Thirty One Things I Know For Sure Thanks To My Curly Hair

Dreaming of selfies with even bigger hair

Hi, I’m hideously kinky. Been this way all my life. While others gloss, I crimp. Their locks move like liquid sunshine, mine stays put like cold porridge. They’re straight, I’m screwed. But I’m finally ok with my hair after four decades and a bit.

When one is of mixed heritage, the family usually waits with bated breath to see the hair of the sprog. I was born with lots of it. Curly. One up from kroes. Throughout my childhood my mother rolled it, swirled it and blow-dried it, but much like its owner, it was stubborn. So here are 31 things I know for sure thanks to my curly hair that will hopefully save you some time:

  1. Do not cut a fringe or The Brothers will call it ‘verandah’
  2. Do not cut it too short or it will look kak for a VERY long time until it grows back (i.e. from age 15 to 16)
  3. When going to a hairdresser, expect to waste at least three hours while they pretend to know what they’re doing
  4. Life becomes more bearable after you embrace your mop
  5. It’s low maintenance. The less I wash it, the better it looks
  6. It’s eco-friendly! I save on water, shampoo, conditioner, electricity and getting ready (see #5)
  7. I can cut my own hair when it starts looking too Dilbert’s Alice and people say it looks lovely, even though I know it’s skew
  8. It’s rather magical – long when wet and short when dry
  9. It needs an awesome anti-frizz product that keeps the curls glossy and soft (then they’ll take it off the market and you’ll cry  – thanks for buggerall Studioline Anti-frizz!)
  10. The Mother doesn’t like it au naturel, neither do The Brothers
  11. On Bad Hair Days I can bring out assorted hats, scarves, etc and people think I’m quirky, not suffering from a dreaded disease
  12. The man who said he loved my hair was The One
  13. The grey is mostly hidden by the curls and I don’t need to dye every four weeks. Economical! (see #6)
  14. If I want more body, one short head massage and BOOM! Instant Afro
  15. If I feel like starting a conversation without speaking all I need is Sade hair or a wig
  16. Life’s too short to moan about hair and to judge people based on hair type
  17. It’s more cute than sexy but that leaves me free to surprise people
  18. It saves me having to buy earmuffs
  19. The pain it takes to make it straight (roll and swirl, my neighbour coming over to flatiron me, etc) is not worth the effort of avoiding boiling kettles, fog, rain, night air, the ocean, bathing my child, the misters that keep the fruit moist at Foodlovers, that freaky thing in the toilets that spray automatically, and any minor condensation in the air that might make it mince
  20. When my baby girl started nibbling on my curls and falling asleep whilst gently twirling my locks, I finally realised how dumb I’d been not to love my God-given hair from the start (see #4)
  21. I need a shower cap whenever I bath or shower
  22. I need an extra 15 minutes in the shower after gym just to comb out my knots while everybody’s already back at work
  23. The curls vary from corkscrew to Afro to Victorian frizz and change each time I wash my hair
  24. It’s original, unlike The Aniston. This is the last word on bespoke – my DIY hairstyle forms weird shapes that no-one else can or will replicate
  25. It makes for awesomely freaky typography and ‘interesting’ social media profile pics
  26. I always know when it’s my hair lying around the house, not someone else’s
  27. I always think there’s a spider crawling on my head even though I know it’s just a curl randomly unravelling (or my work colleague doing ‘jazz hands’ on my hair in the kitchen because he knows it gives me the heebie-jeebies. Hello Nico!)
  28. A fly or a bee buzzing around in my hair can cause a psychotic episode
  29. I privately rejoiced being called Jennifer Beals when Flashdance came out, whilst publicly refuting the compliment because she was/is WAAAY hotter than me
  30. The ‘Grecian’ hairstyle on the night of my matric dance was booby-trapped by my own hair and morphed into a mullet without my knowledge
  31. As much as I love my hair, I was secretly relieved when my daughter took after her father follically with soft waves. Ain’ nobody got time for all that frizzy hair angst.

That said, go forth, ditch the ghd, and live nappily ever after…

Glossary of terms:

  1. kroes (rhymes with ‘wuss’) – Afrikaans for ‘kinky’ re: hair, especially around the forehead and nape of neck
  2. swirl – to wind hair around the head clockwise, then anti-clockwise and hold it in place with a cut-off stocking (pantihose) or tight scarf to make it less curly
  3. fringe – bangs
  4. kak (rhymes with ‘duck’) – Afrikaans for ‘shit’
  5. Studioline Anti-frizz – L’Oreal’s awesome hair product from the ’90s, sadly discontinued (selfish jerks)
  6. roll – set in curlers
  7. Foodlovers – South Africa’s fresh produce/grocery market
  8. mince – frizz
  9. matric (matriculation) – final year of high school in South Africa

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