Early on Monday when I was preparing for work, I caught a snippet of what appeared to me a fierce debate over African women’s preference of artificial hair. On my screen I caught a glimpse of a blonde Lebo Mashile giving her thoughts about the topic. I must have misunderstood what she said because for the next day I worked myself up for what eventually turned out to be a provoking topic constructed in the most boring way imaginable.
Somewhere between the vox pops of celebrities giving their take on their style choices and Debra Patta doing her darnest to stare things up, I fell asleep. I had come in from work Tuesday evening, carefully hanged my pony-tail on a hook, took a shower and made myself comfortable while I prepared to tweet my thoughts about the show. But alas, that episode was such a disappointment and lacked some of that hard-core journalistic insightfulness to give it that lasting interest, I unwittingly dozed off. As usual Debra Patta and her addiction for controversy got my attention, but they failed to keep me interested.
In my life I have heard of and seen better fake hair stories to put 3rd Degree to shame. In fact I am one such myself.
One beautiful sunny morning in the mother city, I had woken up with a strong fancy to make myself the most beautiful woman of the day. Sure enough beauty is a fully loaded term and cannot be explained in one sentence and one person’s opinion is nothing but personal outlook of a dynamic word. I carefully chose my outfit, matched it with the right heels and found a handbag to go with it. After three hours of preparations and make up, off I went on my way to work, strutting my stuff careless along the street with self-assurance while pretending not to notice the glares, the whistles and the heads that turned my way. It somehow felt like I had accomplished my mission- I wanted the world to stop and take notice of me. With fake hair, I had manipulated the world into thinking I was a beauty queen.
A taxi stopped without me even lifting my hand to signal for it. When the door opened it was like the heavens were reminding me that my hair alone doesn’t make me. I hit my head against the taxi door while bending to climb in. The pony tail wig I had on came down like a house of matches. No longer my crowning glory, I indignantly picked it up from the floor and tried to put it back on. Other passengers were sensible enough to know that a bruised ego is no laughing matter. I humbly sat by the seat near the door, aware that the entire taxi was staring ahead and inevitably at me!
The taxi stopped a few metres from where it had picked me up for one of the passengers to disembark. I had to step out to make way for the woman who was also on her way to work. Again when I bended to get back to my sit, the roof moved my hairpiece to the floor. This time the taxi’s conductor picked it up and handed it back to me, like it was an accessory or a hat! The girl sitting next to me could no longer contain her laughter. I forgave her, I too would have probable laughed. When she took out her phone, I knew I was going straight to facebook or twitter! The atmosphere in the taxi had suddenly built up to some pressure as I felt started feeling heated in my face.
It’s usually a 10 minute drive to my where I get off. On this day the traffic lights closed and took forever to reopen. The ride to my work seemed to take half a day. I uttered to the conductor that I was getting off, my voice got stuck in my throat. Lucky for me a woman behind me caught my words and shouted at the drive who stopped for me. Thankfully my tears came in time when I could exhale, safe from the taxi and its passengers. Today my wig misery is my fake hair joke that I can relive to people like Debre Patta who I am sure know very little about being a black woman with hair issues!