Going Back To Straight Hair?

I know it's a surprise, but, it's almost summer so I figured it was time to change things up.

I haven't had straight hair in two years so at first I was like, wow, who is THAT? And of course the color is totally different, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Yeah, I just needed a change. It's not that I wasn't loving my natural hair and all that, because it was great, but, I figured, why not? It's just hair, right?

So, what do you think, dear reader? Should I keep this look or not?

Yes? No? Maybe?

I hope you said no because SIKE, if you think that I would actually do this to myself permanently, clearly, you're a 1st time reader here.

This is actually Beyonce's hair, courtesy of the Hollywood Virtual Makeover feature over at the InStyle Magazine web site. All I had to do is upload a picture of myself, and with a few clicks, I got new hair and makeup.

As far as picking the hair, I quickly skipped over the option of Kate Gosselin (oh heck no!) to see what styles they had featuring curly hair and/or black women. The look above is considered curly.

Note to InStyle: I don't care if you're black, white, yellow, Puerto Rican or Hatian, that is NOT curly. That hair is wavy.

As far as black women, I had the choice of several Beyonce hairdos, Alicia Keys, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kerry Washington, Rihanna (her short hair looked TERRIBLE on me) and Taraji Henson, so, not too many.

It was disappointing that they didn't have any natural hairstyles to try on, but I can't say I was surprised. Hollywood is totally about piling ten million pounds of weave on your head to the point that you look like you're trying to get a starring role as Mufasa's mane in the Lion King.

After I finished doctoring myself up, I decided to do a little experiment on my sons. They were one of my main inspirations for going natural because I was sick of them gushing over the Beyonce billboards that at the time were all over Hollywood.

Back then my boys would point at the billboards, "Ooh, Mommy, you should get your hair like that. It's pretty!"

Since I didn't want them thinking that the only hair that was beautiful was blondish, straight hair and I couldn't teach them that if I was still buying into straight hair myself, chemical hair relaxers had to go.

Now it's been almost two years since I've straightened my hair and I really wanted to see if their attitudes have changed. Would they still think a blond weave is the way to go?

I called my boys over, showed them the picture of my newly Beyoncified self, and said, "Hey guys, check out Mommy!"

They were both really quiet for a second and then my eldest very politely said, "You look pretty, Mommy." This was no surprise because he always tells me I'm pretty. I could vomit all over myself and Mommy's Sweetheart would say, "You look pretty, but maybe you should lie down till you feel better."

However, my youngest was holding his nose and wrinkling up his face. "That hair STINKS!" he shouted.

Ah, sweet honesty!

My eldest promptly jabbed him in the arm and angrily whispered, "Don't hurt her feelings!" Then he turned back to me and said, "But your normal, real hair is really pretty too. You could go back to that if you want to. I like that."

That is my boy's way of saying, "Ditch that ugly blond weave and rock the natural."

Mr. Honest Little Brother chimed in, "Cuz that hair is ugly. It stinks!"

I wanted to cry because my sons have changed what they consider to be beautiful. It was funny, and a little disturbing, to alter my appearance so drastically, but it was well worth it. Now I know that instead of admiring artificiality and thinking a European standard of beauty is the way to go, my sons now prefer natural hair on a black woman.

Or at least they prefer natural hair on their mommy, and, for now, that is good enough for me.

Comments

nick said…
No no no, don't ever go back to the artificial celeb look. Your hair is just great the way it is! Glad your boys now seem to agree.

Artificial 'beauty' is still valued far too highly when it comes to personal appearance. Why does everything have to be amended, surgically enhanced and generally tampered with?
Sharifa said…
I looked at that pic and marveled at the effect of that henna you were mixing up the other night... And then I read your post. Awesome that your boys now appreciate natural hair.
1969 said…
Ah....three cheers for honest kids. Leave your hair alone...no blond weaves. Wearing someone else's hair is NOT the hotness :)

And kids rock for their honesty. One day I was leaving the house and I asked Tali 1 how I looked...He said..."Hmmm...maybe you should try combing your hair a little bit." LMAO!
I wondered what was up with you when I saw the pic...glad to realize that it was an experiment! I have straight hair and I hate most of Beyonce's wigs/weaves! To me they cause unrealistic expectations about what my hair should look like with the "caucasian" people I work with especially on rainy days!

