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Women & their hair: ‘Rain, rain, go away!’

For Rukaya Aliyu, protecting her hair from the rain is non-negotiable. “It is not even a topic for discussion. After spending no less than one…

For Rukaya Aliyu, protecting her hair from the rain is non-negotiable. “It is not even a topic for discussion. After spending no less than one hour in the saloon each week, why should I not protect it from the rain?” she asked. The hair they say is the glory of a woman. It must be glorious and in perfect form at all times come rain or shine.

Another lady, Sandra Idong said. “If I am caught in the rain unprepared for it, my hand automatically goes over my head. If it gets heavier, I use my palms. If it gets even heavier I reach for a news paper or plastic bag if I can find one. Otherwise, I find the closest shelter to hide my head.”

Adeaola Kumbi is a banker and cannot afford to let the rain tarnish her good looks. “You know how particular we bankers are about our overall outlook not just the suit wearing thing. Your hair also counts for a major part of your outlook. Rain is absolutely no excuse for me to appear at work with damp, dripping or uncoordinated hair strands. In this case I think I can say it is safer for my body to get wet than for my hair. The body can dry up or I can change my cloths.”

Hafsat Ishaya could not be bothered about carrying an umbrella. But she never misses a protector for her hair even in the harmattan season. “I always have a shower cap or hood in hand bag but not always an umbrella. It is a lot more convenient to carry that around and less weight. In the rainy season I use my shower cap when the need arises and in the harmattan season I use the hood to protect it from dusty winds and the strands from falling out of place. I think these two are things every lady should have in her bag ready for spontaneous use.”

Mr. Idris Magaji sees it all as unnecessary hassle. “I just think it is simply vain and unnecessary you women put yourselves through. What if the hair gets wet by rain? Just comb it out and hold it back in a bun. To start worry your head all the time and try to be Miss weather forecast for the sake of hair not getting wet is unnecessary trouble instead of focusing your energy on more productive things.”

Unlike Magaji, Timothy Kale who wears dreadlocks and is as weary about water on his hair as the women are sympathetic. “I perfectly appreciate and understand where the women are coming from because I can say in that matter, we are in the same shoes at the moment. I think women should protect their hair because it covers the head which could be an easy prey. I can’t afford to let the rain wet my hair if I don’t have a dryer next to me and I am not likely to have one with my hair trapped under the rain.”

“By and large,” said Anthony Eze, “I think it is one of the little excitements or fancies women have. So, I can allow my wife and daughters to indulge in it when they get all worked up about their hair in the rain. It amuses me really when they carry on about it and have to go back to saloon or undo their braids. The easy way out for them is to, carry low cut. All the trouble will be over. ”

Not at all in line with Eze’s view is Temisan Emiko whose hair is almost at skin level. Although she believed it’s even more important for ladies like her to protect their hair. “Yes I know my hair is to the barest minimum,” she said, “but I have to protect it just as well or even more than those with full grown hair covering their entire scalp. It costs me some good amount of money to maintain it and I can’t afford to let the rain wet it all away.”  

“Have you perceived a head with smelly hair especially when braided?” asked Lilian Ochonogo. “I have, and it was mine. To say I was only embarrassed is an understatement. The particular day I noticed it was the day, I had gone to a wedding and I realised that people were hugging me politely with their faces turned in the opposite direction. Sweaty, I decided to come out for fresh air. It was then gentle breeze aggressively brought to my attention the stench emanating from my hair. I scratched my scalp a bit to confirm and was too embarrassed to go back inside. This is all from sweat; I don’t want to experience what the rain will do to it.”

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