Thursday, February 25, 2010

Encounters/Women with Curly Hair

The rain in my corner of New England has not stopped for days. Roads are flooding, the ground is soggy and everything is shrouded in a monochromatic nothingness. It is the sort of weather that drives women with naturally curly hair to desperate measures and binds us in a sisterhood that transcends rank.

This evening, my organization held a symposium and dinner at which the chair of our board was to give the welcoming message. I'd written her speech weeks ago and when she arrived for the event I met her at the podium to review the details. Before we jumped into the speech however, she had something far more important to discuss with me.

"How's your hair holding up in this weather?" she asked. "Let me tell you about this new treatment I tried last week..."

This wasn't the first time we've shared war stories about our love/hate relationship with our curls, and she isn't the only woman with whom I've formed an instantaneous connection simply because of what's growing on our heads. Like Frieda in the Peanuts comic strip, we feel a certain "otherness," and it's such a relief to find someone who understands on the most intimate level what we go through with our hair.

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