I am glad though that your sons love their Mama just as she is!
Kathy Rogers said…
Holy crap, that's some big hair. I particularly like the way it stands straight up from the roots for a good three inches. There isn't enough hair product on EARTH to make my hair do that.

Your kids crack me up -- so sweet & funny.
pooneh said…
I am SOOO happy to read this! Mostly because when I saw the photo I was...well...shocked.

It's amazing what our kids learn from us about how to be and what to do based not on what we say, but what we do....hmmm....better get back to mine....;)
akinwale said…
I'm so heartened to read that what you're doing in your home seems to have influenced your sons more than external images. I don't even like bringing my 2.5 year old son to the check out line at the store because I don't want him internalizing the standard of beauty portrayed on the magazines. Perhaps growing up with a natural mom will have a similar impact on my son that it's had on yours.

Are you sure you don't wanna try the Kate Gosselin?
Daniel said…
Los Angelista,
I must admit, at first I thought you HAD done that, and I was thinking “She off the medication or something? That’s not HER at all!” I thought something had gone horribly wrong within your life, lol.
Whew! It’s only the power of Photoshop, lol. While you do have a certain beauty looking like that, it’s just not you. And WAY too artificial. Could you imagine spending all the time each and every morning to look like that? Reminded me of the kinda fakeness of those once popular Glamour photo’s people would do, lol.
Now, you DIDN’T mention showing that worked-over photo to Hubby. Which one would he pick?

More importantly: The power of parental example. That is a power more influential than anything you could say. How a parent conducts themselves is so key to their kid’s development. I know it has so often guided my decisions, considering what my kids would learn from my actions, restraining poor choices and helping force appropriate behavior for me. For them. Sometimes, since they are teenagers, I wonder if any of it matters, and then something will happen that reinforces that it does sink in; and you’re so glad you ‘held the line’ with yourself. Sincere congrats to YOU, Los Angelista, for fighting in their behalf, to battle off stupid and destructive ideas.

Now, about ‘nice guys’ finishing first. LOL. If/when that happens with my kids, when they get old enough to understand what it took their Dad to do what he did, it’s still a very different type of relationship and satisfaction with your children than with a marriage partner. One doesn’t replace the other, they are two different items. I’ll still lose out to guy’s 5” taller, a whole lot better looking and non-white, even if all they want is a booty-call thing. Just the way it is.
Liz Dwyer said…
Nick,
I might go for this look on Halloween, but that's about it!

I keep wondering when there's going to be a real backlash against the artificial look, but I think it's intimately tied to the materialism in our society and our belief that we have to "sell" ourselves. When we dial down the materialism, I think folks will start to look more normal.

Sharifa,
LOL, no, the henna's full effects have been unobservable because the sun has been hiding most of the time over the past few days. But my hair is, overall, much deeper in color and more red. I love it! :) And seriously, thank goodness the kids' mindset has changed. It gives me hope!

1969,
Haha! I love kids and their honesty. Sometimes I wish my youngest had the tact his older brother does, but then again, I can always count on him for the brutal truth.

Carolyn,
I'm glad they do, too. You know, I went to the site because I wanted to test out different red lipstick colors to see which one would supposedly look the best on me, and then I saw that you could literally morph yourself into another person. New makeup, hair, fake eyelashes. Crazy what technology can do.

That's so true about expectations about what your hair should look like on a rainy day, how straight it should be at all times. Hmm... Indian women need to go on strike and put this weave thing out of business.

