1. The dreaded corned beef syndrome:
Every new summer brings a new host of strappy tops, cheeky shorts and flouncy dresses. This, you say, is a good thing right?
Wrong! At least not if your skin tone, after spending the winter wrapped-up in layers of cloth, now resembles an open can of tuna/ bully beef. Uneven pink and purple blotches on a pasty white background is simply never going to be the new black. And so white girls everywhere begin the stampede to tanning salons, sun-beds and the self-tan isles at supermarkets.
Every spring I join the rush and hope that this year I won't end up with orange palms, streaky legs or a bruised ego. And every year I'm wrong. Trust me, it’s no fun standing in front of a weary, blank eyed beautician in nothing but a paper g-string while being sprayed by a vacuum cleaner nozzle full of icy cold chemical tanning solution.
My black girlfriends, tactfully trying to pretend that I don’t look like a giant orange, take two minutes to slick on some moisturiser and off they go – smooth, glossy, healthy-looking even-toned skin. Ouch.
2. Chic versus Shriek:
And still on the theme of summer fashions, it's an undisputed, totally unfair fact of nature – or at least of style – that black women can wear white. Fresh, cool, sparkling top-to-toe white. The effect is dazzling, elegant and impossibly glamorous. Everything that a fashionista worth her salt aspires to.
And then I try it, forking out a month's salary on a crisp white trouser suit, and the general reaction goes something like this: AAAARRGGHH!
There are very, very few white girls who can get away with wearing an all-white ensemble without looking like either a bride or a ghost. Or someone who works in a mental institution. And let’s not even mention what kind of stains melting self-tan leaves on white trousers...
3. Latest locks:
Weaves, wigs, 'fros, cornrows, peppercorns, straighteners, braids, dreads... the list goes on and on. If you're that way inclined, changing your hairstyle once a month, once a week or even every day, is not at all unusual if your locks are thick, black and curly.
If I showed up with different hair every fortnight – going from short to long, to curls, to straight etc. in a matter of weeks – my friends will think I'm either:
a.) impossibly vain
b.) going through and identity crisis, or
c.) pretending to be Madonna.
Oh yes, and then there's the hat. My sisters of colour can cover their heads with any type of hat, cap or headscarf when having a bad hair day. This always looks cool.
But if you’re white and you wear a hat you might just as well write I am a pretentious arty type on your forehead and save everyone the trouble of pointing that out to you.
4. The Curve Issue:
Western and now, sadly, global society seems to have gotten so nuts that women literally starve themselves to achieve the body shape that is in fashion these days. Now, I'm not denying the fact that black girls are also suffering more and more under this tragic and absurd idea of beauty.
But it certainly wasn't Christina Aguilera that invented the term bootylicious.
From where I'm standing, curves are still far more acceptable in chocolate than vanilla. Which makes me horribly jealous on bad days. On good days, I try to remind myself that men actually like curvaceous women more than they like stick insects. In any colour. (Except maybe corned beef.) And if your man doesn’t know it yet, it may be time to lose that lump of dead weight that's dragging you down. Which means dump the guy and not the curves.
5. Grey, what grey?
Black women don't age as fast as white women do. Which is a sweeping statement that I'm basing on no scientific research whatsoever. But I have eyes, damnit. Not only do black ladies only go grey when they reach, what, say, a hundred and twenty, but they also seem to develop their first wrinkles only once their grandchildren graduate.
Meanwhile, our wonderful African sun is rapidly turning my porcelain skin into crêpe paper... in spite of all the sunscreen and treatment products I use. And I haven’t even reached thirty yet! This is clearly unfair and undisputed evidence of an unequal distribution of youthfulness across the racial divide.
Am I sounding bitter? I hope not. This is a shout-out to all my ladies out there: enjoy your fabulousness girls, we’re rooting for you!
Do you agree? Do you also think some races have it luckier than others in the beauty department?