Curly-haired Iranians Talk
28 Jan 11

Some of the curls were thrusting out of the obligatory veil, but last week on 1 Bahman 1389 (21 January) Iranians with curly hair staged a great gathering in Tehran’s Mellat Park in celebration of the glory of their hair. The result is this great video capturing The Day We Had Fun.

With authorities clamping down on every aspect of their public and private appearance (bans include tight jeans and tattoos and most recently for male students hair dyeing and eye-brow plucking) this crowd memorialised their natural attributes in a most simple way that could have taken place anywhere in the world. But in Iran the very nature of creating a scenario where people might meet strangers they share something in common with is prohibited and a source of anxiety for the government. Despite this the kinky-haired organisers insist that it was not a political move and its motives were some light relief. In fact anyone wishing to make it political was urged to refrain from comment.

The soundtrack to the day is Coldplay’s Talk. Political or not, the words resonate in this closed society:

“I’m so scared about the future and I wanna talk to you” and

“Well I feel like they’re talking in a language I don’t speak
And they’re talking it to me”

The event was first posted on an Iranian Facebook page devoted to “the curly-haired ones” in December, calling all curly-haired people to get together at 3pm by the lake and quickly attracted 681 “people attending”.

The text screens of the video tell of the “Cool things that happened on that day: We came across a Senegalese man with curly hair”, ending with “And finally, not a black crow in the sky”. When I was growing up “black crows” referred to the black shrouded women pervading our society so I’ll go with my interpretation and celebrate that none came to disturb the purity of a day full of joyful spirit.

As a curly haired Iranian Little Black Fish has joined this group, relishing the daily status updates and witty poems of the curly-haired ones:

“The distance between happiness and misery is the length of a strand of curly hair”