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Curly or Straight? The Great Debate

curly or straight hair

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good
She was very good indeed
But when she was bad
She was horrid!
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It was not until I reached my late 20s that I was able to accept and like (just a little) my natural, God-given curls. From as early as I can remember I was complemented on my ringlets and people would say they wished they had my hair. I’d hear about the hundreds of dollars they would spend on perms (I grew up in the 80s) and about how lucky I was to have naturally curly hair. My experience was much different though.

Growing up I remember crying whenever my mom combed my hair – she wasn’t intentionally hurting me – but curly hair gets very knotty and it wasn’t easy (for either of us) to de-tangle the mass of hair on my head. I grew up hating my hair and wishing I had straight hair. It wasn’t until I took an overnight High School field trip where my friends blew out my then waist-length hair that I realized that I could have straight hair.

The blow out was short lived though. At heart, I am a very low-maintenance girl. I was way too accustomed to washing my hair and letting it dry naturally. Who had time to blow their hair out a few times a week? Not me. There were classes to go to and friends to hang out with.

As I got older I started to appreciate the hair I was born with – I even liked it a little. Funnily enough, the more I accepted it, the more I started blowing out my hair. Whenever I went to the salon for a hair cut my stylist would blow out my hair to check the cut. Blowing out my hair was liberating – in some ways it was a disguise. Many times people I knew didn’t even recognize me! Men checked me out as I walked along the city streets (that never happened with curly hair) and I received compliments galore. My favorite part about straight hair though? I could finally run my fingers through my hair – not possible with curls.

Then a funny thing happened. I started feeling like I was betraying myself by blowing out my hair. I felt like my curls were a part of my personality and by straightening them, I was losing a bit of myself. A jokester (male) friend of mine even went so far as to call me an Uncle Tom – not nice at all! All the guilt led me to stop straightening my hair so often and I went a long time without a blowout.

About two months ago I started blowing my hair out again. You see, I’m badly in need of a haircut but I don’t know what to do with my hair. My hair is crazy to start with but add unruliness due to needing a haircut and it’s out of control. So, to get me through the time to figure out what I want to do with my hair I’ve been blowing it out every week. I’m starting to feel that I like it better straight but my family – and most importantly my husband – love my hair curly. So the debate rages on – curly or straight? Who knew that hair could delve so deeply down in to your psyche causing existential crisis?

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5 Responses to “Curly or Straight? The Great Debate”

  1. hiphopmuse says:

    As a fellow curly girl I’m often faced with this same exact dilemma. I prefer to wear my hair curly over straight, but sometimes I like to flatiron it for a sleek look. I just go with my mood – some days I feel like wearing a huge Chaka Khan curly fro, other days I want a sleek Cher blowout. The beauty is that we have options :)

  2. Sistargirl Sistargirl says:

    I vote curly! Maybe because I recently got a perm for some waves. The super straight hair wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

  3. Gabriella GDK says:

    Thanks ladies! Deep down, I know that what we’re born with always looks best. I’ll keep the straight option for when I get bored or something :)

  4. Jessica says:

    The beauty of curly hair is that you can have it both ways! Straight-haired girls can never get their hair to look like ours! We rule!

  5. Gabriella GDK says:

    Ha, Jessica, you’re right. We can get a blow out but fake curls always look fake :)


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