Peculiar Admiration: A Black Girl and Her Hair -- Argentina Edition

Robrenisha Williams
September 28, 2017

I keep missing Wednesdays. My alarm must have a mind of its own because I swear it decides not to go off. At approximately 15 minutes before class, I always snatch my head off the pillow, spring up out of bed, toss on the nearest thing to me (brush my teeth of course), and scramble out the door. I perfect the post-frantic stroll into class and begin the mental examination of my outward appearance (do my eyes have crust in them? Do my clothes match? Any stains?). It’s moments like these that I’m beyond grateful my hair is in my protective-style twists, always checked off of my mental list. BUT, I do miss my hair. I miss the therapeutic process of combing it out, the extra motivation to wake up on time, the variations that I tell myself I will try but never come to fruition. I miss the CURLS and the volume.

I watch natural hair videos on YouTube and pine for the freedom of naturalness. While watching, I remind myself why I can’t just take out the twists—never mind that they have ZERO products for natural black hair— and all the reasons I opted for the style in the first place. Like, the long tiresome wash process, or the failed twist-outs/braid-outs/curling rod sets, or its constant mission to make me look bald. So, I embrace the laziness, questions full of awe, and enjoy the compliments. I should be happy, no? It’s one more way for me to be “unique” – not that I need reasons other than my long difficult name, or the rarity of my dulce de leche complexion. Yes, I’m pretty sure my hair is the first of its kind here in Argentina – considering my twists have been stroked multiple times in public places by perfectly sober people. Yes, now that my hair is out of reach I’m infantilizing it – considering how eager I was to put them into the twists. Does the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” theory work for me and my curls? I’d argue that it does, as I provide my hair with way more TLC than any human I’ve ever known.  

I tried to go thrift shopping this past week. I say try because that feeling one is supposed to get when they emerge from the shops with this magically powerful feeling of accomplishment for finding cute things at bargain prices, did not happen. Thrift stores in Argentina are the equivalent of either small boutiques, or what looks like someone’s grandpa’s closet (50-year-old stains and all) that’s ridiculously overpriced. I have a sense that a similar feeling of failure will surface when I return from a long day of hair product hunting in random Farmacitys, corner stores, and H-marts. I’ve run out of edge control, my hair desperately needs oil, and I’ve broken every single one of my hair ties at this point. So, obvio – as they LOVE to say with lots of sass here — I’ll have to prepare for potential disappoint and pray that I at least find something to lay these unruly edges (and maybe a hat).

Robrenisha Williams

<p>I'm a Political Economics major in her third year in college. I originate from New Orleans, Louisiana and grew up in Seattle, Washington, so I love to cook and bake, as well as hike. I try to be a politically active black female and enjoy going to poetry slams and readings; I even have a secret dream of performing at one some day. I have a love for movies and novels alike.</p>

Home university:
Barnard College - Columbia University
Hometown:
New Orleans, LA and Seattle, WA
Major:
Economics
Political Science
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