LOOK BUT DON’T TOUCH

Natural Hair

A friend of mine recently told me about a male friend of hers who just began to touch her hair one day, saying that it looked really nice.  During this encounter, he said he’d done this to another black woman and the result was him getting slapped.  Now that reaction is very extreme, but I know a lot of black women who would quickly tell him don’t touch me and provide a colorful commentary to go with it.  But my question is: Why was he so interested in touching a black woman’s hair? So much so, that even after being slapped, he still ventured out and did it again.

Now I work with the public and get asked about my hair ALL THE TIME. I have Locs.  Not a day goes by where I don’t get asked, “Is that your real hair?” “How did you get it to stay like that?” “Can I touch it?” I understand complementing someone or having questions about a style that you may be unfamiliar with, but “NO you can’t touch my hair!”

If you didn’t already know, black women are very sensitive and protective of their hair.  It is the reason we won’t swim on vacation, exercise on a regular, or go out in bad weather.   It is truly our crown and glory.  No one understands the DAILY struggle we go through. Relax it? Braid it? Press it? Add weave?  We will sit in the beauty shop all damn day and pay an arm and a leg just to get it dyed, fried, and laid to the side.  We suffer chemical burns, pressing comb burns, and sore spots all in the name of beauty.  I even have a friend that tries to “sleep pretty”.   Our hair literally brings us to tears sometimes.  Hair is serious business!!

Ladies what have been some of your experiences with people asking about your hair? Do you follow the look but don’t touch policy or are you okay with letting someone touch it?

Comments

  1. Being a black woman with what is considered to be long hair, I get this from time to time. I get it from black people and white people. People are just curious! I’ve had people touch my hair with and without my permission. It most cases it doesn’t bother me because I’ve had hair at this length my entire life most people only do it if they feel comfortable with me. Just don’t get to comfortable and want to start stroking me like a pet! I’m not one of those black women that let hair hold them back. If I want to swim, workout, walk in the rain, wash my hair in the shower or whatever; I do it. I just slap some conditioner or something in afterwards to control it.

  2. lovedecor99 says:

    If someone is offending you with a hair comment or gesture–and I know there are still some deliberate jerks out there–succintly and politely put them in their place. You want real effect? Don’t focus on hair and being all angry. Simply say, “Could you please not touch me. It caught me off guard and creeped me out.” People snap out of it real fast when you remind them that the just put their hands on you uninvited. They remember their manners quicky after that. ANOTHER THOUGHT… Do women really not know or are they just pretending they don’t know–men like to touch a woman’s hair! They like to smell a woman’s hair. They like to run their fingers through a woman’s hair if she let’s them. They like to toy or play with it. And, it’s not always sexual but more often simply endearing. Long, short, and in between, they’re curious about a woman’s hair. The globe over, people are bombarded with shampoo commercials and this heightens curiousity.

  3. Reblogged this on Maybelline Queen.

  4. lovedecor99: Does curiosity allow someone the right to express that curiosity by invading my personal space? You seem to let it slide because it’s hair. Would it be ok if it was my butt or breast because we see those visuals on television all day? And I would love to go to the gym and touch on abs all day. But I KNOW that isn’t acceptable no matter how attractive I find the man. And I know a man would love to rub all over this fabulousness that I have! But he still needs to Look But Don’t Touch!

  5. An excerpt from my previous post regarding people, esp. strangers, who have the audacity to touch someone uninvited (this is the advice I give young women and those who have used it were shocked at how effective it is in shutting down unwanted behavior)… EXCERPT: “If someone is offending you with a hair comment or gesture–and I know there are still some deliberate jerks out there–succintly and politely put them in their place. You want real effect? Don’t focus on hair and being all angry. Simply say, “Could you please not touch me. It caught me off guard and creeped me out.” People snap out of it real fast when you remind them that the just put their hands on you uninvited. They remember their manners quicky after that…”

  6. Of course it’s NOT ok for strangers to touch you. Also, the second part of my post regarded people who are acquainted with you. If they touch you, you can still say, “When you touch me out of the blue like that, it creeps me out–please don’t do it again.” The point is to stop the behavior, not give a shocking history lesson that will totally be lost on them. Touching is offensive (and at times illegal). Focus on that when you confront people–they get it and they back the hek off. I’M A BIT OLDER THAN THE TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC FOR THIS BLOG. I just happen to be on winter holiday surfing the Internet and reading things I don’t usually have time to read. MY ADVICE, UNSOLICITED AS IT MAY BE, is to practice several responses in the mirror. Seriously. You practice them just like you would practice for deadling with the office jerk, the random street harrasser, the boundary-crossing creepy man who keeps hitting on you, and of course, the hair idiot.

  7. I recently had a guy rub his hands through my hair and I was kind of caught off guard (I’ve never been one to let people rub or play in my hair). But I didn’t take offense or anything, I jus asked him was he trying to feel to c if I had weave in, and he said “yep”. I guess I didn’t realize that guys really did that 😒

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