If you think learning and dealing with natural hair was/is difficult imagine how difficult it can be for someone who is dating you? We go through the learning process so quickly in the natural hair community because we have access to all these social media platforms, that our significant other just genuinely doesn’t take interest in learning on their own. And that is okay! I would find it a little strange if my significant other was watching Youtube tutorials on achieving the perfect twist out by himself. But there are still some steps/things you want to consider teaching your significant other so they can be knowledgeable about a pretty significant/substantial part of your life. It also will save you the trouble/ headache and aggravation at a later date if you take the time to lay the proper foundation as the relationship unfolds. So let’s dive into it.
1. Touching My Hair: Get into the habit of reminding your significant other “Yes You still need to ask to touch my hair, no matter how long we’ve been together.” Chances are you will likely say yes, depending on the moment or style, but the courtesy is still very much appreciated. You don’t want to end up with hands in your hair when you don’t want them there no matter whose hands they may be. It’ll also save you from a potential nonsensical fight.
2. Co Washing, Cleansing & No Poo: Remember when you learned that you didn’t need to use shampoo on your natural hair? Remember thinking how will your hair get clean if you don’t use shampoo? Yeah… they are thinking the same thing! Especially when they see you come home with 10 different conditioners, foods that you call “treatments”, & clay! They are just as lost as you once were no matter if you were a transitioner or big chopper. Taking the time to explain what co washing and cleansing is makes all the difference in their thought process, and also keeps them from thinking you’re a filthy person walking around with no shampoo and dirty hair.
3. Wash day: HA!! Please please please take the time to teach your boo that wash day… is just that an ENTIRE day process! Even though I’ve managed to get my wash day down to 1-2 hours weekly… I still need the whole day to air dry and plan out my style for the next day. Most of the time that involves some sort of twisting, perm rod set, bantu knot, or flexi rod set that I don’t particularly want to wear outside on a date or outdoor activity. So teach em early that the process takes places weekly (usually on the same day) and will significantly cut out potential activities for that day. And if I do rush through my wash day for you just know that you are truly special (and if my hair doesn’t turn out amazing the next day… I will be coming after you!)
4. Bed Time Routine Is a Must: We must wear a head tie, head scarf, satin bonnet…etc to bed ! Point blank period! It may not be the sexiest image in the world, but just know that the next day my hair will look amazing, and edges/nape will be left thriving in full force. Without the nightly head gear/routine my hair is at risk for damage and that just isn’t something I’m willing to compromise on. In the early stages of the relationship you may want to invest in satin/silk pillow cases so you can ditch the head gear for a while, but at the end of the day we all know it’s all about the satin bonnet!
5. Protective Styling: Let them know now that as a naturalista your look/style will change frequently and half of the time that will be thanks to what we call a “protective style”. And giving a variety of examples (visual/verbal) is always key! They need to know that faux locs, braids, twists, updos, buns…etc are all examples of the same type of “styling”. So when you state you are protective styling they will understand what you mean instead of staring at you like you have two heads. And yes… WIGS are a part of your protective styling arsenal that they will have to learn to love and accept.
6. Absolutely NO Color Purple Jokes: I think that should go without saying but sometimes your natural hair is going to be shocking to your significant other. Especially during the necessary night time routine, no references to The Color Purple, or Snoop Dogg….etc should be made. I’ve also heard some Asap Rocky mentions… no!
7. Shrinkage: This one should be fun and funny to explain, but is a great key point in teaching your boo about natural hair. Shrinkage happens… it just does. And we hear enough of the “did you get a haircut” or “what happened to your hair” from the outside world, you don’t want to hear it in your conversations with your significant other either. They need to understand that natural hair… curly hair in general shrinks, but isn’t a sign of true length. That means one day my hair can look long, and the other it can look short without me using scissors to do so. Just stretch one of those curls out and show them that your head is still filled with hair and they do not need to panic.
8. Straightening my hair: If you are sensitive about the “you look better with straight hair” commentary as most of us are… then you need to teach your boo that this phrase… like the Color Purple phrase is off limits. It is up to you to decide when you want to straighten your hair… if ever and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so. Not even for special occasions/events! If he loves you like he should then he will love your hair in its natural state and straightened state just the same.
9. Comparisons: It is inevitable to compare. And as your boo becomes a part of your natural hair community by association, he will stumble upon other naturalistas. Just as you shouldn’t compare your hair to others, neither should he. Everyone’s hair is different and that is just as far as the convo should go.
10. Acceptance: The most important step to teach your boo (thats why I saved it for last) is to simply accept that your natural hair is apart of you and therefore apart of the relationship (haha) I know that sounds funny but the truth of the matter is hair plays a big key role in how we feel, how we see ourselves and how we see others. Therefore if he loves you for all the right reasons he will love your natural hair and love learning about it as long as you are willing to teach him.
*BONUS: If your significant other offers to do any natural hair service for you (i.e.: twist your hair, oil your scalp…etc.) take him up on that offer. This is a great teaching opportunity, and though it most certainly isn’t necessary or required it is a nice perk/bonus to have a significant other willing to help you put in the time to get your hair to where you want it to be! Consider yourself lucky!
What funny things have you had to teach your significant other about your natural hair?
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