#np Mumford & Sons – Ghosts That We Knew
There’s a certain sense of exuberance we all get when things are going okay for us.
A cloud of joy descends upon our lives, and our days are filled with endless smiles and cheery laughter. We wear effervescent glows to match the sprightly feelings floating within our shallow hearts. A world flowing with milk and honey is what we see the earth to be. And each step we make feels like a giant leap towards a heavenly realm filled with clear skies and sweet-scented flowers, that is, when things are going okay for us. Yet the beauty about life is that the world isn’t as benevolent as we wish it would be, and there’s always a mean bend on every smooth path we tread on. If you’ve never reached it, damn you for being such a darling of the gods. If you have, well congratulations, you are human and are (un)lucky enough to have experienced as much reality as every average worldling ever will.
Yet in these fickle experiences of reality, I do get this thought that despite each human being worlds apart from the next, there’s a difference between a reality check, and what’s a mere test of our perception about reality.
Quick question: Have you ever arrived home feeling both extremely tired, and extremely hungry? With each feeling being so extreme you feel as though you’re on the brink of demise? You never really know which to do first – sleep or cook, because either way, doing one will so tremendously impact the other. Maybe even escalate the torture to greater heights…
More than once, I have questioned myself on what it is that makes a female worthy of the title ‘a woman’. Not in a biblical or theoretic sense, but in a more definitive sense of the derivative word ‘womanhood’. As unrealistic as it may sound, I feel as though there needs to be a guideline on the various types of females around, and what it is to expect out of each type – including the ‘woman’.
My Dictionary graciously states that as a noun, the word womanhood refers to: 1. female maturity 2. womanly instinct. These, to me, represent traits lacking in many a female, hence this discussion on what I feel defines my kind of ‘real woman’. I repeat, “hence this discussion on what I feel defines MY kind of ‘real woman’ “, okay. So, heat yourself some popcorn; draw down the curtains and the portière if you have one; turn off the lights; grab yourself a seat; and press play.
My mother is what you would call simple, and unsophisticated. Being at an age where most women would definitely be fed up of some of life’s routines, she chose going to the salon as that customary routine which she wished to do away with, completely. So in the unordinary state of things, she decided to trim her hair down to a manageable length (which, for this piece, would go by the ordinary name of ‘shaved her hair’). I remember her coming home, after no more than thirty minutes of absence from the house, looking like a young girl preparing to be shipped off to a super strict Catholic school, one that prohibited long hair. Everyone in the house was stunned. Turns out, what we had previously assumed was a short trip to the neighbourhood kiosk, was actually a visit to the barbers. Most stunned of all was my immediate younger sister, who has never caused a fuss as she did that day. “What were you thinking?”; “Are you insane?”; “Now how will you look in photos?”…these were just some of the questions she put my mom through.
This got me thinking as to what would prompt a woman to shed off that part of her features that is most closely associated with being the quintessence of her femininity. Her renunciation of this myth that ‘hair maketh a woman’ sparked a curiosity that lacks any form or definition, as I pondered about all the women I know who have taken the same route of abnegation as concerns doctrines on what makes, and what doesn’t make a woman.
Legend has it that a certain prince fell in love with a (certain) girl (or lady, I don’t know which) who was locked up in a castle, by some wicked somebody. If I remember the story right, the princess was never allowed to leave the castle, and only got to experience the world through the gaze of her tiny window. From this window, she would gaze at the sky, the vast green fields and the birds flying about. Soon though, this picturesque view was taken over by the love of her life, as she stared at him and he back at her. They probably even blew each other wet, innocent kisses once in a while – as they wandered through fields of conversation while holding hands and chatting each other up in romantic prose. The story goes on to state that one day, the prince decided to take matters into his hands, both literally and figuratively, and visited the girl. I think he did so due to the limitless feelings he had for her, but I’m not one to “judge”. Yet he did, and how? He used her long, fair hair as a rope, to scale the castle wall all the way up to her solitary room. (In my version of the story, however, this prince was so in love that he couldn’t wait to get his hands on the princess and share the world, the flesh and the devil with her. For as any normal human would have it, pure sight never really marks the end of satisfaction for a man or woman in love.)
Maybe this is the point at which our African ladies were duped into believing that men would do anything for a female with long, fair hair. Maybe the (fictional) prince’s love made them believe that silky-smooth hair would get you a prince willing to scale walls for you. Psh…!!! I mean like – Puh_lease ladies!!! For one, none of you lives in a castle. Moreover, there are no tall castles (of which I have heard) inhabited by beautiful ladies anywhere on this blessed land of Africa. And even if you did live in a castle, the current state of things has it that most of today’s men are more worried about their biceps, or ruining their (fake) “designer” clothing and manicured nails, to even spare a thought about a wall that will lead them up to your room.
To me, all this weave-therapy most of our dear skirt-wearers put themselves through – at the expense of their natural beauty – is nothing but waste. The weaves and add-ons many ladies most graciously stink the environs with are all part of a commercial plan that a horse-owner once proposed to the business world, and by the looks of it, did one heck of a presentation; since it has seen him afford the horsing industry runaway success. Everywhere you go, everywhere you turn, there’s a lady, who was brought into the world with very dark and nappy hair, trying to look like a singing sensation from a B-movie. With her face padded up with layer upon layer of complexion additives (read: make-up), she will go on to swish her head now and then so as to try and get her hair, to float in the air. (I hope you uhmm, noted – that last bit rhymes. You know hair, and air – they rhyme, right). This she would do, while she courses her fingers through the miserable horse braided onto her scalp, trying to theatrically pull off the whole ‘Look-At-Me – I’m Beautiful’ move.
