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  • What, exactly, is "the kitchen"?

     

    This is based on the following xxjustinschicxx post:

    http://www.xxjustinschicxx.com/2010/12/gr...ural-hair.html

    This post and especially its comments are REALLY interesting...and I was going to write a long comment of my own but I decided to cross-post to forum instead because I'm interested in what y'all think (plus y'all are used to me running off at the cybermouth).

    Basically there are two definitions being mentioned in the comments, one referring to location (traditionally the nape of the neck) and the other referring to texture (traditionally the most "resistant", most "difficult" hair...which almost always translates to the most nappy, in the "bad hair" sense of the word). People are saying things like "The hair at my nape is actually the smoothest and softest" as well as "My most resistant hair is actually at the front/sides of my head."

    Based on the traditional definition of location, I have three distinct textures in my kitchen, only one of which (the leftmost patch) fits the traditional definition of "kitchen texture" (see below). Ironically, that's one of the few patches on my head that retains length no matter what I do to it. But right next to it is the only patch on my head that comes closest to being considered "type 3"...and when I was relaxed (ALWAYS, ALWAYS the relaxer was applied to the nape first because of the traditional definition of "kitchen texture") it always broke off first. When I locked that patch was the very first one to look like a loc...and I say it's because it was happy that I was leaving it completely alone for the first time ever.

    It's the traditional definition of texture that's hanging me up though. I think "resistant" and "difficult" should no longer be in your vocabulary once you understand and know how to care for all your textures...unless you're still operating under the notion that a comb is only supposed to work one way, just to use one example. Note I'm totally willing to admit I could be completely wrong on this...but eliminating those definitions leaves only "most nappy," in which case it could be said that MOST OF MY HEAD is "the kitchen." And that has me wondering if this conversation is really only reserved for people who have a much wider range of conflicting textures than I do. I've heard of people having 3b, 3c, 4a, and 4b all on one head and I can see how that would be a huge challenge to manage and maintain.

    So my questions to you are: What exactly IS "the kitchen"? Is it a term that still works in today's world of advanced natural hair care (and natural hair care sensibilities)?

    Y'all, it's cold and rainy outside, the rain's supposed to freeze into ice soon, I really do have other stuff to do and I'm procrastinating as usual online...thanks for bearing with me and my ADD randomness...

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    it seems to me the term "kitchen" came about because that is where things get burnt. think about it. the nape of the neck has the shortest strands (those stray ones that sometimes crawl down the neck but do not grow long) and in an attempt to straighten those stubborn strands on a wiggly *** child, the neck often was burnt.
    However, in the world of today's enlightend natural hair-o-philes, I would deem the term "kitchen" in reference to that particular back porch area obsolete. Still, the term is popular amongst those unable or unwilling to embrace the natural order and who thus continue to burn things up back there. imo

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    Lol I'd like to add one more level to your theory LovecoffeyZ My mom used to get her hair pressed in the literal kitchen. So. Her kitchens would be burning in the kitchen

    Anyway. I've always associated kitchen with nappiest section of hair. Not in a negative sense necessarily because growing up we referred to all of our hair as nappy in an objective, non-pejorative way. Just...when my mom would be braiding my hair...she'd tell me to sit extra still and straight so she could cornrow my kitchens neatly...gather all the "beadabeads" at the nape of my neck together Then as I got older I remember her saying that my kitchen had migrated to the front of my head. She was really baffled by the migration. Actually asked me if I put a perm in the front of my hair (yep, just in the front. and somehow the perm would make it nappier). So yeah...I think people expect the most textured part of the hair to be in the back. Maybe because you don't manipulate it as much? Or it's not as exposed to the elements?

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    the kitchen in terms of hair is only relevant if you straighten your hair because it meant a section of your hair (usually the nape) where there were hairs. this is usually the section, i think, because it's the first to be affected by sweat.

    so yeah when your entire head is nappy, the term kitchen is non applicable. i do recall hearing a few nappy people using the term and i've been like each time.

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    I just thought it was the nape.

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    Thank you for procrastinating, now I don't feel like I am the only one on this Saturday morning.

    According to her definition my kitchen would be the top, really the center of my head. That part was the hardest to relax and always broke first. It's because of that patch that I went natural. I called it the most fragile and resistant part.

    Quote:
    Is it a term that still works in today's world of advanced natural hair care (and natural hair care sensibilities)?
    I think if you can turn it into something more positive like nappy it could still be used because the perspective is different. Kitchen:
    the nappiest, blackest, most fragile, most resistant part that flourishes when one goes natural/locs
    used to be:
    the part that refused to be burned into submission.
    the part that never grew while relaxing
    the part where breakage started.

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    I just thought it was the nape....

    I've only ever heard of the hair at the nape of the neck being referred to as the "kitchens." I have NEVER heard of that term being used to describe hair anywhere else on the head.

    And unlike what GG said about it only being relevant as a descriptor if you're straightening you hair, that's not been my experience. I'll bet you if I asked anyone I knew they'd identify the nape as your kitchens.