Kathy,
Very big hair! I stretched it up a little to cover my own hair, because I had mine piled on my head in a big afro-ponytail-puff, but it's still big. I feel like that much hair weave would get in the way of everyday life. I wonder how much it weighs?

Pooneh,
I think my kids were totally shocked, too! They do learn so much from our actions -- "Let deeds, not words, be your adorning."
Liz Dwyer said…
Akinwale,
Thankfully, most of the time that I'm in the checkout line at the store, I'm putting those kids to work helping me unload the cart -- or they're salivating over the chocolate bars on display and thinking I'm somehow going to cave in and give them one. Nope!

I do think growing up with a natural mom will have a positive effect on our kids. It's not the only thing that matters as far as parenting, clearly, but I think it's important for boys to learn that there are options beyond the current beauty standard.

Daniel,
LOL! Off my medication!!! Hahaha! That is funny!

No, only computer magic, and I agree, it's not me at all. I can NOT imagine having to spend that much time doctoring myself up everyday like that. I'm sure it would take at least an hour and I have better things to do.

I'm sure that even though your kids are teens, your example matters even more. And I have a feeling you've done a great job getting them on the right track as much as you can, so they're in a position to have the tools they need to make good choices. But, as always, they do have free will and ultimately will, as they get older, have to bring THEMSELVES to account for their actions. That's the part that scares me, that what if despite trying so hard as a parent, my boys turn out to be jerks?

As far as the nice guys, do you really want a lady who's only looking for a booty call and can only see the external? No, of course you don't! Unfortunately, our society is so shallow that it takes a lot for folks to see beyond the veils of appearance, $$, cars and image. I'd rather be alone than with someone who just wants fakeness. I think there's some nice lady out there for you. Maybe not on this coast with our fake-indoctrinated ways, but somewhere!
VonRipper said…
LosAngelista,

This will be the first time I've ever commented on your blog, though I'll admit that I've read it for a rather long while. Always have enjoyed it, even when I sometimes disagree with you, simply because you are a lovely writer and can always support your opinions quite skillfully.

Now. When I saw that picture of you, I was...well, mildly horrified. It's quite a relief to know that you haven't actually gone out and done such atrocities to your hair, because frankly, your natural hair is faaaaaar prettier than your straighter hair. Your straighter hair just...looked dead. That's the best way I can describe it. And I agree, the hair you have in that photo-shopped picture is absolutely not curly, by any definition of the word!

Also, I find it quite impressive that you managed to change your sons' opinions so dramatically. That's...quite wonderful indeed. ^_^
Nelia said…
What a great example of how easily we can (consciously) influence our children's outlook and value of self. Thanks for sharing. This is an important post.
Ok I was waiting for you to say April Fools Liz! That color is not flattering and isn't Bouncy supposed to be "light-skinned" SMH?

Anyway I live vicariously through your child-rearing techniques that you can teach your kids to be anti-racist and anti-sexist AND polite to mommy!!!

Sweet!
Unknown said…
After 30+ years of wearing my hair natural, I straightened mine back in December. Like you, I just wanted a change. I don't regret it, but I don't hate my natural hair, either. It's my hair, and I'm grateful to have some on my head, especially with pattern baldness running through male and female members of my family.

I'm with you on the weave deal. Enough is enough on the UNBE-WEAVEABLE hair! And your sons are just so cool!
Katy said…
You've got to love the honesty of the young. I agree though...keep it curly. You've got some awesome curls and you shouldn't be afraid to rock them.

