When I first saw the picture of Michelle Obama’s new bangs I thought: “Oh cute, she got bangs.” Then I thought, Oh God, she got bangs.
I know what you are all thinking: stop hating! However, I implore you to first remember what happened when “singer” Cassie shaved the hair completely off one side of her head and everybody was like, “Oh that’s cute.” And then remember when two days later, your little cousin Re-Re, who is known for putting her own tracks in using her bathroom mirror, did the same thing too, although this time, it wasn’t as cute as it was on Cassie? And what about the time when Beyoncé started wearing leotards and platform heels? Oh yeah, it was certainly so Sasha Fierce when she was prancing around in glorified underwear reminding us that a diva is a female version of a “hustla.” However, when LaSasha Jenkins and Sasha Maria Rodriguez from around the corner started showing up at the mall and clubs looking like rejects from a Bob Fosse audition, it was clear that “diva” had another definition: ratchet. So yeah, excuse me if I’m not looking forward to the influx of Obama-inspired fringes, which are sure to be sewed in, glued or cut out of the heads of every FLOTUS-in-training in America.
Not that I’m hating on the bangs. Most people would agree that you can’t go wrong with some nicely shaped bangs. Besides helping to frame and enhance your face, the long held popular brow-skimmer also can make you look younger, add flare to an otherwise boring hairstyle. as well as hide that embarrassing five-head. However, despite how flattering a wispy bob may look on you, the truth of the matter is that bangs are extremely difficult to maintain, especially if you have textured (i.e. black people) hair.
There was a time when I was infatuated with having fringes. It was back in the early 90s, during the height of the wrap, which had gained popularity among many girls and women in the black community for its sleekness yet simplicity. However, I wanted to stand apart and I felt that a pageboy wrap I had cut out of a magazine would help me to stand apart from the pack. It was also the style worn by my very own stylist. “Um, no. How about we just add some sea foam green highlights? You like green right?” asked my hairdresser, a transgendered woman with the slickest, most blunt bangs I had ever seen. Actually, I preferred blue, however, that was not the point. Every two weeks, I would make my way to the salon and sit for hours while my hairdresser would repetitiously do a curl on my hair, stop, finesse her own hair in the mirror, including rearranging her bangs, and do another curl on my hair. And now here she was, dashing my dreams of having bangs of my own to play around in the mirror with. As good as my hairdresser was with the comb and shears, I felt like she was overstepping her boundaries. After all, I was the customer and the customer said “bangs.” And that is what I told her. She gave me a look, rolled her eyes and said, “All right you can have it your way, but don’t get mad at me because I tried to warn you.” A few hours later, I left the shop with some very sharp and blunted fringes cut into into my wrap. Despite the arm-twisting, I remember leaving the shop very happy that day. As far as I was concerned, my hair never looked so sharp in my life and all the compliments I had received about my new bangs pretty much solidified that despite my hairdresser’s warning, I had made a very good decision.
And then a week later, reality begin to set in. It was hot, mid-August, which meant that the humidity and heat routinely conspired against my bangs. No longer did they lay flat against my forehead. Instead, they would get wet from the sweat and dry from the hot weather into a crinkle. And let me tell you that there is no way of salvaging and smoothing down bangs, which had now shriveled up into my natural state. And even those times when the weather conditions cooperated, there were other ways in which the bangs refused to cooperate. Like when those couple of strands of hair decided to rebel against laying down in the same direction as the rest of the bangs. Or when half of the bang took on too much curl, and I had to walk around looking like Little Debbie from the snack cake packages.
Eventually the time and energy spent trying to maintain the bangs was wearing on me. I would go to my normal standing hair appointment, hoping that my hairdresser would forgive my disobedience. But as luck would have it, my hairstylist had disappeared and no one knew how to contact her. Apparently, the word around the shop was that her inability to save up enough money for her gender reassignment surgery had driven her to the streets. However, I had always suspected that the bangs, and their daily demands for straightening, probably played a part in her stress and troubles too. Thankfully, a few months later, my hairdresser would return from rehab, clean, sober and bang-less. Witnessing how I had almost managed to fry the front of my hair completely from too much flat-ironing, she would also get to work reshaping my hair into another cute, healthy and easy-to-maintain hairstyle – minus the fringes. Never once did she say, “I told you so.” However, she didn’t have to. I had already pledged that the few months of hair hell I went through would signal the last time I would ever wear bangs again.
The point of this unnecessarily long story about hair is that folks really need to stop and think about what they are possibly setting themselves up for when considering fringes. Sure, right now you’re thinking that Michelle Obama’s bangs look amazing. And you have convinced yourself that if a woman as busy as the FLOTUS has time to maintain them, then there is no excuse for why you can’t do the same. But keep in mind the very real likelihood that Michelle Obama has a glam squad with top secret White House clearance to ensure that the fringes remain strong and fit enough to fulfill their duties as the first bangs of the United States. That means that they will be right there in a flash with a portable flat iron and holding spray even at suggestion of bang-threatening moisture. Now ask yourself: Do you have that same hair support in your own life? If the answer is no than I implore you to heed my warning and accept that bangs are just not for everyone. You can most definitely try for yourself and see…but you’ve been warned.