Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ask a Bougie Chick: Him or My Hair


I'm so mad about this Ask a Bougie Chick Letter, I can hardly type it up. Ya'll know how much I hate talking about hair. Hate, hate, hate. Le Sigh. Okay, here we go. I'm going to call this girl LovelyLocks. Lovely Locks lives in the Seattle area and just got an ultimatum from her long-time boyfriend. Take a deep breath, a patience pill and read this mess.
Hey OneChele,
I appreciate the candid way you give advice on BnB. Hoping you can share a thought with me on this. I'm 26 and have been dating the same guy since the end of college (I was 22 then). We met on campus. One of the things he has always said he loved about me is my long hair. I've been getting perms since I was old enough to climb in the chair. 
But lately I've been thinking that I'd like to cut some (like a lot) and go natural. So I skipped my last perm appointment and have been letting it just kind of air dry so I can see the texture. He noticed it wasn't as flat and asked me why my hair was looking so kinky. I told him I wanted to go natural. He went crazy and said that's not what he signed up for. He said he liked my hair long and straight and I wouldn't be the same person. 
I asked him if my hair change would affect our relationship and he said I could have him or I could go natural but he wasn't sticking around for what I would turn into. Jeez, it's not that serious. I was just going to try it. I went and got the perm. But now I'm wondering - did he really ask me to choose between him and a hairstyle? What would you do?
~LovelyLocks
*Looks around for Ashton Kutcher* I'm being punk'd, right? Lovely, please tell me you did not write in to ask me if you should change your hair for A MAN?! *kicks over small stack of books* GIRL! Where is your pride? "Not what he signed up for" - are you joking with that? Okay, you know what - I'm going to bring it on back. Here we go. Teachable moment...

Ladies, here's how to tell if you are about to do a crazy, thirsty, need-more-people, need-self-esteem thing. Flip the script. For instance, would a man with dreads cut them off because you asked him to? Or NOT cut them off because you really liked them? Hell. To. The. Naw. If this is the answer, DON'T DO IT.

In the simplest terms, Lovely - the man is supposed to love you. Not your hair. It's YOUR hair. He ain't even put a ring on it and dictating your style? Really?

You know what, I can't even do this. I gotta turn it over to BougieLand. Men, has a woman ever asked you to change something about yourself? If so what, and did you do it? Would you break up with a woman over a haircut? Ladies, please get your girl. Has anyone gone through this type of hair hate? And seriously, WDDDA?!

144 comments:

Angel Blanca said...

He equated her with her hair!! She wouldn't be the same, or his ego, which depended upon her long, straight hair, wouldn't be the same? Negro, please!! If after four years you can't come up with something else as a deal-breaker, let me show you the door.*

*I'm lacking sleep, so my tact level is low. I may revisit this comment later, but...yeah, no.

bkbisous said...

I could go in on him for several reasons, but I trust that others will wholly address that.

COME. ON. Give us something harder than this. This is not a matter you should even have to ask Chele/ BougieLand.

Four years into a relationship, one cannot tell me that you're unaware of what your SO values in your relationship. If a significant portion of his physical attraction to you (which, when coupled with personality is significant, no matter how much we try to protest this) is the the long, straight hair I would venture to guess that you've picked that up over the course of the time you've been together.

I'm sorry if I'm not very understanding on this one. I'm a fan of 'do you,' but I need to know that the "you" of which we speak is aware of the relationships she has built and the nuances thereof that may have led her to this position.

Jubilance said...

I had no idea how attached a lot of Black men are to long hair until I cut my own. Two years ago I chopped off my long relaxed hair & rocked a 1-inch fro. I loved it, but 90% of the Black men who knew me with my long hair hit me with "OMG why did you cut your hair? When will it grow back? It was so long & pretty! Blah Blah Blah". I couldn't believe it.

For the letter-writer, it seems like her man really is anti-change & also might have some control issues. Hair really isn't that big of a deal - sure we all have our own preferences & whatnot, but to give a "its me or your natural hair" ultimatum is extreme. What happens when she gains weight? Or loses weight? Or wants to change careers? Does she have to do everything he likes? And more importantly, is she not allowed to change & evolve as a person? Is she supposed to stay the same woman she was at 22 when she met him?

After 4 years, I would think his love for her would trump her having a hairstyle that he found less-than desirable. But maybe not...

Crystal said...

You are not your hair!!! This really makes me wonder, if he is acting like this about her cutting her hair and :going natural" then what would he do if she got sick in five years and lost all of her hair, or worse could not walk or feed her self. How would he be with children if they had any, would he be there for her as a co parent and supporter. I know me asking those questions sounds like a big leap from hair to serious illness and children, but how someone's behavior to a small problem can be an indication of what they will do when the real life stuff comes up. I suggest she decides what she wants out of the relationship, if she wants a life partner, it may be best to move on, because if he is upset about hair how will he be in life when the ish really hits the fan. I know I sound redundant but is someone who will leave over you cutting your hair going to be there to clean and change your catheter if you need it?

Crystal said...

* typo, I meant to type-- someone's behavior when dealing with a small issue can be an indicator of how they will behave when bigger, real life stuff happens.

mutemia said...

The semester's almost over and I can come out of lurk mode..Now all I got is tell him to go kick rocks with flip flops on and DTMA. I say this as a young woman with relaxed hair. Yes, he asked you to choose him over the hairstyle. I may catch some flak for this, but as long as your partner's hair isn't a hot mess and work appropriate than its really none of your damn business how they do it. Sure it would be nice if they gave you heads up if they're going to make a major change or ask for your input and that's it. Your boyfriend is a controlling douche bag. He doesn't have to like your hairstyle, but fact that your hair is dealbreaker is a big funky red flag. Again I say dump him ASAP. BTW I would also give the same advice to a guy as well. *plays I am not my hair.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Three things:
1.) going natural just means no chemicals. If you decide to let go of the perm, you can still wear your hair straightened if that's the style that works for you, even as you grow your hair out to get rid of the permed ends.
2.) old boy let you know how everything is going to be in your relationship. He didn't talk to you to get understanding. He didn't try to understand why you wanted the change. Nope he threw a tantrum & let you know that it's his way or the highway. Just be warned upfront that he won't ever be understanding towards you but will expect you to just accept him as he changes(is gets fat & even more curmudgeonly)
3.) as a woman who's worn my hair natural & unstraightened for nearly a decade, I'm here to tell you that his aversion to puffy hair is par for the course for >90% of men, but especially black men. Your dating options drastically shrink, and if you don't have a texture that is more Mya than whoopi

soldier said...

