The other night I was having a conversation with a guy when I had one of my infamous word vomity moments and blabbed that I’m basically putty in the hands of a man who can do a good hair rub.
The guy was amazed, 1) at my word vomit – he hadn’t really experienced it before. Trust me, it can be kind of jarring if you’re not used to it; and 2) that his knowledge of black women being opposed to any kinds of hands in their hair was off base.
At first he didn’t believe me. But as I pointed out to him – umm sir, I just gave you some very crucial information here, albeit inadvertently! Its not everyday a woman just tells a man her kryptonite; especially a man who’s bound to try and use it against her at some point.
Either way, while I don’t purport to speak for all women, I would like to explain the nuances in the stereotype that black women don’t want you touching their hair (at least for me).
For starters, there’s a difference between the guy I’m with comforting me after a frustrating day/moment by taking me in his arms and rubbing my hair and some dude I don’t know putting his grubby ass fingers in my hair. I thought I had it bad with this because for some reason guys randomly like to touch my hair when I’m out, like there’s a sign that says ‘please touch me!’ on it, but after going out with 3 of my favs who have natural hair and seeing how guys think its OK to touch their ‘fro or pull one of their curls, I realized my plight was nothing compared to theirs.
Still, if you do that to any of us, you’re going to get the death stare. Not because my hair is sacred; it’s because I don’t. Know. You! I would react in the same manner if you touched any other part of my body as well.
Another distinction is between rubbing lightly (which really doesn’t mess anything up) and fussing up my hair, especially if I just got it done. See, here’s the thing… that pic up there looks all cute to you, doesn’t it? Awww I know, so wonderful and fun… except that it’s not. I just spent a minimum of 2 hours at the salon (if I went to a Dominican salon) or all day (if I went to an African-American one… #notthrowingstones #justsayin), and you want to take your hand and fuss that up?! Boy, I oughtta… That would be the equivalent of you spending all day cleaning your car, giving me the keys to go get some food and I come back and it looks like I took the car through a swamp. That’s what you’ve done to my hair… Made it look like I went to the swamp. That’s not okay.
Lastly, I am (and I think most women are) perfectly okay with a little tug during certain activities and if I need to get my hair done anyway, I may just join you in the shower. But what I won’t do is sit under that hell of a dryer for an hour, feeling my scalp peel away from my brain, and then jump in the shower with you that night. Hell, chances are that I’m probably not wrapping my hair* and I’m definitely not putting a scarf on if you’re spending that night… Isn’t that enough? What more do you want from me, mannnnn?!
So folks, does that explain the hair thing a little more? Girls, are those things just me? Do you have other distinctions you have to offer? And guys, has the hair thing ever really impeded on something you were trying to do with your girl? If so, please explain.
*Though I may pin curl it; I think I figured out a way to still look cute with that, but that’s only after like the 3rd night in a row. My hair can last through the 1st 2 and still be fine in the morning (not that I’ve tested out this theory or anything like that).