I’m in total agreement with Beyonce: A little sweat ain’t never hurt nobody. Especially when it comes from getting “bodied” on the dance floor. Or getting in a good… ahem… “couple’s” workout. I’m even game with getting a little moist from playing a fun round of hopscotch with the girls and hooking up a tasty dinner on a hot, summer evening.
Incidental sweat is what I call it. You know—a few beads trickle here and there while you’re making it do what it do, and when it gets too hot and the moisture moves to the edge of getting out of hand, you stop whatever you’re doing and grab/run for/stand in front of something cold to cool off. Such action averts the ultimate black girl crisis: The hair sweat-out.
You know how we do: Be we relaxed or natural, we avoid any and everything that might lead to us having to spend a grip of money/an even bigger grip of time redoing the ‘do—which means there are a whole host of activities we black women might be more prone to skipping. Exercise. Water sports. Super hot showers. Singing in the rain. If it involves moisture, we’re thinking long and hard whether we really need to be involved.
Which is what I was trying to explain to my fellow Disney Cruise Mom Blogger friends as I trotted reluctantly into the saunas in the Disney Wonder’s The Vista Spa. Oh, don’t get me wrong: Hands down, The Vista Spa was one of my favorite places to be on the Disney Wonder—there were warm tiled stone lounge chairs, tranquil fountains, the sweet smells of ginger and lime, and private open-air massage villas equipped with Jacuzzis, hammocks, warm foot baths, invigorating showers, and champagne and strawberries for nibbling. Best of all? It’s a kid-free zone. In my book? That made The Vista THE place to be in Mickey’s floating house.
Um, except for the three-room series of saunas Katja of Skimbaco Lifestyle, Melanie of Don’t Try This At Home, Arianne of To Think Is To Create, and Maria of My Teen, The Alien practically dragged me into. Now, I tried to explain to my new bloggy friends that black girls don’t do steam. “My hair,” I exclaimed, patting my natural up do. I mean, it was in an afro anyway, but a sweated out afro? Not. Cute. But nooooo. “It’ll be great!” they insisted. “You’ll detox!” they exclaimed. “The best thing ever!” they swore.
And my dumb butt followed them in.
The first steam room, an aromatherapy sauna, was, I admit, nice; I wished I could bottle the scent and take it home with me—that’s how delicious it was. We stayed there for only a few minutes, then moved on to the next—this one hotter than the 4th of July and steamy enough for you to have to squint to see who you were talking to. Oh, the hair was toast in there; within seconds, every last strand on my head coiled into tight little fists next to my scalp, making it clear that I would p-a-y at least 90 minutes of pulling/stretching/combing/praying/ to get my coif into some kind of manageable, presentable, hairstyle that would go with the fancy dress I was wearing to the upscale Palo restaurant later that evening.
So now, I’m a wreck, right, because I don’t have 90 minutes for The Hair Fix. And I’m all “I told you I shouldn’t have come in here” to my bloggy friends, and they’re all like, “We. Don’t. Get. It.” And in the course of my explaining “It,” my new bloggy friends start asking me all kinds of questions I don’t see coming: What’s relaxed hair? Why were black women mad that Malia and Sasha Obama had their hair straight at the inauguration? Hair politics? What’s a head wrap? Do you wear it during sex? Three hours to twist your daughter’s hair? Really?
That conversation eventually morphed into our thoughts on Michelle Obama as First Lady, Sarah Palin as vice presidential candidate, conservatism vs. liberalism, Dems vs. Republicans, plastic surgery, body fat, hot guys… the list goes on.
And in the time we spent boiling, er, detoxifying, I realized that my hair mess was a teachable moment for my new friends, who not only learned A LOT about me, but black women in general—things that they’d always wondered but were too afraid to ask. For fear of offending. For fear of being scolded. Or thought dumb. Racist, even, for simply not knowing.
I know a few folks—sistahs—who would take offense to this. We are not, they might argue, black life tour guides, meant to be mined for info or to make white folk comfortable. I, however, am much more content to answer the questions—none are too dumb or silly in my book. Indeed, I believe those questions lead to answers, and those answers open doors, spark conversation, bring us closer together. Enlighten.
In my bad hair moment, I managed to find some fine new friends in the beautiful Vista Spa on the Disney Wonder—women I may have never come to know and who may have never come to know Denene if it were not for that steamy conversation in the sauna.
For sure, a little sweat ain’t nevah hurt nobody.
(Note: This post is the first in the MyBrownBaby series on the 2009 Mommy Bloggers Disney Cruise. For more information on a Disney Cruise vacation, click here.)