Leave him. This man is not for you.

That is all.

Penny said...

Dear Lovely Locks-this is not really about your hair-it is about so much more than that. You have been dating this person for four years-are you planning a future with this person? If so, he has shown you exactly what your future will be like. As Crystal says, should anything change (beyond your control or not) with you that dude does not like-he is out. God forbid you would ever be diagnosed with cancer, have to go through chemo and have your hair fall out. That would be his only concern, not the serious and possibly life threatening illness to his life partner. Is this what you want?

Bougieland men will have to weigh in on the issue of men and hair. Once I cut my hair and asked my former SO if he liked my haircut? He made a face that said "Not really." I asked if he was a hair guy. He told me that "all men are hair guys." Really??

taut_7 said...

i kind of get where he's coming from then again i don't. it's her hair and she should be able to do what she wants with it. i also think she should discuss any drastic changes with him first. men don't like drastic change. if she wants to go natural he would have to accept that or get gone but i think the discussion should be made. for instance, if i was seriously dating a woman and i'm clean cut i wouldn't start growing locs without discussing it with her first.

Nicole said...

Yes. I did it for my ex-fiance *ducks and cowers from tomatoes thrown * He did indicated that he liked longer hair ( I rocked a short Afro at the time after cutting off dreadlocks gone wrong) though he never pressured me into growing it. I eventually braided it and dumped his behind. Now I am left with a dilemma *grin* I realize I do look better with longer hair but I am left with the visual reminder that I changed my hair on the main to please a man who wasn't my husband yet and now who will NEVER be it in this lifetime. Or the next. So ya see gal, if you wanna change it, do it, do you and avoid my present hair dilemma!!

Think P. Smart said...

He signed up for the package you had. I'm not mad at him for saying it. He just gave you a glimpse into what he values about you. Now you have the information. What are you going to do with it?

It's easy to tell you to bounce but if you're 'mainstream' pretty (long hair, thinnish face and body), you will run into men who want to go to dinner every night but will drop you if you appear to gain 5lbs. To me, this is less about him (and those types of men), and more about how you decide to handle these situations because they don't stop with physical things. If you are super smart and have the corner office but want to quit and become a teacher, you may be with a man who gives you the ultimatum to stay with your corner office and keep him or follow your heart and teach without him.

Men have said these types of things to me (and around me about other women). One told me to stay out of the sun lest I start looking too Black. To those men my response is, "Sure I won't gain weight/change my hair/etc. so long as you bring home 7% more money every year because I didn't sign up for broke." I know that comment is mean and petty. But it's stinging enough that it shocks a man and helps me signal that I will move forward disengaging from the relationship.

digal704 said...

I believe she already knows the answer. If she doesn't, she deserves him

Leopard_Print_Pumps said...

After FOUR years he's saying "It's me or the hair"? I.just.can't. I say be glad there's no ring on your finger, and on to the next. The fact that he didn't even want to discuss it rationally is a big red flag. Because honestly, while in the grand scheme of things it's not the biggest of deals, it is after all, YOUR hair, and this just makes me wonder what happens when the two of you need to make more important decisions/discuss issues that will severely impact your life together...

Court A said...

" I could go natural but he wasn't sticking around for what I would turn into."

Wow that's deep. I have been natural since 2002 and I got sisterlocks in 2005. What you will turn into is a more confident person who wouldn't put up with such foolery. This guy is either a douche or manipulator and neither is a good trait to have in a life partner. Cut your loses and be thankful you found out now. Good luck if you choose to stay the natural journey. As someone who used to have a standing appointment every other Thursday I can tell you, it aint easy but worth it :).

Also, I disagree that your dating options will shrink. If anything I think I have attracted more men of solid character.

soldier said...

would you discuss it wit her when you start balding?. cos thats a drastic change that she didn't sign up for.

What if you were rocking a textured wave look and you grew it out?
What if she starts getting darker as she ages?, would you ask her to chemically fix it cos she was lighter when you met?

What if you shaved a side parting into your hair?

Think P. Smart said...

"3.) as a woman who's worn my hair natural & unstraightened for nearly a decade, I'm here to tell you that his aversion to puffy hair is par for the course for >90% of men, but especially black men. Your dating options drastically shrink, and if you don't have a texture that is more Mya than whoopi, they shrink even more. On top of that, your hair style can hinder you at work. It shouldn't be such a big deal but sadly it is. I gladly encourage more women to leave the scalp draino behind but I always tell them what the ramifications are so they make the decision w/ their eyes open "

THIS is what folks usually want to gloss over.

taut_7 said...

yeah she didn't sign up for it but when she met dude she looked a certain way and like i said. "it's her hair and she should be able to do what she wants with it."

also, this is not my situation. i'm only speaking on what was written. but to answer your questions.

1. that's not really a question.
2. no. i actually like dark skinned women.
3. i guess i would have just a part in my hair. *shrug*

MelaninEnriched said...

For the record, I think this is drastic and stupid, but... On one hand, he met her with long and/or straight hair, so for her to go through such a drastic change and unfavorably (to him) has him feeling some kind of way and perhaps hair was one of the main things that attracted him to her. On the other hand, it's not that serious that he should be giving her an ultimatum. I think a compromise can be reached here if he's willing to try and if she is also. I want to be mad but if a guy gained 100 lbs four years in, I may have a problem with that too.

BTW, I'm a natural head.

soldier said...

I was just curious based on your answer.

And this answer leaves me even more curious.. why is number 1) not really a question?
I meant it as a genuine question...
When he goes balding, will expect her to just accept it? or will he do like Steve Harvey or Michael Jackson and go get a filler or hair transplant so as to maintain the visual aesthetic.

The question wasn't about your personal preference it was simply using different analogies.

Rob said...

Maybe it's different because my fiance has been natural since the day I met her. I think her hair is beautiful but I don't care. I'd have to take pause if she got plastic surgery or gained 100 lbs but in the end, those are her decisions to make. I'm not leaving a good woman who gets me over her appearance. It's too easy to change.

CaliGirlED said...

