Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Something About Don't Care

what an insufferable moment
(the man on the sofa agrees)
My mostly natural-textured hair has recently been disguised with long twists.  This is what happens when I re-enter school or work with what seems to be an impossibly drastic change in hairstyle.

"Your hair grew!"  I used to employ a hidden eye roll for this comment but now I say "Yup!" with the same enthusiasm.

"You braid your hair like this every night?!"  A kid in my ninth grade biology class asked me this.  I think I answered yes.  

The other way around--when I deceived people from the beginning with my extension twists and then later removed them.  "You took out your dreads! Your haircut looks so good."  Brief deadpan.  Um...they weren't dreads but thanks.  Maybe I should have educated her about the difference.  Oh and about how I didn't get a haircut.  Hmm...

So, there are some women who hate when strangers touch their hair...usually without asking.  Or they find anyone who dares touch to be strange.  And with good reason.  Remember the elementary school classroom rule "Keep your hands to yourself"?  Always after the one about respect and the one about raising your hand to speak.  Well, that rule actually remains in effect for the rest of your life.  Unless someone has invited you to touch them-- explicitly or you know, with their eyes-- just don't.

Others don't mind.  It's just whatever.  Maybe the uninvited touch is not a major violation of personal space.  Or it's an opportunity to educate.  "You're so interested in my hair you want to touch it? Well let me tell you a few things..."  One of which might very well be "Don't pet people like they're goats at the zoo."  Ask and if you find it too uncomfortable to ask then the action is not meant for you anyway.  

I'm in the middle with this.  If you're a little girl who likes to play with hair, by all means, touch away.  As long as I'm not busy with anything.  Give me a haphazard ponytail (with several strands left out).  Braid from root to end.  Fold it into nothing.  It's strangely soothing to me.  But if you're an adult and I'm not paying you to manipulate my hair...

Today a co-worker came up to me while I sat at my desk and said "I've been wanting to touch your hair."  Then she touched the individual twists but I didn't object.  I think I made a confused face (wondering WHY?) which she didn't see because I continued to write in my case as she asked questions and never turned toward her.

"How long did it take?"  

"About four hours."

"Oh, it doesn't look braided all the way."  

"The ends are dipped in hot water to seal them."  

Then there was a compliment, some comment about me with long hair and the exchange was done.  I wasn't bothered with it (although it may seem like it the way I've written).  Her questions and desire to touch made me think about human curiosity and boundaries.  Is personal space limited to the body?  Does hair not count because it's technically "dead" or simply not (biologically) yours?  Once, not too long ago, I really wanted to touch this guy's hair.  It looked so soft and curly but I resisted.  If only to avoid the weirdness.  Why am I trying to touch dig my fingers as deep as the length will allow in this guy's hair?  No good reason? No good season.  And I felt it uncomfortable to ask.

I let boundaries restrain my curiosity.  Everyone should know how and when to do that.  And when to use Google when you want to know something.  Maybe visit a museum on extensions, weaves and wigs.  Does anything like that exist?!

Happy Tuesday!

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