By Jasmine of Beat of Travel
Sprawled on a comfy quilt laid out on a sunny patch of grass in Cheesman Park with friends and loved ones, drinking Red Stripe and headache inducing mimosas, was pretty, pretty, idyll. We sat gawking at the ongoing rush of cyclist in goofy costume, the prelude to the Tour de Fat festival. The spectacle was a lighthearted, and brilliant marketing tool I might add for New Belgium, but I began to notice an on going trend in the dash of silly cyclists.
Yes, most of the getups were inventive, funny, or even a little tragic (enter wobbly girl on rollerblades, encased in a Hooter’s uniform). All was well, until I spotted a reoccurring theme, riders simply adorned with ragged Afro wigs shoved on their heads without any semblance of a ‘head to toe’ costume. Most of the ‘Bros’ with curly Afro wigs, looked as though they had stumbled out of a Jack Johnson concert and into a Party City. I was embarrassed for them, and thought aloud ‘Wow, I did not know that just wearing an Afro wig constituted as a costume?’ To which the majority of the group I was with laughed uncomfortably.
The day and the drinking carried over to the festival, and the tacky, synthetic wig epidemic ensued. I felt crazed. I toyed with the idea of asking at least one of the several pseudo Afro wearing, costume slackers “Why is an Afro wig a costume?” My supportive husband nudged me enough to ask, and added stoking my conviction ‘Besides they need to contemplate their actions.’ He was right, so I thought 3 beers in. I went up to the first victim and attacked mercilessly, took a photo with her and asked my burning question.
Her photo grin disappeared, and what replaced it was an ‘oh shit’ question mark. Even as I waited for a retort, strands of blonde hair tucked sloppily under the band of her wig slipped free. I had stumped her. I don’t think she woke up that morning thinking that she would indeed have a pop quiz, at a beer drenched festival. For moments she stared at me, and then glumly replied ‘I have always wanted an Afro.’ Sure. I repeated this same tactic on another unsuspecting clueless Afro wearing casualty, and I think I blew a gasket in her hipster brain.
If the wigs worn by the people at the festival would have been accompanied by seventies inspired threads, my natural Afro-esque self would have never said a word or noticed. But that was not the case. I don’t believe that my hair texture is a spectacle or funny, it is my hair. I suppose I could plop a blonde wig on my head this Halloween, and hope to have an effective costume, while wearing my everyday attire. I am sure that it would not garner the same response, or any at all for that matter. Why is an Afro wig an acceptable costume? That style and hair type is a part of a specific group of people, which is more than just a cultural aspect, it is a physical attribute.
Interesting piece! What are your thoughts ladies? How do you feel about afros being used as a costume?
For more of Jasmine’s writings check out Beat of Travel.