I had a stylist friend suggest that I should "get my hair done" (straightened) on days where I want to look "professional" - what, I can't look professional with my curly hair? Whatever.
Daniel said…
Los Angelista,
I just couldn’t help the follow-up here. Hope you don’t mind.
When you mentioned children and free will, I couldn’t but help think of a long conversation, while making dinner with my daughter recently, about just that. About her need to accept responsibility in life for this gift. To use it wisely. Finished up talking about applicable limits on our free will and its proper usage. She finally commented ‘I’m not so sure it’s a good thing for us always’. LOL! That’s my girl! Recognizing how often (and how much!) we humans have abused this gift, to our own harm.
I too fear what you fear; you do your absolute best and they go and waste it all on purposefully bad decisions. But, at least our consciences will know we did our best. I couldn’t live with it otherwise.
Now, about the booty-call thingy. Yes, she wouldn’t be what I was looking for, if that’s what she really wanted. But that’s not what I meant. Los Angelista, I was instead referring to the very unhealthy tendency of many A/A women to totally “settle”, and they kinda know they are. It’s not that that is what they want, it’s what they end up accepting. As long as he’s got enough melanin, that trumps anything I could offer. I’m not being resentful or bitter, or anything negative here (I try very hard to approach life positively, to use it in a worthwhile manner). It is true though, and therefore a reality I have to account for. That’s what I meant.

PS. Is hamster still alive? Or did he succumb to the “Los Angelista’s Hamster House of Horror” and expire?
Lisa Blah Blah said…
Am I the only one who was freaked out by the makeup? I have never seen you with that much makeup on!

What a great illustration of the power of leading by example. So much of what we do every day is shaping our kids' developing brains and sense of self. It is not always easy. I'm so pleased that your boys see the beauty of you, as you are.

I regularly struggle with these perceptions of beauty, esp. with Viva and her hair. I took her to a black salon just to get her hair trimmed and they told me they would have to blow it straight to CUT it. WHAT? You can't cut curly hair?! Viva hated the entire experience and never wanted her hair cut again. This is after having had several pleasant experiences with my old stylist (who moved away). Okay, I just hijacked your comments, LOL! Sorry. You know you just touched a nerve. But it's important to me that my kids know their hair is beautiful as it is, naturally, and they don't have to do anything to it to make it acceptable. That's all.
sippinwineman said…
Upon first seeing the pic, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

Further reading. .. oh. Okay.

Your oldest, though seems awfully sensitive to your feelings. It's not a bad thing.


It reminds me of my older brother and myself.
Jameil said…
i was like "dear God, let liz not have lost her mind and that be photoshopped." GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS!! giiiiiirl! i'm so happy for you! how fab! you rock!!
Lili said…
I agree with everyone, LA - your natural hair rocks so much more.
Ingrid said…
liz, at first. i just stared at the photo. i wanted to take it in. not to judge your choice or any level of beauty in the detail (hair) or the composition (basically...you). but i have to admit, as someone who is also sporting a natural little fro but styles (wardrobe) for all types of people, my heart was nervous. i had to realize that those palpatations were my values and expectations; there's a occasion and place for all of the synthetic "add-ons". so when i read down a few paragraphs, i was relieved then i felt guilty.

what if that really was your choice? you're completely within your right to chemically straighten your hair, flat iron your hair or even add store bought hair to your hair.

however, as a fashion stylist and a woman of color, i think the lack of authentic beauty in popular culture is what makes us all cringe when we see the prefabricated and aftermarket upgrades on the beyonce's of the world. internally, when we see those types of women and men, i think we're all thinking, "where are you?" and "who are you under all that stuff?"

liz, you speak, think, act and write authentically. that makes you authentically beautiful. now if every woman knew that about themselves, we'd really be doing something. it would definitely make my job easier.

love from chicago.
Liz Dwyer said…
Melanie,
So glad you decided to say hi and comment, and it's so nice of you to say I'm a lovely writer! You are SO right my former straight hair looking rather lifeless. It was not the best look for me. And my sons have really been a part of my change to natural hair. I talk to them about it alot, and especially when I first stopped straightening and they kept telling me they missed my straight hair. So I think it was just a matter of changing their mindset.

Nelia,
Thankfully, children are so flexible and malleable, not as stubborn as adults in their POV or thinking. It's why educating children is such a noble and worthy deed!

Faith,
Horrible hair color! I don't know how B deals with all the weaves. I sorta feel sorry for her.

