mane man: Pasha

Here at mane man we’re all about the hair.  When I first met this guy I thought that he had awesome curly hair (and quite the sense of humor).  I’m happy to introduce you to Pasha!  Read a little bit about his experience with his curly mane and what he does to maintain his ‘do.  Pasha writes for the Examiner about special education and Autism.  If you’re interested in reading more about Autism subscribe to his page. Check out my interview with Pasha below!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Pasha and I’m from Los Angeles. I work with special needs children as a therapist and teacher, mainly children on the Autism spectrum. I also write about special needs kids for Examiner.com

Have you always worn your hair curly?
Well I don’t own a toupee so I don’t believe I “wear” my hair. I promise that’s my only sarcastic comment for the rest of this thing. In any case, my hair has always been curly since birth, except for a weird few months in 2006 when I cut it really short and it grew out straight. But it curled back up soon after that. Although it has ranged from frizzy curly fuzz ball to sexy curly coif.

Young Pasha

What do you do to your hair on a daily basis (what’s your routine)?
Other than conditioning it, I just use some anti-frizz, leave-in conditioner, because my hair can get uber fuzzy. Then I sort of press it down in certain problem places, like on the sides, so it doesn’t stick out throughout the day. I always feel stupid after coming out of an interview, for example, and look in my car’s rear view mirror and see a Bozo the Clown frizzy hair clump sticking out of the side of my head.

What reaction have you had from friends, family and strangers about your hair?
My mom, of course, never wants me to cut my hair, because I’ve had the same curly baby fro since I was a baby. All my yearbook signatures, from middle school to high school, in some shape or form, discuss my hair, that I should never cut it and that I should take care of it. However, at times, looking through my old pictures, it could get pretty out of control. I had a ponytail phase, a not brushing it at all phase, none of which proved very fruitful for my romantic life in high school or early college. But once I got it under control, I found that the ladies would become jealous of my hair because they apparently have machines and devices that curl their hair, whereas all I have to do is wake up in the morning.

Pasha's current style.

Do you have any favorite products that you would recommend?
I use Garnier Fructis anti-frizz stuff, mainly because they smell good and are affordable.

Anything else you would like to share?
Curly hair can be a blessing and a curse. My friends from high school will never let me live down the time that we were sitting in band rehearsal and I reached into my hair and pulled out a dead bee. It was then that I decided I would stop my haircut embargo and get my haircut regularly. Up until then I refused to cut it.

Thanks to Pasha for submitting his story! Subscribe to his LA Examiner Page for more about information about Autism and special education.

Interested in submitting your story?  Visit the Contact page and introduce yourself!

What’s been your biggest hair challenge?

For some people the biggest challenge of dealing with their hair is trying new styles and learning how to manipulate your hair to get it to do what you want.  I think that’s true for both men and women and has certainly been a part of my struggle, but for me the largest challenge I have faced is learning to deal with the reactions to my hair, both the good and the bad. Continue reading What’s been your biggest hair challenge?

Curly Nikki visits NYC!

This past Thursday NYC had the honor of hosting Ms. Curly Nikki herself!  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the Mizani sponsored event earlier in the evening but I had to check out the after party at Pranna Restaurant.  I met a lot of wonderful (and incredibly smart) people and had a great time.  It definitely was a great way to cap off a full work day. While it was too late for me to meet the incomparable Boogie and her incredibly popular boots, I got to chat with Nikki and even got a picture with her.  She was warm and inviting and it was great to watch the natural community in action.  With such great hair and great people around, it was damn near impossible to have a bad time.

I didn’t try the food at Pranna but the drinks were decent, although a bit pricey, but I heard more than a few folks praise the food.  Check it out if you’re in the Murray Hill/Gramercy area and in the mood for a cool and sophisticated lounge. Thanks to Kisha (pictured far left) for sending the picture along!

Kisha, Me, and Curly Nikki!

Natural Hair = Unprofessional? NEVER!

From time to time people ask me if my hair has hindered me in my career.  The short answer is no (at least, not yet). But, I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.  I think there are several things to consider when one decides to wear their curly/kinky hair.  While I have run into no issues, actually the opposite, I understand the hesitancy and apprehension one feels when that first interview comes.  In this economy especially, I understand some people’s hesitancy to rock their natural hair in professional environments and everyone has to make that very personal decision to alter their hair for the job or not.  If you’re strapped and need to put food in the table then I say, do what you gotta do…even if it’s just to get your foot in the door.  While I believe that “professional” can hold a lot of unnecessary biases and unwarranted traditions, I don’t feel like anyone should be sacrificing food or shelter in order to wear a big ass fro to work everyday.  But that’s just my opinion.

For better or for worse, there are several things to consider when deciding to wear natural hair in the workplace and you may want to give thought to the area you live in and its population, the field you want to work in and the status of the particular position.  I personally think that if your hair looks styled and doesn’t cover half your face then you’re probably professional in my book.  Not everyone agrees with this and everyone is entitled to their own opinion but as a wise man once said, “Some opinions just suck”.

