Fairy Knots!

Single Strand Knots, Fairy Knots…whatever you want to call them.  I simply refer to them as THE DEVIL.  I never knew about these buggers until my fro started growing and I felt these little bumps on some hair strands. The first time I noticed one, I stopped and asked myself, “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?”

I got to Googling (yes, this is firmly a verb now) and found that many folks with longer hair experience fairy knots.  But why are they called fairy knots?  Because they look some little fae burrowed into my fro and decided to tie my strands like shoe laces.

Sookie Stackhouse
It's all Sookie's fault!

So how do you deal with them? Well, I’ve read a few different approaches.  Some suggest cutting off the hair strand just below the knot so you preserve the length of the strand.  Some people say keeping your hair moisturized or in protective styles will fend them off but most of the time I just yank the strand right out.  I know, I know,  but that’s just my default response and it doesn’t hurt.  Truth is, whenever I really think about it, I try to snip them off with scissors when I’m home but I’ve been diagnosed with HIHD (Hand In Hair Disease) and I tend to discover these buggers when I’m sitting at my desk at work or on the subway.  Maybe I should carry scissors in my messenger during the day…? Oh wait, Black man + scissors + random bag searches in the train station…I think I’ll pass.

 Have any of you had any luck fighting off these things? Help a brother out!


Take a listen to Gorillaz as you read these facts about men’s health:


“The average life expectancy for men is five years less than women (presently 77 years old compared to 82)”

“1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.”

“Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 34.”

“Four times as many men commit suicide compared with women.” (Source, Movember U.S.)

MOVEMBER IS UPON US!  Every year on the night of October 31 men around the nation shave their moustaches and facial hair in preparation for Movember.  Started in 1999 in Australia the trend has grown to promote awareness for men’s health issues, most specifically prostate cancer. Individuals raise funds all month by serving as walking billboards for men’s health…and regrowing only their moustaches during November.  Movember benefits organizations such as LIVESTRONG (the Lance Armstrong Foundation) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation among others.  Since 2004 global funds have raised $174 MILLION!  I’m sure that money goes a long way…are you going to participate?!

For fear of looking twelve without my ‘stache I am going to have to pass on the shaving ritual but during November, the site will post about men’s health issues in an effort to promote awareness about the issues affecting men today. Men can participate by participating in the regrowing of the stache and the ladies in our lives can participate by helping us raise awareness (and funds) for men’s health research.  If you’re interested in participating, check out the U.S. Movember page and sign up!

Men, HPV and Gardasil

As you may have heard, yesterday the CDC released a recommendation encouraging young men and boys to get the HPV vaccine. HPV can lead to genital warts but otherwise may have no noticeable set of symptoms.  Up until this point, the vaccine has only been marketed towards young women and girls to prevent cervical cancer. Well, new research suggests that not only does the vaccine reduce the risk for cervical cancer, it also reduces the risk of anal, throat, mouth and PENILE cancer!  Who knew!?

In addition, other sources suggest that throat cancers from viruses (such as HPV) are seen more often in men than women (Source,  You Beauty). Symptoms of HPV related  throat cancer include trouble breathing  and a hoarse voice (Source).  Guys, this means that not only should your female loved ones consider getting the vaccine, so should you! As with any important health information it’s best to speak with your primary care physician before getting any treatment.  You should also check out the CDC page here for more information about HPV.

If you’re concerned about the safety of the vaccine, consider this quote from Dr. Anne Schuchat of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases:

“The committee also undertook extensive review of data on vaccine safety.  Through middle of September nearly 40 million doses of HPV vaccine have been distributed in the United States.  The clinical trials that have been carried out in smaller numbers have shown the quadrivalent HPV vaccine to be safe for males as well as for females.  The most common adverse events or side effects that can occur following HPV vaccination include injection site reaction, headache and fever, and those reactions have tended to be mild or moderate in intensity” (Source: Decoded Science).

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!

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