Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Don’t Stare Too Hard: Of Wives and Hair


When your wife changes her hair, it has the effect of an earthquake in the house. And if extra hair was added, or hair was cut, or color changed, we’re talking something like 8.0 on the Richter scale.

This monumental event hit the Chiles household recently, and we’re still trying to put all the furniture back in its place.
For my girls, it’s all happy happy joy joy, like getting new clothes for one of their dolls. That’s because, in their minds, Mommy is a giant, walking baby doll anyway—her hair is there for the combing, her nails there for the painting, her outfits there to be picked over.

But for the husband? New hair is a terrifying yet exciting development. First of all, what happens if you like it too much? Just like you don’t want to get too attached to goldfish because they’re just gonna die soon, you can’t grow too fond of a particular hairstyle because she’s probably already plotting and planning the next change. And of course you can’t show your displeasure at the change, because you are then saying, I don’t like your hair.

It’s like a huge relationship Rubik’s Cube—the whole thing is perhaps too confusing for our male brains to puzzle together.
This is the trauma I faced when my wife popped up with the new hair. Walking on eggshells for days. Scared to look at it too close, too much. You know—don’t stare directly at the sun. Show too much excitement and she starts thinking, What does it mean that he likes my hair so much? Is my husband that superficial? I am not my hair!

But of course the alternative is worse. Show too little enthusiasm and you can kiss goodbye any hopes of running your hands through it later when the kids are sleep. (Oh wait, I’m tripping: I’m talking about a black woman here. ‘Bout the only thing my fingers would be passing through are the loose strands on her old ratty headwrap.) What, you don’t like it? she will ask, as she clutches her arms around her torso in horror. And as all husbands know, you never get a second chance to give a first impression. Your very first reaction to the new hair is the only very first reaction you will get, so it better be good. As a matter of fact, knowing that she was going to the hairdresser to get a brand new hairstyle, I decided that I couldn’t leave this crucial first impression to chance. I started practicing it in the mirror. The eyes are key when you’re working with a woman who has been reading your expressions for the past 15 years. If you can’t sell the eyes, it doesn’t matter what’s happening with the mouth.

You’re toast.

As it turned out, I liked the hair. A lot. And that started getting me worried: first, as I already said, that she would be disturbed if I liked it too much—after all, that would mean I didn’t like it before; and then, that I would become too attached and it would all be over in a week when she decided she didn’t like it anymore.

No, when it comes to hair, the safest position is casually disinterested interest. Or perhaps casually interested disinterest. You get the picture—smile, nod, tell her she looks good, and keep it moving. No slobbering.

For the record, it warms MyBrownWifey's heart that MyBrownHubs loved the hair, particularly since it's styled in a way I've never styled it before. Want to know why I changed it? WANT TO SEE THE NEW HAIR? Head on over to DOVE.COM to read my blog post about it, and check out the picture Nick took for the MY BIO page.

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  1. Congratulations on your Dove feature! Wow, I can't believe that style is a weave. it look fantastic and so do you! I likey.....
    Peace Sis.

  2. Hi Denene, I agree with Adiaha; I read the Dove feature, and can't believe that style is a weave. I must admit that I've got straight, boring hair, and I envy your curly kinky hair. :)

  3. You look like a doll with that bob! Me likes! It's fun and flirty.

  4. Cute, cute, cute!

    And Nick is HILARIOUS and exactly right on point. "Don't stare directly at it - like the sun." LOL!

  5. Aww this is too cute and funny! LMAO @ the old ratty headwrap comment. Priceless, yet so true!

  6. How thoughtful...who knew men went through tightrope walking of the mind when pondering how to respond to the Wife's new hair! Hey, deep down inside, I'm thinking most wives are pleased when their partners are diggin' the do, too. Happy new hair, Denene!

  7. Nick is a truth speaking fool! ( I just bought a new fancy head scarf thank you very much) Oh I was cracking up over here. I love the do, and the post, I also joined for more of your musings.


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