If you’re black, female and alive on this planet, you’ve been asked this question at least once. “Is that yooouuurrr hair?”. You’ve probably been asked this question by (in order of frequency) :
1)other black women,
3)your non-black friends.
For some reason, this question has always bothered me. Now, don’t get me wrong - I’m a hypocrite. I’ve definitely asked this question several times before, and I’ll probably continue to do so, but it doesn’t stop the slight annoyance every time someone asks ME.
I recently went out on a limb, did something slightly out of character, and bought an afro wig. (see last month’s solitary post.. (sorry guys :-(). About 2 weeks ago, I attended a fairly large church event and kept getting compliments from other people on my hair. (Or not my hair, as the case may be). Each time, I would smile, say thank you, and whisper surreptitiously “It’s not mine..”. After a couple of rounds of this, one of my close friends berated me…”Shade, stop telling people it’s not yours...it looks so real no one would ever guess, and you bought it, so it’s yours!”. She might be right, and I thought about why it was I felt so compelled to tell people it wasn’t my hair.
I think a small part of me just feels slightly, well….deceitful..It’s almost like hair is something that you put work into, and cultivate, and GROW, and so when people compliment you, they’re not complimenting only the hair, but also the trouble you’ve taken to get it to look fly..So, when all I’ve done is popped a wig on, it feels slightly strange to accept a compliment for that. Plus, I feel like it’s easier to offer what you know the person is already looking for. I know you want to know if it’s real or not, so to prevent the awkwardness of the question, I’lll just offer the info instead.
Forgetting that though, when I’m wearing my real hair, I’ve begun to feel increasingly more irritated by that question. Like, is it really your business if it is or isn’t? What difference does it make to you? Especially when the question is followed by ‘where are you from?’..as if to say ‘what non-African blood do you have in you to get your hair that way?’. Those are the times when I wish I was 100% pure blooded (if there’s any such thing) West African, just so I can crush that silly idea that it’s easier to have ‘good’ hair if you’re more mixed.
And don’t get me started on when the question is accompanied by an unsolicited petting of the hair. *rolls eyes*
I guess I would just prefer if people asked ‘how did you get your hair like that?’ instead of ‘is it REEEAAALL??’. There’s something a little less abrupt, less confrontational and less….well...nosey…
What do y’all think?
Peace, Love and Hair Grease xx