I got my hair cut over the past weekend, nothing extreme, just a few inches cut off. I added some highlights, and that was that. The people that I’ve run into have simply passed along a compliment or acknowlege the haircut and keep it moving. This is what sane people do. But of course, there always has to be someone who oversteps their boundaries. A co-worker of mine whom I haven’t seen since before Thanksgiving came up to me a little while ago and said, “Ohmygoodness, you look so great. Let me touch your hair”. She said this with arms outstretched toward my noggin and before she could finish her first sentence her fingers were all up on my scalp feeling the texture of my hair. I actually had to swat her away like I would a mosquito.
I absolutely hate when people do this. It could be after a haircut, or after I do something different to my hair like get braids or *gasp* a weave, but the end result is still the same. Someone always feels the need to touch my head to inspect the work. And the offending party is never ever, neva evah evah a black person. I guess we’re born knowing the rules of hair touching, or we’ve had the same thing happen to us so many times that we wouldn’t dare do something like that. Sometimes, the end result is a bit different–there’s still the inevitable hair touch question, but also the “is that your real hair” “how do they add that to your real hair” interrogation. My friends who have suffered with these questions forever, it’s time we put this to a stop. The madness has got to end. I’ve decided to finally address this subject. So those of you who ask these questions, read closesly.
My inquisitive friends,
Black people have hair. Surprise, I know, but I say this because many of you act like what grows out of our heads is playdoh spaghetti or something. For the most part, the texture is a bit different than yours, but it is still hair nonetheless. Do not ask to touch someone’s hair unless you are very close with that person. Period. Yes, I know the braids look like so much fun, but do.not.touch.our.hair. We don’t go around messing in your dandruff-laden crown when you get your hair done, so please have the same respect for us. Yes, we get dye jobs and cuts just like you.
No matter what style our hair is in, it is ours. We may have purchased some of it, sure, but there is always natural hair involved. You may not be able to get to the natural hair because it is braided up under a sewn in track, but trust me, it is there. Our hair can grow to the same lengths yours does, and a lot of the people you assume have weave in their hair are actually flinging around what God allowed them to grow–no weave, no nothing. If you want to know how extension braids are put in, there are a number of websites you can check out or videos you can watch. It gets really tiring when we have to explain the process 50-11 times and you still look like a deer in headlights. Some of us, myself included, change up our hairstyles quite a few times a year and braids are part of our repetoire. If we’ve been known each other for a few years or we’ve been working together that long, you will see braids more than once. Please do not ask each and every time you see them.
I’ve heard some of you giggle and tiddle about how black people put crisco oil in their hair to moisturize it. Where did you get this? We don’t put vegetable shortening, or lard, or crisco, or butter, or anything of that nature in our hair. Well some people might, but not the majority of us. We use hair moisturizers, not food products, and if you want to know why we need these things according to the chemistry of the keratinous protein makeup of our hair, please ask a cosmetologist. They’d be glad to answer.
We’re glad you’re interested in our hair, and genuinely want to know more about it. But please understand that we get asked questions about our hair and everything involved with it more often than you realize. It gets annoying. But we still love y’all. Don’t be afraid to ask a cosmetologist to explain some things to you or do some of your own research online. Doing so and actually coming to us with a little bit of knowledge before hand really helps and warms our hearts.
Thanks ever so much.