This is Part V of the first chapter preview of my bestselling book, The Curly Hair Book: Or How Men Can Now Rock Their Waves, Coils And Kinks. This part talks about how the curly hair issue is related to us dudes with waves, coils and kinks; well worth the read as this is one of the topics that I really go into detail in The Curly Hair Book.
Enjoy it and remember that you can now buy The Curly Hair Book as a paperback too!
All the best.
You can check the previous part (Part IV) here.
The curly hair paradigm
I call my curly hair my “beast”. It is a nickname that I gave it when I first started experimenting with my hair. I was at university and dating a girl who was studying psychology, and she told me that naming the source of my dramas would help me embrace and address my then-perceived weakness, so I chose a name that totally represented what my curls liked to do on a daily basis. Through the years, the nickname has stuck although I would say that nowadays my beast is more akin to a cool and loyal Labrador dog keen to bring me the newspaper on a Sunday morning; that’s how obedient my curly hair has become.
From a practical point of view and in terms of hair textures, humans have either straight hair or curly hair growing from their scalp. Curly hair is merely hair that grows in a non-straight pattern (i.e. it curls), and curly hair can curl slightly as it grows (i.e. wavy hair), curl in very tight coils or kinks (i.e. kinky hair) or anything in between! Thus, curly hair is the umbrella term covering the range of hair-curling expressions available, and it can be classified in 5 types as you will learn later on.
The reasons behind curly hair being expressed in so many curling patterns are not fully known; what is known is that a person’s unique genetic makeup is to “blame” for having curly hair. Some explanations have been proposed as to how and why curly hair forms its characteristic curling pattern as it grows from the hair follicles, but the precise reasons have yet to be unveiled. I am pretty sure that scientists have more important things to do than decipher the intricacies of curly hair, so the take-home message is that curly hair grows in a non-straight pattern right from its very inception (i.e. the follicle), which then allows for the many types that curly hair can express itself in. So yeah, we’ve got curly hair, and it’s about time that we do something positive about it.
Before we continue, let me say that straight hair is as great as curly hair. Hair is just hair, and you’d be a fool to view yourself as better or worse than someone with the opposite hair texture. However, the approach to managing curly hair is different and more elaborate than that of straight hair, and the advice available to us curly haired men when it comes to hair grooming is biased from a straight-hair perspective because straight hair is easier to style and manage.
You see, because of the inherent bending shape and curving pattern of our waves, coils and kinks, we curly men are predisposed to having dry and tangled hair. Our curls also tend to defy gravity no matter how long we grow them, and trying to use a hairbrush or regular comb to style our manes is a recipe for disaster. We also don’t respond as well as straight hair to conventional hair products, and the look we sport when our curly hair is damp differs wildly from the look that our mane has once it has fully dried. Not only does curly hair require a more careful grooming approach than straight hair does but curly hair can also be quite an inconvenience to have if one doesn’t know how to manage it properly.
All of the above is what leads the majority of curly men to give up on their hair and regard it as a curse of some sorts; I know this very well because I was like that too. We curly men have viewed our hair as something unexplainable and as something that cannot be understood. We are constantly bombarded with images of men with awesome straight haired manes, yet we cannot relate to them because our hair is just not like that. We read men’s magazines with hair advice and cool hairstyle options that don’t work for us in real life because the advice is written from a straight-hair perspective and assumption. Thus, we prefer to tame our beasts with frequent visits to the barber to get ourselves a buzz cut and forget about an inherent trait of ours that comes naturally.
This curly hair paradigm is not only specific to men; curly women have also had an enduring battle with all this straight hair baloney. The equivalent of our buzz cuts to women is the straightening of their curls. From relaxers to hair-straightening gadgets, women are brainwashed to tame their curls and keep them straight. Straight hair is docile, and being docile is, after all, how we are expected to behave in our modern-day societies.
Overall, curly hair remains somewhat of a mystery to us curly men. We own it, but we don’t know it. We live with it every day, but we reject it and prefer to forget about its existence. Of course, if we go through life with such a view on our hair, it is then only normal that the vast majority of curly haired men won’t be knowing anything about the stuff that populates their heads. And, when it comes to your curly hair, you should skip mysteries and instead strive to know all about your curls because, by doing so, you will be able to make the most of that which is innately yours and which should never be deemed as negative.