I understand him not liking the potentially new style, but to say that he wouldn't stick around is a bit much. If that's really a style you want to try, do it. If he doesn't stick around, that's on him. And if he does stick around, do not let him ride you about it all the time, or start degrading you about your appearance. I once said that when I turned 40 I was going to cut my hair off and rock the short and sassy look. My boyfriend at the time looked at me like I was crazy. Yes he liked long hair. Luckily it never became an issue because we are no longer together and I did not cut my hair off when I turned 40. But it will happen one day, 45, 50 who knows. However, the decision will be mine and whoever I'm with will have to deal with it...But I will now add this to the list of another one of those things to talk about before getting into a serious relationship. LOL

thinklikeRiley said...

Riley like the long hair, bruh like to grab on and... let me not get tossed outta BougieLand.
As long is your ish look good and you pullin' it off - do you boo-boo.
Can we discuss uh - other hair? Ladies, trim da jungle.
I'll let myself out.

taut_7 said...

going bald is a circumstance of aging. that's like saying i would expect my wife to get plastic surgery if she got wrinkles. i think its apples and oranges to compare that to going natural.

Bethany Showell said...

He said what, now? I WISH somebody WOULD step to me about some ish like that. His azz needs to be dropkicked from life.

My philosophy on my hair and anything else that represents my physical self is I do it for ME. I am not changing hair, clothing, makeup, etc for anyone's pleasure but my own.

Someone who has quite clearly said that he is only with you for one reason is NOT worthy of you. Ever.
Earlier in life I was told by an ex-SO that he wanted to make a deal w/me - if I grew my hair (I love my hair short and it was short even before I went natural) I could continue biting my nails OR I could keep my hair short if I stopped biting my nails. Even though I was young and dumb(er), I did neither because even then I felt like that was none of his damn business.

LovelyLocks you need to take a long hard look at yourSELF because to even ask this question...

This has me so HEATED. I just CAN'T!

Deb B said...

I distinctly remember the day my ex-husband told me that if I 1) Got a weave, 2) Wore more makeup, and 3) lost 20 pounds he would stay. It was the literal straw that broke the camel's back. I get that men have preferences and they feel like if they "bought" a certain package, that's what they should get to keep but life doesn't work that way.

Jasmin said...

I'm here to tell you that his aversion to puffy hair is par for the course for >90% of men, but especially black men.

I hear lots of women say this, so I don't think they're lying, but this has never happened to me. Ever. I spend less time around grown people now, since I work in a school, but just as many guys hit on me now as they did when I had relaxed hair down my back. *shrug*

Andrea M said...

I'm going to assume she knew she has a shallow-azz ninja and decided to test just how superficial he really is. Now that she knows, she can stay with him knowing that if she gains more than five pounds, develops athlete's foot, has an extended case of acne - dude is out. Enjoy him, he's a catch.

.tisha said...

As a nice parting gift--because he would SURELY be exiting out of *my* life--I'd give him a picture of me with all my natural-fied hair.

Smh.

Trey Charles said...

Okay so brutha doesn't like change but uh - it's hair, man. I've been with women who changed that up every month. Unless it looks a mess, I couldn't care less.

Mykeia said...

I don't even know where to begin here.
This is sad.
As a black woman, I have to say that the ability to change our hair texture is one of the things that really sets us apart from other women and I thought that most men, especiall black men loved this about us...maybe that's just my partner....which makes me wonder is her partner black/AA?
I also have to say that when you let someone tell you how to express yourself in one way (hair is a form of expression) this can lead to them believing that they can change you in other ways too...and in the end you lose yourself.
**Side note, I stopped perming about six months ago and I am loving it...not supporting the billion $$$ industry that is not owned by blacks. Flat iron and pressin' comb, old school.

Good luck.

Good post again, OneChele!

Leon X said...

I have said this before in BougieLand. If the hair is on your head, then it's good hair... unless your Donald Trump. Then an ultimatum is in order.

Sasha in Stilettos said...

This goes into the "I wish a motherf**** would" files

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Everybody's experience is different, but there was marked shift in the number of men (and mostly in the number of black men) who approached me. I also get approached more by non-black men. And even the type of black man that approached changed. It went from guys generally around my age to older (40+) men. And, since wearing my hair unstraightened, I've had more unfortunate experiences with black men being initially drawn to the idea that I might be mixed (because of my hair texture) and then becoming visibly disappointed when I inform them that I'm black.

maureen palmer said...

I know this letter might sound draconian, but yap it does happen. When I transitioned from perm to natural, I cut my hair very short and I had two guys tell me they like their women with straight/permed hair. One of the guys actually told me perm will soften my African features. LeSigh!

Jesse said...

Some guys get locked into a "type" - long straight hair, light skin, petite - whatever and they can't see past it. He has pictured himself with this type and nothing else will do. Short-sighted.

Yvonne Bynoe said...

I've rocked nearly every style under the sun: braids, short natural and relaxed hair (short,long and medium length. I won't even discuss hair colors. I've had male attention regardless of the hair style. Moreover, I've never discussed my hair styles with my SO in advance. It's my hair, my decision.

Only once did someone want ask whether I'd be willing to change my hair color. He was nice about it, I declined and we happily went on.

Perhaps over the years I've been fortunate but I think that this "hair issue" speaks more about the quality of these guys than anything else. Someone who's fixated about hair will likely have a problem down the road about some other ish (weight, wrinkles, less jiggly parts)...that's superficial and in the grand scheme inconsequential to a healthy, loving relationship.

Troy said...

*dapping Riley up*

La said...

Why is this even a discussion?

He's willing to peace out on a 4 year investment BECAUSE OF A HAIRSTYLE?! Sounds like maybe he wants a way out and just needed an excuse.

Cut him loose, then cut your hair, Lovely Locks. You will feel great about both.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

You know, I've heard men say this before about not wanting drastic change, mostly in regards to a woman's appearance. What bothers me about this fact is that most men don't ever get past the initial reaction to the change (or the possibility of change) to adjusting to it.

Violet Rose said...

Chele - aren't you a long-hair diva? Would you cut your hair for a man?

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Likewise. Manscaping is a necessity. Clippers, scissors, whatever it takes. Little Bunny Foofoo does NOT want to go hopping through the forest, if you get my drift. *follows Riley out of Bougieland*

BlackButterfly said...

