“Your hair is so cute!” she squeals.
I tense up.
“I like your hair! How did they do it? I mean is it like just twisted?”
I nod as I slowly close my book and raise my head to meet her face.
I already knew she was white. I had spied her when I sat down.
I really have no patience for white people gushing about my hair. Especially not this morning.
I had stared in the mirror long and hard for almost twenty minutes before I left home debating what to do next once my two-month-old twists came out.
Not today! I think to myself.
When I finally face her, I muster a “Why thank you kindly smile” but I guess it doesn’t contain the enthusiasm she expected. Perhaps my irritation shows through the forced smile.
“Yes, it’s just twisted.” I reply in answer to her earlier barrage of questions.
“I wish I could have that done to my hair! She squeals again, this time a considerable octave lower.
I don’t suggest that there are several places where she could get it done. Nor do I mention how expensive it is. Nor do I even entertain the thought of volunteering to give her a closer look or let her touch it.
I just sit and try and hold the smile.
I think she’s confused now because she sighs and says, “it’s just really cute…that’s all.”
“Thank you.” I say again wondering what else she would like to hear from me.
My lack of enthusiasm about her compliment has bothered her. It’s obvious she feels rebuffed.
I can’t help her. I’m just exhausted being a doll to be admired or oogled. Really. For a moment as we both board the train I wonder what would happen if we, Black people, began oogling and gushing about white women’s hair and wanting to touch it. Sort of like cat-calling men back on the street. Would it create the desired effect?
Sometimes though I think, why is it such a big deal that she is admiring my hair. Maybe it’s coming from a place of genuine appreciation. I admire my sistas afros and locs sometimes. Do they feel the same way about me doing it as they would if it were coming from a white woman?
Then I remember the baggage. The history that is forever etched on our very DNA. That’s right. That’s why I bristle when they squeal.
4 thoughts on “OMG! Your Hair Is So Cute!”
I love your honesty. You write very well. Try to smile more, you deserve it.
Yes, yes, and more yes. In all ways yes.
there is much to be said on this topic. people get really confused about my hair because it can be multiple things. most recently i was asked if “it was real.” i was confused because i had no idea what the person was talking about. then she said “your hair.” i managed to replied with a yes. but i have no idea why she thought it wasnt. my hair wasnt even done. just pulled back into a pony tail. over the years i have gotten many remarks asking if i has relaxed it of if i have had a bought a piece for it. its crazy. often times, like you, i dont want to really talked about it but they (usually whites) do end up confused that i am not jumping up and down that they are so interested in my hair. i think if it were reversed, many would like that kind of attention paid to them.