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Stop touching black women’s hair

Illustration by: Azalie Miller | Staff Illustrator

It seems as though society views black women as mythical creatures.

Some individuals deny or ignore our presence while others expect us to live up to extremely high ideals and fantasies. One thing in particular seems to inspire a bountiful array of irritating questions: our hair.

I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have fielded questions regarding my hair. I almost never have enough time to explain the intricacies of black hair care or discuss the benefits of Peruvian versus Brazilian weave. I honestly do not even know the difference.

I have spent 19 years walking around with this bird’s nest on my head and I still cannot begin to understand it. If I am not able to grasp the concept of my own hair, trust me, another person cannot either.

According to society, it is rude to approach a stranger and begin to mash your fingers into their hair. Applying this rule to my life, it is not okay for someone I do not know to come up to me and fondle my braids because they are curious.

I am not a petting zoo. Keep your hands off, Curious George.

Also, do not ask whether or not my hair is real. It would not be nice of me to inquire if those are real breasts or if that nose was paid for. Regardless of whether it grew out of my scalp or I bought it at the corner store, it’s mine. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

The complete process of washing my hair takes a full 12 hours at the least, so no, I do not wash it every day. If I did, I would never have time for anything else and my hair would feel like buckwheat.

I would be a walking fire hazard in the blazing hot summers of Texas because my hair would literally be the texture of hay. I would not be surprised if Black Beauty decided she was hungry and began to munch on my hair for a midday snack.

Yes, my hair was short yesterday. Yes, my hair is long today. Was it magic? Maybe. Everyone knows black folks are magical.

The truth behind the change in length is simple: I bought it and sat in a chair for 10 hours while braiding the “fake” hair into the “real” part of my mane.

Asking questions about black hair is not bad. I’m glad so many people find it to be such an interesting topic. However, do not interrupt whatever I am doing to ask me these foolish questions. I’m busy, honey, move along. I will get back to your questions at a later time.

There have been times where I’ve felt like pulling a Britney and shaving my hair off. Then I would realize the boiled egg look is perhaps not for me.

On a serious note, it has taken me 19 years to accept my hair and learn to embrace these locks. We live in a society that does not see kinky, coily and textured hair as traditionally beautiful.

I have finally realized I do not need society to tell me my hair is beautiful. Society is pretty lame anyway.

Do not touch my hair, plain and simple. Unless people want to lose a couple of fingers, it is best to refrain.