I hardly tie gele when I wear my traditional outfits here, mostly because you cannot claim to be dressed casually while wearing an elaborate head tie. I tell you, a gele can make a mundane outfit look festive.
But the few times I have appeared in public with my gele, I have gotten this puzzling compliment: “I love your hat.”
I know it’s an honest mistake. Some of those head ties look like hats, which is why I am now correcting you: if it is worn on top of an African outfit, it is not a hat. It is a head tie. Big difference. The amount of work that goes into tying a gele in the first place makes calling it a hat such a slap in the face. Have you seen a woman tying her gele? If you stand too close, you could lose an eye. Or just get a black eye. You get the point.
So, let’s just agree. If it looks anything like the one in the picture above, it’s a head tie. Not a hat. Your compliments are still welcome. 😀
Picture via Pinterest