall ever insult another sistah’s wrap, at least not in public, we don’t. We stare, we sigh, we shake our heads and as much as we may not want to admit it, on some level we relate. Maybe she’s in the middle of getting a new weave, maybe she has a big date later that night and her hair needs a few more hours of satin slumber, or maybe it’s just that kind of day where the motto is “I don’t give a…”
But don’t let the rant fool you. Like I said, I love my hair and wouldn’t trade one coarse follicle for the world. However I do believe that every now and then it’s healthy and okay for us as black women to take a moment and collectively lament about the daily nuisances that come with being a colored girl — and today this is mine.
Ladies, is my rant in vain or can you relate? Speak on it!