I will admit that I have a thing about hair-- my own hair and everybody else. As for my own, I do it myself and I love to chat up strangers in the elevator and find out what products they use. (My current fave is the Curls line. Great for a well-defined twist-out.) I also love thinking about what hair means to people, especially black women. For me the most interesting character in Their Eyes Were Watching God is Janie's hair! As a matter of fact, Janie's very brown skin and very long hair inspired two of the characters in The Silver Girl.
Gwen and Dana are the secret wife and daughter of James Witherspoon and the whole book revolves around this set up. As you can imagine, Gwen and Dana have an unconventional take on life-- I mean, it takes a special person to be okay with the fact that you husband has a whole other family and you must live in the shadows. One way that they make themselves feel better is that they are more sophisticated and better looking that his "legitimate" family. And what's the main proof of this beauty? The fact that mother and daughter both have about two feet of hair that hangs to the middle of their backs. And when you add to the mix that the "real" wife owns a beauty parlor, we've got conflict, baby! (The photo to the right is me getting my hair pressed as research.)
So, on to the topic of this post.
My editor and I are working on the catalog copy. This is the brochure with which the publisher will announce next season's book. it includes a photo of the author, the book, and quick summary meant to snare the attention of book sellers. I love what my editor has written, but there is one phrase that is tripping me up. Here's the sentence"
For Chaurisse, Dana is a glamorous friend—a “silver girl” possessing all the beauty, popularity, and good hair that Chaurisse thinks would make her happy.
As you probably guessed, the phrase is good hair. Yes, Chaurisse is really impressed by Dana's hair. And, she probably would describe it as "good hair." But I am having an emotional response to the word choice. I don't want it to seem like I think that some people's hair is good and others isn't.
When I was a kid, I felt a lot of pain about this good-hair/bad-hair mess and I don't want to appear to be perpetrating it. Do you think that putting the phrase in talics will show that I am sort of mocking the idea? Or should I just rephrase, or leave any hair-talk out of the situation all together?