Walking up Boulevard de Strasbourg towards Gare de l’Est Station, I could not help but notice amongst the bijou restaurants and cafes along with the decrepit but expensive hotels that would hardly elicit a 2-star rating on any self-respecting booking site, the ethnic homogeneity of people and shops.
Whilst I would not venture the suggestion of African town as a corollary to Chinatown, most of the shops had something to do with hair, cosmetics and some fashion.
The barbers and there were a few, and much as I should resist the temptation to get into the Afro hair wars, an observation of this sort must not be left unattended to.
Changing the African
Now, the shops had all manner of paints and colours, makeup to make scary clowns of otherwise beautiful and comely people. The matter of hair extensions is another thing, not one lady of African ancestry appears to sport natural hair.
No braids, no plaits, rather, we all happen to have hair like Caucasians will have their hair, relaxed, long and falling over the shoulders, most black and at times melanin-deficient brown. It is not like I should have much to say about hair, from the moment I noticed male-pattern baldness, I have shaved my head rather than exercise myself over the loss of hair.
The unpretty angst
This is inexpensive for me, considering I shave it just when I have my regular shaves and the occasional scrapes that take fillets of skin off my scalp that the pain gives that unusual opportunity to shed a tear or two.
Beyond hair, the skin is toned and despite that tendency to scarring some have resorted to cosmetic surgery with varying results, and that is not to say of those who have paid the ultimate price enhancing their boobs, buttocks or looks. When are we going to feel secure and comfortable in our own skins?
It goes without saying that we have bought into a mindset that creates a fashion industry exploiting the predominant view that naturally we are somewhat unpretty. Yet, we must all choose the look that makes us most confident about ourselves, even if it is not natural, that is one of the amazing things about the resourcefulness of our humanity. However, the greatest beauty will always be on the inside.
TLC – Take it away!