how it all began

On a walk a few months ago, I stumbled upon this…

I know primates are not indigenous to this area, so I knew it could not be what it appeared to be—a small gorilla that had been run over by a car.  Still, it did look an awful lot like a dead animal. Or maybe a dead bird. But upon closer inspection, I realized it was nothing that had ever lived or breathed. This was not something from the natural world.

I knelt down to examine it more closely, poking it with a stick to see if it moved. It didn’t. And then, I actually TOUCHED it and realized it was “hair.” Fake hair. A synthetic tangle of flammable material—otherwise known as a weave—that someone had, at one point, actually worn on (presumably) “her” head. And now this blob of hair was lying on the side of the road, discarded like yesterday’s trash.

Slightly repulsed, I stepped over the tangled mass, continuing along my way. I probably would never have given it a second thought had I not—two blocks later—stumbled upon yet another weave, lying amidst a bunch of cigarette butts and remnants of someone’s dinner. Yes, another blob of fake human hair lying on the side of the road.

I mean, what are the odds?

Now, I know a bit about hair. Having been born with hair that on a humid day is not too unlike Phil Spector’s, I’m no stranger to the flattening iron or “product.”

And because my best friend growing up’s mom owned a hair salon, I’ve spent some time in hair salons; we used to visit her mom’s salon after school, playing with the curling irons and shelacking our hair with the latest products. Her mom was the first person to highlight and perm my hair. She once used a color called “ash” (that should have been my first clue) and used teeny, tiny rods in my hair for more than an hour, essentially making me look like my 92 year-old grandmother. It took years to get over that one. But, I digress. Bottom line is, I’ve been around hair products much of my life, and I thought I knew a thing or two about them. That is, until I stumbled across my first weave.

It was unlike anything I had ever seen before—maybe because this exotic form of female enhancement is unknown to most white women…. But after spotting these first two weaves, my life has been a never-ending stream of them. I find them everywhere—mostly on my morning walks with my dog, Spud.

Spud and I found this one—one I refer to as the “mac daddy” weave because of its size—on a recent walk. It was so large that I even made Spud sit next to it for some perspective. I know what you’re thinking: pet abuse. But I assure you the photos of Spud wearing the weave are not for public consumption (and you know I could win some sort of award for that montage).

It doesn’t matter where I am. Chances are good I’ll spot one—in trash cans, blowing along the sidewalk near work; I even found one in the jungles of Guatemala! And it got me thinking: Who were the women on whose heads these pieces of fake hair had resided? Were there a bunch of bald women now roving around my ‘hood? How does one actually “lose” a weave?

In search of these answers (and others), I’ve started this blog. One that will cover not only these gnarly appendages—the weave—but other random things that occur to me, often on my walks with Spud.

You’ll likely notice that now that you’re aware of the weave, you, too, may start to find them in the most random places: in parks, on benches, in gutters. I’d love to see what you find, so please feel free to send in your weave photos or stories. Or other random musings.