    Now this is where I actually stopped to make some phone calls to back up my claim that if I called anyone I knew, they would identify the nape of the neck as the kitchen area.

    Here's the question I asked: As it relates to hair, if someone told you to comb your kitchens, what or where would you comb?

    Here's the result of my quicky poll. Since we're in the middle of bYankeesfanMard conditions, I figured I'd catch most folks at home and I did.

    1) My niece (now sixteen years old) didn't hesitate to say "I'd comb the back of my neck." Then she said, "Wait! Hole up, hole up. It depends on where your kitchens are.

    Me: "OK. Where else can you have kitchens?

    Niece: "Your front edges." (Not sure where she'd have gotten that from...)

    Me: "Ah...OK. Then what's the definition of "kitchens?"

    Niece: "Anywhere you have short rolled up edges.

    2) Sister: "Your nape."

    3) Friend Gwen: "Your nape."

    4) Friend Kim: "Your nape."

    5) Friend Regina: "Your nape." She disputed what my niece said. \"It's a location on your head — not a texture. If you went by what your niece said, if someone had short nappy hair, their whole head could be a kitchen.\"

    6) Lynetta: (my exercise instructor): She initially gave me a really hard time because she hates the term she said. As I begged her to be serious she actually really couldn't identify what "kitchens" were. Then I guess it popped into her head and she finally said, "Oh wait, it's the nape of your neck."

    7) Mom: "The nape of your neck.

    My hairdresser: "The nape."

    So the result of my quicky poll pretty much confirmed what I thought. Folks that I know identify the kitchen as a location on your head and it's not specific to texture.

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    On a related note, I just realized that the tag under my screen name used to say "Kiss My Kitchens."

    Here's a pic that I made within the last year...

    Paid Internship Summer - Archives Nw Georgia" border="0" alt="" />

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    My whole head is the kitchen!!!

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    I've always thought of that area of the hair was called the kitchen because I used to gt my hat straighten with heat in the kitchen of my home.

    Now that I think about, that area of my hair was the coarsest when my hair was relaxed. Now. it's the softest.

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    the term "kitchen" evolved from the fact that kitchens are usually located in the back of american houses and they tend to be the messiest, especially when you're having guests over, many old school people tend to not want people to see their kitchens..

    so yeah it's related to location on your head, but the issue of texture is apart of it : it only stands out as a "kitchen" if the rest of your hair is straightened.

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    the term "kitchen" evolved from the fact that kitchens are...

    My kitchens were kitchen-y when my hair was pressed and unpressed. So were my sisters' and my moms'. The hair on the back of your neck isn't nappier than the rest of it right now?

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    the term "kitchen" evolved from the fact that kitchens are...

    Oooh. That one sounds good to me. Especially in the era of shotgun houses...

    My nappiest spot is the absolute crown of my head. The chimney?

    When I got perms, they would pay special attention to my nape, even though it is the straightest part of my hair, and my 'baby' hair, even though it is straight. Force of habit, I guess.

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    I've only heard of the nape being referred to as the kitchen and some people always complained that it was the nappiest part of their whole head. Besides even if it isn't the nappiest of your hair, this is still where you will find "peas and carrots" (if your hair does that). Your kitchen would always tell the story about your hair even if the rest of your hair didn't. I've never heard it in reference to your nappiest texture.

    My "kitchen" was always the first to break off when I relaxed and now I know why. It has a looser texture than the rest of my hair and this was always the place where the relaxer was applied first.
    Even though my kitchen isn't the nappiest on my whole head I complain about it because it doesn't hold a twist as well as the rest.

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    Oooh. That one sounds good to me. Especially in the...

    Girl, we are such hair twins it is scary. Practically word for word this post would be relevant to me.

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    I've only heard the term used to apply to the nape of the neck. I've never heard in reference to texture. That's completely new for me.

    And I was taught the term came from the fact that most of the time "the kitchen" is in the back of the house.

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    I never heard of the term "kitchen" growing up. I learned from my Black friends. I do think it's about location more than texture. I do not think it's relevant once your natural but...it is if you still straighten your hair.

    It bothers me when folks call their hair "unmanageable", "difficult" or "unruly". I think is sad that some people still have negative thoughts about their hair. This leads then to redefine the "kitchen" to denote other more tightly coiled locations on their head. They think of them as a problem areas. I disagree. I love the more tightly coiled section of my head. The hair is more dense there and slightly less fragile, IMO. It also holds styles better and has more volume.

    My nappiest spot is the absolute crown of my...

    I might have to start calling it that. I love my chimney!

    Quote:
    View Post
    Even though my kitchen isn't the nappiest on my whole head I complain about it because it doesn't hold a twist as well as the rest.
    Me too! My "kitchen" is the loosest texture and cannot hold a twist to save its life.

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    What quneelty and travant said, back of the house...

    My sides have typically been the coarsest and that seems to be changing.

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    the term "kitchen" evolved from the fact that kitchens are...

    J. Anthony Brown(tom Joyner Morning Show)" border="0" alt="" />

    at the bold. My pic here shows that this is not the case. I clearly have natural hair and my nappy kitchen is in full display here.

