Sunday, February 5, 2012


"darling, don't you go and cut your hair
do you think it's gonna make him change?
i'm just a boy with a new haircut
and that's a pretty nice haircut..."


Wi11bed0ne is doing Micheal’s hair in my room and scolding him at the same time for not taking care of it all week, leaving it be without plaiting it, because now his hair is full of frizzy knots.

“If you can’t bother to take care of your hair, you should just shave it,” she tells him, sounding exactly like our mothers, probably because she is a mother.

“My mom put relaxer in it yesterday,” Micheal protests. Micheal is appalled at the thought of putting a razor to his head, even though that’s what a lot of black Namibian men do. It takes a long time to grow hair, maybe over a year just to get a few inches. I’ve been learning that black hair requires a whole lot of upkeep, even if you’re wearing hair weaves. Girls get their hair done every week or two, and the process takes several hours. At a party once I met a female rapper named Honey Gold who told me she gets so bored at the hair salon waiting for her hair to be done that she drinks beer to pass the time, and by the time her hair is finished, she’s drunk. I cannot fathom having to invest so much time and money into one’s hair. I can’t even be bothered to regularly shave my legs. I can’t imagine spending a couple hours every couple of weeks just doing my hair. I wonder what poor people do if they can’t afford to go to the salon but also have to work long hours. I guess that’s when it might make sense to shave your hair, like Wi11bed0ne is suggesting to Micheal. Wi11be’s sons have shaved heads. But Micheal loves his hair.

Hair care can be just as onerous as with men though. A lot of men don't shave their own faces and instead go to the barber every couple of days to get their faces and heads shaved. This might explain why whenever I drive through Katutura, it seems like half of he structures are barber shops. (The other half are car washes. Kind of like Texas.)

Wi11be is yanking his hair so hard that I could see the tears springing in Micheal’s eyes. Once in a while he yelps. They are dropping hair all over my table and my apartment floor, little knots of black hair that I know I will mistake as spiders later on when I’m drunk.

While I’m waiting for them to finish, I’m doing my own hair. I decide to put a Bump-It in my hair. Brushing my hair is way less of an ordeal for me, as you can imagine, since Asian hair is about as opposite as it gets from African hair. We’re straight and silky and so of course we want to curl our hair while black girls pay good money to straighten their curly hair. No woman is ever happy with what they’ve got, it seems. Maybe this is why Africans want Asian hair while Asians want European noses and South Americans want African butts. Women have asked me to give them my hair here when I cut it. I’m only growing my hair for the wedding. It’s a pain in the ass to have long hair in this African heat. As soon as I become a Mrs., I’m chopping these locks off for a devastatingly short hairstyle, probably assymetrical, probably partly shaved. Something like the kind of thing you’d see on a Cape Town hipster.

Wi11be tells us her own story of being raised by a white family in Germany. They didn't really understand how black people's hair worked, so they took her to a hair salon and cut her bangs, which looked absolutely horrible as soon as she took a shower. I told her that the horrible bangs thing is something that Korean mothers inflict on their young defenceless daughters too.

Wi11be is putting cornrows on both sides of Micheal’s head while uses my hairspray to fluff up the fro in the middle. I’m skeptical at first; but she knows what she’s doing. She owns a salon back in Walvis Bay. I have to admit when she’s finished that she’s right. Micheal’s mohawk hairstyle makes him look like a Cape Town hipster. I tell him this, and he’s pleased. We are pretty sure his boyfriends are going to love it.

We head out for our party. The apartment is in a building that looks somewhat like a prison on the inside, with all the barred doors and windows and the concrete. Between my Bump-it, Micheal's fauxhawk hair, and Wi11bed0ne's stunning hot pants and heels, we looklike a trio of movie stars going out for a night in Manhattan, not a couple of kids wandering through a prison-like complex in Hochland Park, trying to find a braai.

"advertising looks and chops a must


Karma police, arrest this girl...