Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hair Straightener--The Mall Kiosk Man Attacks!

Here I am walking through the mall when a little man approaches me and says,

"Honey, I love your hair. Do you ever straighten it?"

Not much, I say, thinking he has the most unoriginal pick-up line ever.

"Because it takes too long?" he asks. Now I see what he's up to.

Well, yes, and because straightening too much is unhealthy. And (gasp) I like my curls.

Then he grabs my arm and hustles me off to his little kiosk, where he shows me his "revolutionary" flat-iron-curling-iron-blow-dryer, made by the Italian company Amika. He says it actually makes the hair healthier. He asks if he can straighten a hunk of my hair. I tell him I don't have that much time. He says he can do my whole head in ten minutes. Yeah, right. He said that once I see the amazing work of the flat iron, I will fork over $200 for the thing and will want to straighten my "crazy" hair every day. There it is: the stereotype that curls = bad/crazy/unruly and straight = pretty/tame/professional.

I have to admit that straightening my hair can be fun. And unfortunately, at times I play to the straight = professional thing when I wear straight hair to an interview or first day of work or the first day of a class I'm teaching. But by Day 2 I'm back to curls. I definitely won't do it every day.

I turn to the little man, who is holding his little iron and looking hopefully at my hair.

No, thank you.


missinpiece said...

too funny: i have also been attacked by a similar mall kiosk mall trying to push various hair "smoothing" products on me... sigh.

I am Muzik said...

I am glad I am back to my blogging and visiting other blogs. LOL. Your blog just made me laugh because I know this all to well. First of all let me just say, when they have these informercials for hair straighteners they claim that "curly/unruly" hair can even be straightened. However, wen you look at the picture of the "curly/unruly" hair, it is just a lady whose hair was curled with a curling iron. I always laugh when I see that. Now when I go to the mall and they ask to straighten my hair I just laugh at them inside and say no thank you. It takes a really good flat iron, a person that nose ethnic hair, and the right products to keep our type of hair straight for at least a few hours. Notice I did not say all day. LOL. And as you said, that silly man thought he could do your hair in 10 minutes?! Gimme break! Be careful what you get into. LOL

Erin said...

He called your hair "crazy"? To your face? What a doofus. I love your hair.

Rueben Brock said...

Its funny (or sad) that you posted this because I was thinking of you last week along these lines. I was at a conference with a bunch of young psychologists. There was a girl there with us who, after a few days of getting to know the group, finally confessed that her light brown hair was actually quite curly in the mornings. She had been straightening it because she felt she needed to maintain a professional image among a group of this nature. Mind you it was a group of MINORITY psychologists who had been awarded fellowships for their dedication to minority studies. Yet, she still felt she'd be judged for her curls. She was bi-racial and still a bit torn about the message her hair sends.

As a guy who loves the curls, and all the rest of the "differences", I can scarcely understand the straightening thing. On the one hand, I get the whole allure of being like "them." Those messages are way too overt not to be heard and internalized. Still, its rather like the message that my dark skin is less attractive than lighter skin. Because I have no choice, I was forced to either seek out a different message or feel bad about me. I chose to listen to my grandma who says, "The darker the berry....."

Perhaps we need to get you guys to my gram. She'll fix you right up.

Liberty said...

What an interesting story. You would think the more educated and aware we become, the less we succumb to those messages of "what is beautiful." But you're right--it takes WORK. And sometimes you just want to feel attractive to others...I know I do...

Kudos to your gram. She sounds like an awesome lady!