Wearing a headscarf to work
The first time I wore a headscarf to work was in the summer of 2003. I was in my late-mid 20s.
I’m hazy about the details that preceded the decision but…
I woke up one summer morning in 2003 and I decided that I wasn’t going to do my hair that morning. So I left on the black polyester headscarf that I’d slept with and went to work. It was the first time that I wore my headscarf to work.
I’d always been very diligent about ‘doing my hair’ for work. So the comments and stares weren’t surprising but they were tiresome and uncomfortable none the less. Coincidently I wore my head scarf the first time another colleague did the same and people thought that it was some Black heritage day – that was my favourite laugh-out-loud observation of the day.
But the fact is the headscarf is an everyday fact of life for my Afro hair. You come to my house early or late enough in the day I will be wearing a headscarf. I now wear it most times in between as well. If I don’t have anywhere to go where doing my hair will suit the aesthetics of the outfit more than a headscarf, then it stays on. I have more headscarves than I have shoes.
It’s a practicality borne of the fact that it doesn’t make any sort of sense to do my hair every day before I leave the house. I don’t have the time, patience or inclination. I’d rather be out for a run or on the bike.
Or if I’m leaving the house later in the day – I feel there is no point taking down those sleeping braids just to put them back-in less than 6 hours later. I’ll save the time and manipulation for another day. So I’ll wear the headscarf or just go out with my hair in 5 braids.
I’m not going to pretend that Afro hair works into the cycle of everyday styling I’m going to keep it real. There was a time when washing and re-doing my hair was confined to the weekend. Now no. I’ll go out with a T-shirt on my head while a deep condition is going on underneath. I’ll wear the headscarf because my wash plaits are still drying underneath. Winter 2012 to 2013 I wore a headscarf every single day to work.