It’s such a significant rite of passage that it should be one of those moments where you know exactly where you were and what you were doing at the time. Yet, I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I got my hair hot combed (straightened) for the first time. High school-ish is probably a safe bet.
A more important question, was it done at home or in a salon? A home press would have meant a hot comb served straight off the stove’s red eye in the hands of a family member versus a professional. If you’re not familiar with the term ‘hot comb’, imagine a regular comb made out of iron. You then lay the hot comb down directly on the stove’s eye like you would a pot. The point of contact allows the comb to heat up to straighten curly, coily and kinky hair. So hmmm, it must have been at home the first time, which is a scary thought! In my later years, I purchased an electric hot comb I could plug into the wall and control the heat settings.
When I did graduate to salon visits, the hot comb lived in that perfect, little oval black holder and made the whole salon smell like straight heat! Whether on the stove at home or in a professional salon, you KNOW that smell I’m talking about when the comb touches the hair. I’m sure if I smelled it now, I’d instantly be transported back to 1997 in high school.
In college around ’98 or ’99, a little hair miracle called the CHI (chee) was born or at least introduced into my circle. It was amazing because it was ceramic, heated up instantly and supposedly protected the hair much better than a hot comb. It was almost as much of a status symbol as walking around with a cup of Starbucks. We paid over $100 for the CHI back then.
In September 2015, I attended one of my best friend’s wedding in Seattle. As matron of honor, the thought of NOT getting my hair flat ironed and styled didn’t even cross my mind. I happily booked my appointment with my amazing stylist and got my hair laid, honey.
Little did I know, that would be the last time my hair touched a flat iron.
I literally woke up one day and wanted to make sure my then four-year old knew how amazingly blessed and beautiful her natural curls were. How could she think that if she only saw mommy with straight hair? So…
So that brings us to present day and exactly two years since I broke up with my flat iron! It hasn’t always been easy. My curls do what they want, when they want. When annoying frizz shows up as a result of me overdoing a style, I miss straight hair. Don’t even get me started on how my curly hair had a flat out tantrum during a business trip to ATL this week. I ended up wearing it in a pineapple all week.
But overall, I’m happy with my choice to break up with my flat iron. I love my natural hair and do think my curls are now part of my personal brand. BUT, if you see me one day down the road with straight hair for a moment, don’t judge, just know I needed a quick change and I’ll always be in a Curly Courtship ❤!