When I came into the first interview with my current job, I mulled over the idea of cutting my hair out of fear that my fro might hinder my chances at the job.  Well, it didn’t!  While I did psyche myself to focus on my qualifications and training during the interview I think my chances were improved due to the nature of the somewhat nontraditional social services field.    I wear my hair as a fluffy, curly fro and I wear it this way…EVERY DAY.  I have not had any negative comments from colleagues or supervisors, and in fact, I’ve only had very supportive comments from both. My boss’ boss, who is a bald man, use to ask me how big I was going to let my hair get.  Initially I would get nervous, back track a bit and say, “Well, I don’t want it to get too crazy, etc”. His reply, “Just go for it!”  Hell, sometimes we even talk and joke about the strange things people say to me while I travel for work.  While I was very nervous about how people would react to my fro I now sing a very different tune.  I treat my hair as a complete non-issue and others seem to roll with that.

What negative or positive experiences have you had in the workplace regarding your curly/kinky hair?

Down to the Natural Hair Nitty Gritty

Ok, I know this isn’t exactly “polite conversation” but since I started growing my hair out my shower drain stays clogged. Now I try to use as many natural products as possible and initially I tried de-clogging the drain with a mix of baking soda and vinegar and it worked alright BUT something told me I had not gotten down to the root of the problem (no pun intended).

I saw a commercial for this new Drano Snake Plus Drain Cleaning Kit and made a mental note to give it a try.  I found it priced at 8 or 9 bucks at the drug store.  I get a little handy from time to time so I thought, what they hey?!  Well, it turned out great!  I have to say it’s not for the faint of heart because you do have to do a bit of manual work with the provided plastic “snake” .  The snake worked pretty well and I found much more hair down the drain than I thought I would.  It was pretty gross.  I thought I’d be kind enough to spare you the pictures from my exploit. That being said, I know that these chemicals can be harsh on the pipes when used too often so check out this natural recipe that I’m gonna use in between treatments.  Hey, it might be a little gross but it’s definitely cheaper than paying a plumber! Plus, you can use your leftover vinegar for a hair rinse. Give it a try!

An Open Letter to the Natural Hair Community

One of the reasons I started this blog was because of all of the support I had received from women in the natural hair community.  Over the past few years I have gotten a lot of support from women in the movement and I’ll always be grateful for that.  Although I have had a different experience than most of you, I hope that my support of the curly-haired community comes across loud and clear.

I realize that I did not have many of the experiences a lot of you had when it came to your hair.  I did not get as much positive affirmation or nearly as much discouragement.  I didn’t sit in between my mother’s legs and cry from all the pulling and tugging on my hair and scalp.  I’ve never even gotten my hair braided or gotten headaches from having my hair pulled so taut.  I’ve never had a comb break in my hair (wait…yeah that definitely happened once!).  Images in the media absolutely hit me in a very different, and arguably in a less pointed, way.  I never second guessed why I wore my hair the way I did.  I just always assumed guys were supposed to wear short hair so that’s what I did.

I had a chemical process once, a few years ago, when I first came to NY.  I texturized my hair to get a different look, but didn’t like it enough to stick with it. I also realized that keeping up something like that would be way too intensive for me.  So I went back to my regular routine of getting hair cuts every few weeks.  Fast forward to today and I have been wearing my fro for two years now.  I like having a new style, a new edge, and I recognize that I have a new sense of confidence in myself.  There’s a bit of freedom in wearing my hair whatever way I want, no matter what other people have to say about it.

I don’t see the natural hair movement as only a women’s issue. I see it as a self-esteem issue. If embracing your curls in their natural state gives you a sense of freedom and confidence then I fully support anyone who makes that decision.  If you choose to relax or straighten your hair, then my hope is that you do it as safely as possible because I believe no one should be sacrificing their health for a good-looking head of hair.  In the end, I believe we’re all entitled to express ourselves as we see fit. In the grand scheme of things, it is just hair but at the same time I know when I’m not feeling my hair it’s generally not the best of days.

All things considered, I have to say that seeing women wearing curly hair, locs and fros has inspired me to do whatever I want with my hair and judging from the (re)emergence of these styles among other men, I feel comfortable saying that the boys are following suit.  As the years go by I hope that other men and boys will support the women in their lives and their decisions about their hair (and bodies).  If this happens, then I think you will probably see more boys and men feeling comfortable enough to take their own risks with their image and hair.  We’ve got a lot to learn and I want to keep learning and spreading the word!

Sincerely,

Mane Man

Natural Hairstyles for Black Men = AWESOME

I just came across this vid while lurking around the internet and it’s definitely a must see for those of you out there considering growing out your hair.  There are a lot of different styles and options. Find what works for you! Credit goes to naturalnana on YouTube.  Check out her other vids as well. There is background music so watch your volume. Enjoy!

A modern man's lifestyle guide to hair, health and everything in between.