Let's pray... Please allow every woman in this world to come to the realization that they are NEVER to value or devalue themselves based on the aesthetic or superficial interests of a man. How I define my "pretty" is up to me. Amen!

Lovely Locs-

I am sure there are times when we all have been in a situation where an S.O. has expressed a dislike for a particular outfit or hairstyle but to make it a relationship deal breaker is a FAIL! He has shown what he values and you need to decide if that is how you want to live. The best thing that you can ever do for yourself is to be true to you in all areas of your life.

This world has propagandized to death too many men as well as women into believing that there is a superior standard of beauty and that includes long straight hair. Unfortunately it can be difficult (although not impossible) to find a male that hasn't been indoctrinated into that way of thinking. The more of us (women and men) that refuse to allow ourselves to be defined in any way by a fictional standard of beauty the better.

OneChele said...

My father had a hair thing. I cut my hair all off in college and he literally cried. Bless his West Indian heart. He felt that hair was a woman's crowning glory. I grew it back out. Mostly because short hair required too much maintenance and my face looks better with a frame around it.

To answer your question, I wouldn't change my hair in any way for a man. Either love it or leave it alone.

soldier said...

Ain't this the truth. Dude.. shave it off.

OneChele said...

No he didn't. Seriously?

OneChele said...

*snickers* sarcasm dot com?

soldier said...

ahh I see where you are coming from.

But I don't think you see where I am coming from.
Balding is natural, but some people don't like it and you can do something about it. Men have been doing something about it for decades. Tom Cruise, Steve Harvey, Michael (heck the whole Jackson clan)

going natural is well... natural.
She is simply going to do what comes naturally and is a circumstance of birth. They are exactly the same.

OneChele said...

Woo-sah. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

.tisha said...

Wow. Your number 3 reads like you've have some really bad experiences. And as sista who rocks her hair sans relaxer (that's me in my "sisterlocked glory" in my avi. :D)—-and has for almost 10 years now, I hate that for you--and any other sista who experiences it.

But....that's not everyone's testimony, and I think it's lightweight settin' sisters up. For me--it seemed like more men approached me when I was wearing my giant fro/twa/locks, than when I was in college and had relaxed long hair (or short hair; I had both). I've continued to rise within my company and I started with natural hair.

But you know what? Neither of those things were my litmus test when I decided what I wanted to do with my hair. My ex-husband was encouraging and made me feel nothing short of beautiful whether I had a TWA, locs, or a big 70s fro. That was awful rewarding but again, of little to no regard. I needed to feel good about me. Everything and everyone else was gravy.

The opportunity that doesn't present itself because of how you wear your hair (and in this instance I'm talking relaxed vs. natural)--opportunity being a man, a job, a whatEVER, is one well missed IMO.

OneChele said...

The "after four years" thing threw me.

GrownAzzMan said...

Allen Iverson rant HAIR! WE TALKING ABOUT HAIR! NOT SUBSTANCE, NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE, HAIR! Quietly walks out of Bougieland shaking his head...

JaymeC said...

This is sad but I see it all the time. I unfortunately counseled a couple last week where the woman had breast cancer and they were bickering over the size of her implants for reconstructive surgery. Instead of celebrating the fact that she's beating the disease, they are sitting in my office talking about C cup versus D cup. At some point, people have to just decide to accept each other on an "as is" basis.

Bianca said...

I really don't think this is the only comment/action that he used to tell her who he really is. She is just not listening. It hurts me when I see or hear of women doing things to "keep" a man, he wants to leave he just needed a reason for her to believe it's her fault. Personally telling me I can't do something to my own body is a way to really make me change color and start steaming from my ears. It really pissed me off when my ex said if I got a tattoo he would not be responsible it he no longer found me attractive since he liked me how I was. Many years later we're not together I have a few tattoos and he's still asking me to give him another chance so i suppose the guy in the letter is a bit immature and may change his mind later, the real lesson is for the girl to stand up to him now, no give in and relax her hair.

Mykeia said...

Speechless. Wow.

Mony_Mony said...

I'm with you. In my experience, I haven't had any attention garnering black male attention and often one of the first things they say is that they love my hair. I've never dated interracially (and generally don't get approached by non-black men regardless of my hairstyle) so I can't comment on non-black guys. When I go out, I get approached by (and compliment on my hair from) all types of guys, from the "educated" brother in a Cosby sweater to the round-the-way guy (and also from youngins in their early 20's on up). I didn't get any more male attention than usual the one time I went out with my hair straightened, despite the fact that I fit the LSLH stereotype with my hair halfway down my back.

I've also had no negative implications in my career and I've worked at both corporations and firms in one of the most conservative professions (law).

Mykeia said...

Awww, Rob! She's so lucky!

OneChele said...

Oh Riley...

mojitochica said...

Please elaborate more on hair styles hindering folks at work. Specifically natural hair styles since that is the context of this post.

OneChele said...

Rob. Points score for this right here: I'm not leaving a good woman who gets me over her appearance. It's too easy to change.

OneChele said...

The ultimatum seemed a little extreme, right?

Bethany Showell said...

That is the EXACT phrase I said to a friend when telling them about this post...

rozb said...

And he doesn't have a big-A dent in the back of his head from the cast iron skillet?

soldier said...

lol. rozb, I missed your dry wit. :)

rozb said...

I had to do laps in the parking lot about this one! Sounds to me like he is manipulative and just plain nasty.

If I were you, and I'm not, I would just tell him to go with what he feels while you do you. Then get thee to a fly-A salon and get the baddest short cut you can find for you, buy some giant gorgeous earrings, and proceed to rock the world of the next man who will love you whether you are bald, blind, crippled, or crazy (well - maybe not crazy, but you get my drift).

Don't worry about keeping him - work on keeping you. And kick him square in his manipulative, corny taint for that garbage. Down the line this will be the same man who will measure your food because you gained five pounds of baby weight or your body doesn't compare to younger women. Meanwhile his butt gets less toned, he gets extra elbow and knee creases from saggy ashy skin, and he has a hair halo. But it will be okay for him to critique you because that is what you signed up for.

blackprofessor said...

I am so with you about Donald Trump! Can someone free that "thing" on his head??

rozb said...

Thanks, Soldier. But for real tho - I could envision him hitting the4 floor after getting seriously clocked from the back, just before I stepped over him and was out.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I am righ >< here with you on the fact that a woman shouldn't let the worst case scenarios keep her from making a decision to try something new, embrace her hair as it grows out of her scalp, etc. I also don't want her to be surprised by the new types of encounters that she will experience because her hair is viewed as "other".

