“Should I ask his permission?”
This was a great discussion on one of the hair boards recently, with some surprising opinions. Of course, I had way more to say than I had time or room to type at that moment, but the topic intrigued me enough to post about it later as my own natural hair entry. I think that a number of women find themselves at this place when making any major physical change, but I’ll try and focus.
Permission: 1) approval to do something. 2) the act of giving formal authorization.
I think any woman who considers herself an adult–a “grown” woman, as my mother would have said–struggles with the idea of having to ask a husband for his approval. Permission is one of those words like submission, which the Bible speaks to in Ephesians 5:22-24. We equate these words with being a child, with being less than, with being the low
man, err, woman, on the totem pole. Yet, as distasteful as the thought might be for some, leaving our permed tresses and embracing our curly, kinky, and even sometimes nappy locks does create a major change to our physical appearance. It also becomes a potential statement regarding our sense of self and our defiance of an imposed standard of beauty. If only for these reasons, it is a decision worth discussing before you make it, and worth having some support before you proceed.
I was blessed in that my husband was very supportive of the decision to leave perms behind. As I’ve shared before, after 2 years of deliberation, the movie “Good Hair” gave me the final motivation that I needed to get off the proverbial dime. My husband has shared on more than one occasion that watching what sodium hydroxide, the primary chemical in perms, did to a metal soda can over time was a strong enough visual for him to be fully on board with me stopping the bi-monthly trips to the salon.
Years ago, I wrote a post about homeschooling when your husband does not agree, and I talked about the spiritual and natural value of alignment. The parallels between homeschooling and transitioning to natural hair are amazingly alike: both are deviations from the norm, although this article points out that as many as 36% of African-American women are now saying that they use no chemicals to relax or straighten their hair. However, I think similar thoughts on how you might “bring him over to your side” might apply.
1) Don’t just throw out information; have a discussion. Of course, explaining to him why you want to go natural implies that you know yourself. Why do you want to go natural? Is it just the latest trend that you want to follow? Will he have to listen to you complain daily 3 months from now when it takes you hours to get a comb through your wet hair? (smile) Personally, the transition of my hair followed a number of transitions in my health, from the changes in foods to the changes in exercise habits. With that in mind, I walked into the transition, with all its associated trials and triumphs, never looking back. I said that to say that if you don’t have a compelling reason to change your hair this drastically, the decision might not be worth the costs to your relationship.
2) Understand the nature of his true concern. Why is he averse to your proposed change? Could it be as simple as a difference of vision? I talk about this in discussing differences in homeschooling readiness, and how at times, we have to listen to hear what’s behind the word “no.” Perhaps in transitioning, you see yourself looking like this: