Friday, August 26, 2011

Good hair

"Mm-hmm. Be careful where you
go with this one, Brooks."
I don't think it's racist to make the observation that African-American women have unique hairstyles. I hope not anyway. All ethnic groups have certain distinctive characteristics and traits, that's all. Some are cultural and some are genetic. Differences are neither good or bad, they're just differences. No big deal in pointing that out, right? Good.
Anyway, the other day I was on the bus, minding my own business and letting my mind wander as most people do, thinking of what I will say if I'm ever attending a red carpet event and I get stopped by a fashion reporter; "Oh this? Sheila, the tuxedo ensemble I'm wearing this evening is from the Luis Groupôn spring collection. It has a GPS, Wi-Fi and 38 different modular components, if you count the underwear, which I do. And on top of all that, yes, it is very shiny." That's when I overheard a fellow passenger, an African-American woman, describing to her companion how she wanted her stylist to do her hair. "Rectangles! I want it all in rectangles!" This confused me a great deal. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what she meant. Did she mean a pattern of rectangles all across her head, like a lopsided checkerboard pattern? Or did she mean three-dimensional rectangular sculptures, like the goal line pylons on a football field?
Like this, only more of them, on a human head
I probably could have asked her but I thought that would be rude so I didn't. At any rate, I didn't envy the stylist. Hairstyling is a skilled profession that requires a certain amount of natural skill plus years of training and experience. Nobody should be required to have to demonstrate a mastery of geometry on top of all that: "Oh my god, what have you done to my hair?!? I said rectangles, not parallelograms! Look at what you've done! The congruence of opposite sides and opposite angles is a direct consequence of the Euclidean Parallel Postulate and neither condition can be proven without appealing to the Euclidean Parallel Postulate or one of its equivalent formulations, which means I can't go out tonight! Damn, you might as well have given me rhombuses! What?? $65?!? Aw hell naw! You need to go get your clippers and your styling wand and your protractor and your graphing calculator and fix this mess before I come up out of this chair!"

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