If you are confident with your hair, and you are pleased with yourself and your appearance, then people will tend to respond positively to you. But natural hair is still, sadly, not the norm for women and some people will not respond positively no matter how confident you are. You can be prepared for that reality, rock your afro, and shake the haters off.

Qalil said...

I agree. It is his own shortcoming that he is attaching to her. Nothing to do with her or her hair actually.

Qalil said...

We already have soft African features. I don't get it. Soft lips, soft bosoms, soft butts... :-) j/k

I know what you mean though and boy oh boy... no boy.

Qalil said...

I think it is set free every night.

blackprofessor said...

Leave this child-in-a-man's-body alone! He is shallow, superficial and rigid in his thinking in terms of what defines a "good" woman. His rigidity suggests that he has other ish going on that you don't want to deal with that may or may not have come to the surface. Plus, I don't think he is just that into you as he wouldn't let a hairstyle derail a relationship that he cared about. Do yourself a favor and run like Forrest Gump.

Kandra said...

I am having a flashback. Years ago I was dating a guy who was angry with me when I cut my long locs off and got a perm. He was furious. I broke up with him because obviously he loved the image not me. Dont date anyone that thinks its appropriate to dictate your appearances. This dude you with is tripping. If you have been together four years and he is ending it because of your hair tell him to kick rocks and move on. You are both really young and he obviously isn't one that will stick around at a hint of difficult times. Love yourself first.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I've had a partner in a technoloy consulting firm tell me that I didn't look like a consultant because of my afro. He was someone in my service line, who decided my pay and promotion ability. I was at the hair salon the next week getting a flat iron. Sure, I could have filed a complaint, but there was no evidence and it would have been difficult to prove my case.

Usually it's not as blatant as that. It's usually the rush of compliments that you get when you get your hair straightened (to get the ends trimmed for example), or the more positive responses from managers and those who can help your career when your hair is straight or pulled back in a smooth bun. Most people aren't going to do something that will sustain an HR complaint. It's the more subtle ways that you are either excluded or not necessarily given the plum opportunities because the decision makers are more comfortable with people who look like them (or close to it).

I've also worked at conservative workplaces, so that's another factor. When I worked for a state agency no one really cared, but the companies in corporate america were much less likely to have a bunch of women rocking natural hair, locs, afros, and the like.

Qalil said...

Hurrah! Me neither. I've determined that until there are some good products out there, all I'm sticking to is the $2 packet of shikakai powder, $2 coconut oil jar and $10 unrefined shea butter (although I need to find out who owns the company that puts it in the damn containers). Coz I ain't down with pouring my $$ into businesses that don't respeck me! Naw!

CorettaJG said...

Exactly. Makes me think what would this brotha do if she did have a terminal illness? Got in an accident? Or had something else that she didn't plan happen that changed her hair/appearance. Whatever dude.

Jeannette said...

Let's talk about she's been with him for 4 years and something as simple as a haircut would make him chunk the deuces... Chile get a Amber Rose buzz cut. Methinks he will string you along for other sillier reasons eventually..

Qalil said...

But not on the day you want to romp around coz sharp just shaved hair can play havoc on delicate skin. Can't do that... OR use VEET!

Joycelyn Curry said...

I can agree with the dating options shrinking as I have been natural since 2002 before it became really popular. It is not as bad now that more people are doing it but in the early days even my daddy was making comments about how I should grow my hair back and all that. He almost fainted when he saw it post big chop. That being said, your hair is yours and how you decide to wear it is up to you. If he is issuing ultimatums over something this trivial, imagine what will happen when there is a real issue to discuss.

Qalil said...

Why would you? It's your hair. I don't understand how this makes any kind of sense...

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

All I'm getting from this letter is that he was more into the image of her than he was into the substance of her. As for me, relaxers and my hair/scalp do not agree. I was in denial for 15 years (relaxed at 11), and I have since learned to care for and embrace my natural hair. If some dude has a problem with it, he can go. I'm not revisiting burns, hair loss and frequent scalp irritation for no one - not even my mother.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

"One of the guys actually told me perm will soften my African features. "

Because we all know that something is wrong with having those features. *side eye* Please tell me that you gave that man-boy an epic telling-off.

Mony_Mony said...

Wow. That's beyond sad.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

O_O I can't say what I want to say about him on Bougieland. Chele would have me carted off.

SingLikeSassy said...

*deep, heavy sigh* First, dude took chick's money talmbout "you stalking me" and now this. ::in my Wayne Brady on Dave Chappelle show voice:: Is SingLikeSassy gonna have to choke a ninja? I'm gonna have to get off this computer and choke -- I'm not violent, I try not to be...

Leave this dude. Leave him. Cut your hair or don't cut it, but leave this dude. That is all.

David Chase said...

I wonder how much of this is because of what he's thinking or what he thinks his boys will say if he's not with that "prototype" - either way, he needs to grow up. If his only complaint is about a hairstyle, he's an idiot to let that go. I like long hair but I'm a "sum of all parts" guy. She could shave that shiggity off if she's got some class, a sense of humor and can broil a steak.

Qalil said...

Lovely locks,

Nah-uh. Whatchu running after this man for? He only likes your hair. If you really want to make him happy, let's get the shears right now and package them. We'll wrap them with a bow and he can marry all of it without your involvement.

Be careful. You allow him to dictate your hair style choices and soon he'll be dictating other things, like working when y'all have kids.

Yeah. It's a no-go. But then anyone who knows me, knows NOT to say such wr-ieatchet-ness.

JazzaBelle said...

Wait, what???? So after four years of being with someone he would let you go over hair! Well at least you know how he would react when sickness and health issues arise. Oh and forget having a child and gaining weight. Clearly he was in love with the image of you. Once you leave you should buy him a hair mannequin with long flowing locks of hair. He can make love to that since your hair is such a big issue.

Mony_Mony said...

Cough*John McCain*Cough

William Martin said...

Step away from BougieLand for a day or two and all hell breaks loose.
To keep it simple - a man that will leave you over a haircut is looking to leave any damn way.
Next.

William Martin said...

