Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Does Any Woman Think She Has "Good Hair?"

I was given an assignment to write a story to talk to women about the issues brought up in Chris Rock's movie, "Good Hair." As a Caucasian woman with what I guess would be called, "good hair" I wasn't sure I was the right person to write this article. Even though I decided not to do the story, it did get me thinking about about the question I posed in the headline: Does ANY woman think she has good hair?

Last week at my writing group the six of us were talking about this very topic. These were all white woman of varying ages and hair types. I heard a variety of complaints.

"My hair is too thin."

Mine's too curly"

"Mine's too flat."

"When it rains I can't do a thing with it."

When I was 13-years-old I used to take my already-straight, long, blond hair and roll it over a giant orange juice can in an effort to make it even straighter. Like many women I have had a life long love/hate relationship with my hair. At this point in my life most days I like it. But I've permed, highlighted, straightened, ironed, moussed, gelled and fluffed all in an effort to feel like I've got good hair.

In a conversation with an older black woman I know, she enlightened me a bit about the history of all the torturous ways women of color have straightened their hair for decades. She described painful sessions as a child, her mother using a almost-red hot comb to straighten her hair, one searing section at a time. There are chemicals that burn your scalp, electric irons to flatten and straighten and hours spent blow drying it within an inch of its life.

This woman, who has seen a lot in her life, was shocked however when I told her that many, many Caucasian women struggle with their hair too. By no means am I minimizing the racist undertones women of color and their hair choices face, but I just think in many ways we're all a lot more a like than we often think. And as a true woman's woman, I think we should stick together and celebrate how we can support one another in any way we can.

Now that I'm a little older I've learned to appreciate what I have and who I am. That doesn't though that for one minute mean I'm going to trade in the highlights and hair products and go all natural. I'm not crazy! I celebrate what God and my very lovely parents gave me, and the rest is thanks to a great hairdresser and some really good styling products.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

David Letterman - Bad Guy? Victim? Or Both?

Once again we're being forced to know way too much about a celebrity's private life and the sad thing is, I'm less and less shocked every time something salacious comes out about someone.

That said, I have to admit I thought a bit more of Dave. In my 20s and 30s I had a major crush on the comedian. I loved his geekiness and self-deprecating humor. I didn't bother to think about the possible ego involved in getting someone that far up in the food chain of fame. What was I thinking? Like many men in positions of power of course he slept with willing young women.

Before he was a parent and partner that was fine, but now there are a couple of people who need him to not be an ego-centric star and just be a dad and a husband.

Being the crack investigative journalist I pretend to be, I wanted to know what one of Dave's former long-term girlfriends had to say about all this, so I went to her blog. I have always loved Merrill Markoe. She and Dave created a lot of the bits - like Stupid Pet Tricks, that Dave still uses. She didn't say much in her post, but the line, "As you can imagine this is a very emotional moment for me because Dave promised me many times that I was the only woman he would ever cheat on," led me to believe that this isn't the first time he's been unfaithful.

To answer my own question in my headline, I think he's both a bad guy and a victim. It's wrong obviously for someone to shake you down for cash in order to keep their silence, but clearly he was not right in cheating on his girlfriend/now wife.

There's no easy answer to why people cheat, and let me be clear, I know women do it as well, I just think it seems a bit more common amongst males. Especially successful males in positions of power.

When Dave first confessed his transgression my first thoughts went to his wife. My heart broke for her because there are few things more painful than being betrayed by the person you trust and love more than anyone. Behind all his jokes about how chilly things are at home is someone who is really hurting, and there's nothing funny about that.

I would love to live in a world where no one hurts people they love. Where people are faithful, loving and true. But humans are flawed and at times weak.

I may be less shocked when these things happen, but it doesn't mean I'm not disappointed. I always thought Dave seemed like a good, stand-up, mid-western guy, but no matter how old I am or how much that's not good life shows me, I will never give up hope that most people are indeed committed and good.