    So applying your logic then GG, once your kitchen gets straightened or touched back up with a perm, they cease to be kitchens because they're no longer nappy. Is that what you're saying?

    If that's the case, that's like saying if you wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen really well, that it's no longer the kitchen because it's no messy anymore.

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    I actually have a "kitchen" area as a natural and have had it since a small girl when I was natural before my first relaxer.

    For me, it's a specific area on the left side of my head that I CANNOT let go loose for more than a day without detangling at night....not just twisting up at night to prevent breakage overnight...but an actual full finger-detangling session with conditioner or it will turn into a freeform dread overnight. That's one main reason I have my hair in twists so much as well because it prevents the full dreading affect in "the kitchen" and it cuts my bedtime routine in half. The consequences are pretty steep and that area has actually dreaded before to the point of me getting sick of it and just chopping it off...yeah I looked funny for a minute, but It was a quick relief, and I was like 15 soooo I really didn't care much about fitting in to begin with.

    My mom has it as well on the same side of her head and I'm glad she did because it helped me deal with that specific spot. I also have to urge stylists to be gentle with that area even with wide tooth combs and conditioner or they may accidentally rip my hair. It's annoying to have to finger-detangle that area on a daily basis if I decide to do a fro or something but I guess that's one of the weird things about my hair.

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    So applying your logic then GG, once your kitchen gets...

    nope. here's what i said :

    so my nape would get relaxed and maybe be straight...

    well yeah.. but that's just because that section of your hair hasn't been included in your style. for instance, in the first pic the rest of your hair is in braids while the nape isnt.. of course the nape is going to stand out. my hair would looks like different textures too if there's sections that are in braids and if i accidentally leave out a section. the left out section is going to have more shrinkage than the section that's been stretched...

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    Nape=kitchen and only the nape. I don't know where all these other definitions come from lol!

    My kitchen is the finest texture on my hair and it unravels very easily in twists. When I had a relaxer and I was going to the shop, it was a forest back there because she did a horrible job of rinsing out the relaxer back there and it would break off badly. I see a lot of us have this in common.

    My kitchen lays down flat now in styles and looks better than back in the day probably because it isn't damaged by chemicals....it is one of my favorite sections of my head.

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    nope. here's what i said :as we all know sweat...

    I have never heard of sweating out a perm. My hair never did that.

    ***shrugs***

    But based on your experience, I can see how your kitchen area would only be relevant (bothersome) as it relates to your hair being straightened. It must be the only time you've ever called that hair "your kitchen." From your perspective I guess that makes sense.

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    well yeah.. but that's just because that section of your hair hasn't been included in your style. for instance, in the first pic the rest of your hair is in braids while the nape isnt.. of course the nape is going to stand out. my hair would looks like different textures too if there's sections that are in braids and if i accidentally leave out a section. the left out section is going to have more shrinkage than the section that's been stretched...
    That's because the hair is shorter than the rest and has managed to work it's self out of the braids. My kitchen area always does this. That's pretty typical for most people because the kitchen area is usually shorter than the rest of your hair.

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    Nape=kitchen and only the nape. I don't know where all...

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    For me, the kitchen is the nape, whether it's relaxed or natural. It's just a location, nothing else. I haven't referred to "my kitchen" in that way in a long time but that was really my mother and my grandmother's choice of words; it was never in my vocabulary.

    BTW, my kitchen is not the nappiest location on my head. It's actually the straightest part of my hair. But it's still the kitchen.

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    Kitchen = nape. Period.

    My kitchen has become really submissive since I've gone natural. I don't even own a comb or brush but by paying a little extra attention with DC or moisturizing at the nape and then being sure it's swooped up in my synthetic scarf at night has made it a non-issue area. And yeah, the hairdressers used to burn it up and break it off back in the day. Yet another reason that I will probably *never* have another set of hairdressing hands in my hair again. Who on earth hasn't anyone figured out and taught that there is no need to burn the blazes out of the hair on the fragile hairlines?

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    This is the first time I've ever heard tell of anything other than the nape of your neck being the kitchen. If we were talking texture everything but the kitchen is the kitchen. Could it be a regional thing? I'm down South in Alabama

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    This is the first time I've ever heard tell of...

    Yes I said heard tell...I sound like my grandparents

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    For me, the kitchen is the nape, whether it's relaxed...

    For some reason I find the term very endearing because it's very unique to the African American hair experience. Particularly since I've always thought of it as a location on my head.

    Despite this conversation, if you ask most any African American the same question I asked my family and friends, you'll likely get the same answer "Hair at the nape of your neck." It can be nappy or straight. I guess some equate it to only being nappy and if nappy=bad/undesireable then I guess their kitchen area is not a good thing to them. As a natural head when my nape hair would start trying to sneak out of the style and seperate, I was alway self conscience. Now I have simply fallen in love with them — peas, carrots and all.

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    The "kitchen" is the hair at the nape of the neck. When I was a little girl this is what my mother and others called it and everyone said this was the worst part of our hair. I've always referred to this as the back of the hair or the nape because I never liked that expression since it was always used in a derogatory manner.

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