I saw so much out of pocket drama when I picked up extra shifts at the Cancer Treatment Center. A man sobbed for a day over the loss of his wife's breast. Damn the fact that she was going through chemo, all he wanted to know was how soon she could get the reconstructive surgery. You really see what people are made of in difficult times.

Hair tho?!

William Martin said...

Someone should cut Donald's hair.... with a machete.

AppleBerryMIA said...

I really am.

Man's World said...

I did have a chick ask me to cut my hair (I was growing out a Tito Jackson 1968 fro at the time) before I met her parents. No. People that ask you to do things like that are essentially saying "I like you but..."
No buts. What would she have said if I asked her to lose ten pounds before meeting my folks? Um-hmm.
No.

E Morris said...

You and I both I had to walk around the block to try and cool off after my vent on this.

thatbrowngirl said...

When I first met my BF, I had natural hair that was blown out and long. Fast forward 5 years when we started dating and I have short hair that I rarely straighten, if at all. I know his preference is for me to straighten my hair and when he first told me that I responded that he could kick rocks. I'm a curly girl and thats how I like to wear my hair. However, I'm all for wearing my hair straight on occasion because I know he likes it, but I liken that to me wearing his favorite color or outfit. The bottom line is 1) in any relationship you have to love and be true to yourself first and 2) it's just hair. If you love him a lot, then explain to him that you have as many, if not more options as a natural girl than with your hair processed. If he still huffs and puffs, cut it any way and see how he reacts. Some men hem and haw about hair until they see a fly woman with short or natural hair (um, Amber Rose has had no problem getting a man). And, if he leaves, I'm sure there will be a man who will gladly take his place and value your natural beauty.

Micki said...

I am not so fired up about this. That money post had me cussing. I big chopped months ago. It wasn't about anyone but myself. I know some people may not like it and that's ok. But when it comes to my man, I am from the school of thought that you are going to love it not matter how I present it to you. If you don't love it, then damnit you WILL miss it. *thinking about Riley's post*

LovelyLocks KNOWS what she is dealing with. She KNOWS that it is foul and so the opposite of "love". This is probably not the first time that control and ultimatums have reared their ugly head.

RUN! Run very fast.

CaliGirlED said...

Don't forget those armpits!

CorettaJG said...

When I transitioned to natural hair almost two years ago, I received lots of compliments from brothers and still do (except for my dad - even though he did give me his 1970's era afro pick which I take as moral support). My hair is an average texture and I think the best thing is to rock it with confidence and keep it looking healthy and professional.

However, while I was in law school, I knew a couple of women who wore wigs for interviews in order to avoid any issues with conservative majority law firms - especially since we were at a fairly conservative law school in the South - Vanderbilt.

I'm in the Air Force JAG Corps and have generally gotten a positive response, except, strangely enough from a Colonel, a sister, who believes natural hair is unprofessional.

I would not mind my husband stating his preferences (just like I have about beards, etc) but at the end of the day, I make the ultimate decision, I live with the consequences, and if it natural hair is a deal breaker for a relationship, that's exactly what I needed to know.

CaliGirlED said...

See I'm so damn stubborn I would have 1) Cut my hair real real short, 2) Cleaned my face with alcohol so that no remnants of makeup was left (yep eyes burning and all), and 3) gained 20 more pounds! Even if I had considered doing the things he wanted. That ultimatum would have made me do a complete 180!...I'm workin on it yall! LOL

CaliGirlED said...

Somebody told him wrong! Besides while a perm may straighten your "African features", it is also sucking the life out of your hair, making it dry and brittle.

CaliGirlED said...

I have a co-worker who was faced with a double mastectomy, and she was concerned with the reconstructive procedure. Her husband told her something to the effect of her breast not defining her as a woman and that he wasn't concerned about it. I told her she had an awesome husband! (And I think too having just lost her sister to breast cancer right before that, he was appreciative of the fact that she was STILL alive!)

CaliGirlED said...

"Instead of celebrating the fact that she's beating the disease, they are sitting in my office talking about C cup versus D cup." Some people just don't get it!

Cherelle D. Mattox said...

I'm with you CalGirlEd. My best friend had breast cancer and her then BF now fiancee said the same thing about her breasts and her hair. I told her how blessed she was to have a man that had some sense in this crazy world.

C Nelson said...

I know the personal is political and all, but ... "what you'll turn into"? You'll turn into a person who (probably) actually likes the hair that grows out of your head and doesn't need to drop hundreds at the salon every month. Or maybe someone with enough confidence to not buy that tripe he's trying to sell you. DTMFA. Then do whatever you want to your hair -- you'll be you, but probably happier! I keep coveting SisterLocks, but it's going to have to wait till I'm in Melbourne and find a consultant to do the upkeep. My fiance gets some input on occasional styles, but I have final say. Why? 'Cause it's my hair, and I have to live with it and be happy with it first and foremost. So do you. :)

Think P. Smart said...

Right! Cus I was just about to ask her what happen once the police arrived!

aishao1122 said...

I'm not even reading the comments before i type this here up:
1) Girl O_o why why are you even asking this dumb question.
2) take a seat and just listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_5jIt0f5Z4 <~~~~ Please put on REPEAT until it sinks in to your head
3) as a woman who had tried everything but weave, and recently went to locks 2 years ago, it's a lot of work, if you caved to him you weren't really into going natural, it only took him asking (ok demanding) you not to and you did it. If you were serious you would have done it and eff what he had to say 'bout it
4) I have always gotten more attention from white and latino men when my hair was natural (much like the woman in the picture hair texture) than black men, rock it straight and brothers come crawling out the wood work (no shade, just what has always happened)
5) I can't even believe you listened to him and THEN thought about it O_o at you woman act like you know and do your hair anyway you want, but do it because YOU want it, not anyone else
*Jumps off high horse, and walks away*

CaliSlim said...

People are entitled to their preferencces. I know I would hate if my grown ass man started rocking cornrows. But it's his hair. If I love him for him I'd just have to deal.

Do what YOU want with YOUR hair. You never know what could happen, he could end up loving it, you could hate it. As long as you understand the potential consequences...trial and error is what life is about. But don't let the fear of losing him hold you back. Anyone who is worth it would never leave you over something so trivial.

Jamie Wesley said...

Having a preference is fine. Delivering ultimatums about HAIR is not. I find it hard to believe this is the first time he's shown how shallow he can be.

You asked, "What would you do?"