Exactly as it sounds, I do not for once love ‘fake hair’. I also do not believe that hair does make a woman; but I do stand by the conviction that natural hair does complement the true nature of a woman. I say this with the reasoning of a man brought up around women who never in their lives took up weaves as their way towards beauty. Yet in their natural scheme of things, still managed to attract enough attention from men and boys alike. Perhaps you could blame my upbringing for being backward and lame, I can take that shot. But as long as I have words to put to use, my argument at least begs address. For as I have come to realize, women with natural hair come across as being ‘realer’, and even more down to earth, than their add-on contemporaries.
Susan, a cashier at a local supermarket, is a young and vibrant cotton-ball who always has more than enough paws chasing after her. She is well fed, has the right proportions in the right areas, and thus attracts more attention than is normally accorded to ladies of her profession. Her immediate manager, a single lady in her late thirties, is but her least admirer. With no man in her life, Deborah – the manager, is devilishly jealous of the beautiful cashier at post number 6. Even with her short skirt, high heels and latest hair-do, none of her efforts at attracting male attention seem to work in her favour.
It could be because she isn’t as curvy as Susan is, or maybe the guidebook to sexual attractiveness just didn’t get its way into her cheat-sheet. Maybe her age just isn’t a match for the youthful, and beautiful, cashier who’s just been passed a business-card by a well dressed fellow of the handsome sort. Maybe. But I’ll tell you what it is. It is that ‘realness’ that women comfortable in their natural skin possess, and synthetic ladies totally lack. This lack of a unique selling factor to help you (as a synthetic female) match up against the entire female kingdom, is what makes our desperate Deborah lose out in her search for a man.
There is a certain rareness that is seen in a few, and not all, women who wear their hair as natural as it came. The manner in which they walk, talk, and behave exudes a certain lack of pretension, and more honest approach to their walk of life. Even their search for companions revolves less around revealing skirts and low-cut tops/blouses, and more around a ‘get-to-know-my-personality’ approach. When around such a female, the air feels different, as though it were a cool breeze brushing against your face after a trip to the northern end of the Majabi desert. You feel overcome by a peace that you’ve never felt when in the company of a member of the opposite sex. Each word shared between the two of you feels sweet to the taste, the laughter like crackles in a campsite fire, the stares like endless voyages into the soul of the sea. The chemistry feels so enchanting, the experience feels magical.
I don’t know whether men think of such experiences objectively, because many wouldn’t know to put it in words or even describe it, but I’m sure some few ones do feel it. That difference in room temperature whenever you’re around an all-natural woman; that room to be yourself and rid yourself of all chivalric pretences. It’s all in the works of a true African woman.
This, compared with the girl you met at the bar last Saturday: dressed in a purple jumpsuit and purple stilettos, in purple braids and purple make-up, (a purple extravaganza if you may) with each accessory ill-assorted with regards to the whole do; is a contrast light years apart. Because when with a female so inclined to a synthetic approach to life, especially those with undying love for multiple layers of make-up, everything feels synthetic. The air feels hot, sweaty and icky. Conversation feels like the buzz of houseflies flying about an empty farm on a hot, Sunday afternoon somewhere in Texas. When you stare at her over-emphasized eyebrows, your thoughts constantly have to pull themselves out of pools of contempt and disgust, as you picture mud-slides occurring on her very face. Chances are her English will be no good, and that pea-brain of hers might only spew forth words like ‘As in like’, ‘Ahaa’, and probably some ‘For real’. I can go on about how ugly things could be with such a female, but the long and short of it all is that, nothing seems real about such a female, nothing at all. Not even her very name. You feel cheated by the very sight of her, and the sight of a woman in all her natural majesty feels like a very welcome change. A very welcome one at that.
Each time I see a high waisted woman in fake assets, fake hair, fake lashes, ‘fake facial-complexion’ (read: light-skinned on her face while black and blue elsewhere) – my mind immediately shuts itself from any beauty that she might otherwise have in her. Because honestly, from the onset – she really isn’t selling herself, but rather the many fake products her body can handle. As for an ebony woman in a ponytail, plain-old blow-dried hair, all-natural hair, dreadlocks, even shaved hair if it works well – I immediately think about how easy it would be to converse with her in a poorly lit, and none air-conditioned club; about the ease with which I would approach my parents and introduce her simple, and unmolested, beauty as my companion’s; about how much I would enjoy buying her gifts since the purity of her fashion taste is so virginal it hurts; most of all, I would think about how honest my feelings for her beauty would be.
Simple dress/pants, unpretentious jacket, flat shoes, natural hair, little or no make-up, and an impregnating smile – now that is my kind of woman. The kind who I have always fallen for and always will. Never have I dated, or even taken a second look, at any woman who wears shoes taller than the length of my middle finger. Or one who uses excessive make-up as her only way to feel “beautiful”. I’m a keep-it-real sort of guy, so I sure as hell will only breathe for a woman who keeps it the same.
My woman should be the one with enough wit and emotional maturity about her to help me through my reality checks. One who’ll fuel the sense of exuberance I will get when things are going okay for us. One whose presence feels like a cloud of joy descended upon my life. Who will share with me days filled with endless smiles and cheery laughter. Together we’ll wear effervescent glows to match the sprightly feelings floating within our shallow hearts. A world flowing with milk and honey is what we will see the earth to be, and each step we will make will feel like a giant leap towards a heavenly realm. One filled with clear skies and sweet-scented flowers.
And if ever things go awry, we – that’s me and her – will take that mean bend along every smooth path we tread on in real style.
#np Robin Thicke – Teach U a Lesson