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  • The First Black Bachelorette
  • Tiana Clark (bio)

When Bryan was kissing Racheland slid his hand inside her hair, her long,long hair, I wondered if he felt threadedtracks of weave and what he thoughtwhen he felt her weave. Was he startledor did he know? But. When he reachedfor her, I felt his fingers on my scalp, too,I did, through the TV, I swear, I was wincing.My white guy doesn't like fake things, but Ilike my fake hair long and my real hair protected,my glory tucked and hidden. Something easyand fast. I'm hoping it will grow, too. I wonderwho does Rachel's hair on the show, blendingher "leave out" with her natural hair. Who slicksher edges down with good grease and a boar brushwhen the wind blows back her baby hairs?

There was an episode onceon the Fresh Prince of Bel-Airwith the actress Tisha Campbell.The premise: they were on a dateand stuck in a basement for hours.She stripped off her weave, fake nails,contacts, and eyelashes. She molted.Will then asks, Now, what elseon your body can I get at the mall?RuPaul says, We're all born nakedand the rest is drag. Derrick has a list [End Page 26] of funny drag names and I want one.I want to be called what I really amor what I pretend to be, which, I guessin a way, is me? Or someone who I thinkmight be beautiful enough to be approached,discovered. Someone who doesn't haveto pay for movers. Someone who walksinto a party and doesn't have to be anxiousbecause the privilege of their beautymakes them at rest and people find vacationsin their faces. I require something fake.Woven and glued, stuck to my bodybut not of my body. How does a bodyeven start?

Sometimes my eyes feel thickand weird from fresh eyelash extensions.In the beginning, my head hurtfrom the braided ropes of hairencircling my scalp, tight.But you want it tight, she says.You want the cornrowsso small that your fakehair looks passable, believableas a bullet. In hope, you takethe pain. It takes so damn longto be almost beautiful. I've satin salon chairs all day with black womenbehind me, laboring and taming my mane.I like the patterned crop circles carvedinto my scalp right before the weftsof somebody else's Brazilian hair are sewnlike human icing into mine, delicious.I want the fire to smell a type of threatin me and back away. I want the fireto know I was already consumed, burnedinside my belonging. [End Page 27]

There is a hankering.A hungry choir that cravesmoney and porn, meaningmy thoughts are well lit,staged, and faking it, too.Even my soul is preoiled,fluffed, bleached, waxed,nubile, licking, and staring downthe camera to ash. The trickis looking like you like it,like you enjoy getting slammed,which is why I like being groomed:getting yanked, painted, cut,and plucked. I've been on all foursas a woman ripped mefrom my center, where I splitin jeweled halves. I did not yellas I bit my lip, grabbed the corners.I enjoy how people look at mewhen they think I might be beautiful.I enjoy porn best when I thinkthey might be enjoying themselves, too.When there might be real pleasureat stake, but who can say really?Not showing pain gets you paid.

It takes a lot of money to look this trashy,Dolly Parton says. And yet, Rachel.Rachel, who scratches your dandrufflike Tea Cake in chapter elevenin Their Eyes Were Watching God?Who detangles and combs your hairwith deep conditioner? Who wrapsyour hair at night? Has Bryan seen youin your silk bonnet yet? You knowit's real when your riding on topwith your hair wrapped. LaLa saysshe was never ugly, just poor.I want my teeth fixed and...


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pp. 26-33
Launched on MUSE
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