I'd do what made me happy whether that was getting a relaxer or going natural. But my question is what do YOU want to do? Where do you see this relationship going? You've been with him for four years. Is this the guy you want to spend the rest of your life with? It's easy for us to tell you to get rid of him, but we don't know you, him, or your relationship. I think you need to do some soul-searching.

Afua Emma said...

Although I have been following this blog for about a year now I have never commented until now. This natural vs perm talk has been going on so much lately that even I'm even tired of it. Yes I'm a natural and my boyfriend has a love/ hate relationship for my fro. Sometimes he likes it sometimes he doesn't but it has never gotten to the point where I have received an ultimatum. To me its just hair but although it is that simple, it is mine and I choose what I want to do with it. I'm sorry but if a man is willing to leave you over hair (which is pretty trivial), what else is he willing to leave you over? Just a thought

DB said...

Which physical or cosmetic changes are okay to leave someone over? Which are not? Is hairstyle is not okay? Is weight gain okay?

Iced_Coffee_Sweet_Tea_Diva said...

"...I asked him if my hair change would affect our relationship and he said I could have him or I could go natural but he wasn't sticking around for what I would turn into. Jeez, it's not that serious. I was just going to try it. I went and got the perm. But now I'm wondering - did he really ask me to choose between him and a hairstyle? What would you do?..."

Le Big Sigh....I was engaged to a manipulative, church-going ninja who could be the model for this ninja! Besides not liking anything but straight/flat/don't look kinky hair, he constantly scolded me about laughing or frowning because "it will make lines on your forehead". (And we aren't going to talk about the fact that *he* colored his scalp with theatrical greasepaint to 'disguise' his thinning hair; his shirts had to go to a professional launderer to be washed because the black paint would run from his scalp onto his collars. But I digress.)

LovelyLocks, precious young woman, you are NOT your hair! And like someone else said, if this is all it takes to make him melt down, he was a) looking for an excuse or b) you've not shared how else he controls your life. Men trip over hair. Period, end of story. Hair takes up a lot of superficial emotions in our culture. People have something to say no matter if it's short, long, weaved, natural, straight, curly, locs, twists, braids or bride of Frankenstein! As I told the (male) residents in a recovery program when they asked if my pressed 'do was "your hair" - whether a woman bought it or grew it (like mine), it is hers, and life will be peaceful if you don't ask her 'is that your hair?' If you want to do a big chop, do it! Aside from my mama putting me on punishment for two weeks when I chopped mine off before college, the sky didn't fall in and no one died. As one who has rocked different looks/lengths over my life, chemical-free is a good thing if that's how you want to go. Good luck with the next style that you choose, and I sincerely hope that you lose his number, lose the directions to his house, and lose him.

BB Waite said...

Do you love the person? Or do you love their dress size? Hairstyle? Eye color?

BB Waite said...

Now this is the purest truth. He was looking for a way out.

AndyHopper said...

I don't even get this... My BF actually convinced me to go natural. After years of breakage and annoyance he told me to eff the relaxer. He said he liked the straight hair, but it could go if it meant less stress, healthier hair, and money in my pocket. ...And I have never been happier and so is he. With his encouragement and support I stuck with it (even when I was jones-ing for a relaxer)... That is the kind of man you need in your life, someone who is going to support your decisions inspite of his personal preferences... BOO on this dude!

Iced_Coffee_Sweet_Tea_Diva said...

What. Micki. said!!!

Steve said...

Once again, I have to wonder if we're getting the whole story. Four years in and he's talking about a hairstyle? Not a lifestyle, a hairstyle? GTFOH

rozb said...

*fist bump* Pass the afro pick with the fist.

mojitochica said...

You should have contacted HR. Your incident was blatant discrimination and illegal based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/race-color.html#VIIB5. You should have stood up for your rights, and it's on you that you didn't. You hair has absolutely nothing to do with your job performance. I have worked in corporate America for the last 10 years and have had zero problems with my natural hair. My work speaks for itself not my hair.

Crystal said...

THANK YOU!!!!!!! It is hair, not a drastic change as some people have described it. A drastic change is getting a job in another country, moving an elderly/sick parent into you and your mates home, dealing with illness/injury, having children, not cutting your hair off and deciding to not get a perm anymore. In the grand scheme of things called life hair is negative on the richter scale!!! Real Grown Men and Women in Real Grown relationships don't get their panties in a bunch over hair!!! THANK YOU!!!

kjnetic aka Peter Parker said...

"Men, has a woman ever asked you to change something about yourself? If so what, and did you do it?"

N/A

"Would you break up with a woman over a haircut?"

if she purposely went bald, Cesar, high top boosie fade.... i'd seriously consider it. it's not something i would argue with her over, but if it's a GF, and if the hair just KILLS the attractiveness...then i would think about (in my head) just ending the relationship.

i haven't read any responses yet, but i get the feeling i should be pro-active..

*puts on the dunce cap*

*heads over to the corner*

http://i55.tinypic.com/bg8gf5.jpg

mojitochica said...

Lovely Locks, transition or do a big chop right now and give him your relaxed ends since he's so attached to them. You need to drop kick this dude pronto. Consider your natural hair as protection from shallow azz idiots.

MariSol said...

Didn't we just have the "I am not my hair" lecture? Did she miss that episode of BougieLand Rocks?

Iced_Coffee_Sweet_Tea_Diva said...

...As for me, relaxers and my hair/scalp do not agree. ...
And that's the big irony: many of us have hair that doesn't even tolerate chemicals, but we keep killing off cells with them!

Iced_Coffee_Sweet_Tea_Diva said...

And tea tree oil!

Natasha Hunter said...

"theatrical grease paint" has me holding my sides... He had the Earl Scheib huh? LMBO!!

Natasha Hunter said...

Word up!

Natasha Hunter said...

This got glazed over but being the G that I am, I'mma go on and say it:

"If you can't grab on to a pixie, a cute lil' twist-out or twa... you might need riding lessons."

No disrespect intended, but you know I prescribe to the each one teach one method... the short hair ladies can get it in too and prolly won't be saying "Ouch, watch the tracks!"

GDB said...

First, yes dude did go a bit overboard with the ultimatum…but I understand. This is not even about natural vs. perm, because I’ve witnessed men throw fits over length- long to short.