Angela,
I'm TOTALLY kidding about wanting a hair change. Or, rather, the only change I was interested in was brought about by a box of henna! I worry about the baldness thing, too. If it happens to me... ooh, I hope it doesn't!

Katy,
No worries, it's staying curly! It's very kind of you to say my curls are awesome! And that professional = straight hair attitude has got to go. Not cool.

Daniel,
Snips is STILL alive! Whoo hoo!
As for the ladies, I hear you and that has GOT to be frustrating. Some women do have the tendency to settle, and they do so because of insecurity/low self esteem. If we feel like we're the least beautiful/desirable, we'll go for the jerk with a greasy ponytail and a bunch of earrings. It's a shame.

Lisa,
No, you're not the only one. I was freaked out by it, too!

I'm so sorry that happened to Viva. And mad, too! These stylists need to get it together and learn how to work with natural hair. Ugh, that your old stylist moved away.

Sippinwineman,
LOL! I enjoyed joking about it. I'm not at all serious about even thinking I wanted to change my hair!

My eldest is VERY sensitive. He's such an old soul!

Jameil,
Did you think it might be a little post-marathon midnight crisis, or maybe I didn't get my chai fix? LOL! :)

Lili,
You are so very kind to say so! :) Thank you!
Liz Dwyer said…
Ingrid,
Oh my goodness, that's SO it! Who are these folks underneath all that and do they like who they really are without it all?
wow. that is a LOT of hair.

It's incredible to me to see how your son's POV has changed.

I agree with what Ingrid said. Having hair like that is expensive and time consuming. Is it really worth it?
Leili said…
This disturbed me greatly. I am so glad you are as you are. Stunning, stunning, stunning. Some of my favorite hair in all the world (celeb or no!).
Glad you included the photo so I will recognize you when I meet you in a few days, God willing! I never realized Beyonce' had a blog.
Shiona said…
Oh my gosh! I was totally taken aback there for a second. Whew is me breathing a major sigh of relief. And it's awesome that your boys standards of beuaty have changed.
Anonymous said…
hi. just want to let you know i got home alive today with absolutely no wrong turns, which makes it a first since moving to this city. thanks for the directions!

and, um, you saw my hair. i think it goes without saying i'd give my eyeteeth for yours. do not straighten it!
You had me scared for a minute, but luckily I'm a fast reader so I was able to exhale when I got to the April Fool Beyonce hair on a website part of the story.

I'm glad you were just playing with our heads (um) and I agree with Toussaint. His mom looks so much better rocking her natural beauty. Why mess with perfection?
Liz Dwyer said…
NYC/CR,
I wonder how Bey holds her head up. Doesn't the fake hair weigh a lot?

Leili,
Hugs and thank you for saying so! I think having to wear my hair like that would be such a punishment. It would be like hell.

Phillipe,
Hahaha! I'll make sure to wear my stilletos and my Dereon jeans, too!

Shiona,
It really IS awesome. Those kids make everything so much better, including me.

Wheels,
So very glad you got home alright! Oh gosh my hair was a hot mess today which is why I just put it all up on top of my head. I just couldn't deal with it today, but thank you for saying you'd give your eyeteeth for it! :)

Heart,
SO sweet of you to say it's perfection! :) I'm glad you're a fast reader, too! I've gotten a couple of messages from people who actually thought I really did change my hair... they didn't get that I was just playing around with that InStyle program and, well, making myself look totally different just for the sheer insanity of it!
Gyamfua said…
I've missed ur blog posts...I'm glad to see that one...it mirrors my own delimma and I have girls!
allison sara said…
So sweet that your sons get it. Thanks for sharing that story!
Unknown said…
I saw the picture and thought, OMG what did you do to your beautiful hair! but was relieved to read on that it was one of those makeover sites. I love your boys reactions :)
Jennifer said…
I found a link to your blog on everyday goddess. And I completely LOVE your natural hair.

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