Whereas LL as processed her thoughts about her hair and why she wants to go natural, he has no idea or has yet to have the time to mentally go through this transition. Does LL know what natural hair (any type means to him), especially if it’s not only linked to the “beauty myth”? Does he see himself more as a “corporate man” who needs to fit a type, and so should his woman?

As a compromise, instead of making a drastic cut and going natural, has LL considered braids (natural) hair so that they both can get used to the new look? Has she explained to him the reasons why she wants to do it? Let’s say, it’s tied into a new “outlook” in life; then why not involve/educate him on this new mindset, etc…

At the end of the day, it is LL’s decision but definitely don’t give in or cut him off without determining why he is resisting.

SassyJJ said...

Grrrr...can't respond from work *damn government job*

Everyone has said pretty much what I felt. Lovely Locks, do you, evaluate the BF's presence in your life, and keep it moving.

I went natural in 2001 (during college) and loced in 2002. My waist-length crown of glory draws the admirers...fa real! Hair is hair. It can grow back or you can buy back the length. We, as people, are in constant flux and the hair can reflect that. As another Bouge said earlier, if homie can't be with you through *this* kind of change, how will he be on a much larger scale?

smooches

Joy Andrews said...

Girl you better learn to do you now before you find yourself changing up everytime dude says jump.

J. Jackson said...

I. Can't. With ol' boy. Are you serious? People are still tripping about hair in 2011? *rolls eyes*

I've rocked everything from a perm to a fro... Haven't had any problems with any hairstyle. My dad (my he RIP) liked my hair long, but like I told him, "You're not the one who has to manage this hair, I do." So when I cut it, he was upset at first, but he got over it.

Lovely, I would say cut your losses with dude. There's a saying that says, "When someone shows you their true colors, believe them." It's obvious that is with you for shallow reasons. He's such a douchebag. Sorry y'all... I'm just having a moment.

tiffanyinhouston said...

I'm all late with it but I hope you broke up with him tonight and cut your hair in the morning. You are too young and life is too short for his bullshit.

BrendaKay said...

This week's "Ask a Bougie Chick" has been one of the most infuriating in recent memory.

While I'm trying extra hard to understand LovelyLocks bf's point of view, most especially in light of his admission that one of the things he loves about her is her long permed hair. The Mature Bougie side of me is screaming, "LovelyLocks, your bf sounds like a control freak with his selfish and childish threat to end the relationship over how you style your hair!"

Is this really the sort of relationship you want to be in, LovelyLocks?

Today it's an ultimatum about how you do your hair. Next week or next month, it's an ultimatum about how you dress. Somewhere down the line it's an ultimatum about the sex life. Where does it end? Emotionally mature men don't make threats such as this over an easily discussed issue such as how you want to do your hair.

Brittany Geneva said...

...but she went and got the perm, though? NOOO!!! I been natural for about 8 months after a very long time of saying I'd never do it. But when I decided to make that move, I made it for myself, forget anyone else's opinion!

And let's not get started on how this man's view has been completely WARPED by the European standard of beauty that has permeated our society...

Only The Tall said...

I bet you five dollars this ninja has beady-beads on his chest. Ninja please, you are dismissed!

Bianca said...

oh, west Indian father, so "ruh roh" does mean what I know it to mean ok back to the topic.

Mony_Mony said...

West Indian father and grandfathers. All three didn't really care what texture you were rocking (though my dad prefers straight), as long as it was loooooong. I cut all of my hair off when I was 14 (intending to go natural, but my hairdresser told me my hair "couldn't do that" and gave me a texturizer instead), and had told my mom I was gonna do it but not my dad. When my dad saw my hair he had a FIT, and kept asking why nobody had told him. That was my first introduction into how strongly some men feel about hair. Apparently my mom got in trouble for that one.

When I cut my hair a few years ago to go natural (apparently my hair can do that...), my Papa once jokingly called my brother and I his two grandsons. As far as I remember, my Nana kept her hair long until his death, though she had several different short wigs.

You can teach an old dog new tricks, though. My other Papa was also a long hair lover and as far as I know my grandma also didn't cut her hair at all through their married life. After her death, he eventually got remarried to a woman who wears her hair about an inch long. He may not love it, but he loves her.

AndreaPlaid said...

Late to the thread—my apologies. I’m stuck on this right here:

but he wasn't sticking around for what I would turn into.

What exactly does he think you’re going to “turn into” if you went natural…besides, perhaps, a happier person about your decision? Unless what he’s implying is that he can’t stick around for your own self-induced happiness/satisfaction/confidence. Because the deities know a woman who makes herself happy in one sense just may apply that to other part of her life….next thing you know, she’s ordering the Rabbit Pearl from the Babeland website and pleasuring herself. Oh, the horror! (/end sarcasm)

Lovely, I’m with the other commenters: DTMA.

Angel Blanca said...

Thanks for the info on shikaki powder! *adds it to my list* I've been using a 50/50 coconut/shea mix for most of the past year, and I love what it's done for my hair.

Annette Evans said...

This is a good indicator that this is probably not the guy to spend the rest of your life with.

rikyrah said...

I've been natural for 6 years. if a man asked me to put a perm or weave in my hair, I'd say nice knowing you.

Nadette said...

*kicks over small stack of books* GIRL! Where is your pride? "Not what he signed up for" - are you joking with that? <----my feelings exactly. No further comments necessary.

MyDatingHangovers said...

It's so hard not to go off off on a tangent, but this post? Interesting. Sadly, this issue with the hair could very well be the turning point of "no thanks" in this woman's relationship, and to play devil's advocate, some folks need to be honest with themselves and ask the same questions.

Deal breaker physical and cosmetic changes?

For me, physical changes would certainly include extreme weight gain (I'm not talking about that 5 or 10lbs that just to come out of nowwhere), but someone's suddenly becoming one cheeseburger away from the next lap band candidate. Medical conditions/medications, understandable.

Cosmetic? Well if my guy suddenly decided he wanted to grow dreads or rock a bald fade when I fell in love with his pocahontas braids? That's tough. I'm attracted to certain things about a man and the adjustment or something completely opposite than what I'm used to and what I'd loved about a person originally? I might have the same reaction as this guy did, the natural look may not be is cup of tea.

Many people make these types of decisions as part of their own personal growth. I'm pretty open to it and joke with my beau that a boob lift and maybe a nose job might be in the future , and while he argues against both, "says" he'd understand and respect my decision.

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