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Feature What To Wear... The Ups and Downs of a Natural Head


The Ups and Downs Of A Natural Head
by Monica Simons

Editor: Farika - No Lye

New Year's Resolution!

Ah, it's that time again gang! Time to sing Auld Lang Sine, get drunk enough to forget all your old and new acquaintances and make a resolution to make the world a better/safer place by committing to a better/more profound you. Well, once you finish with all the stuff and professing to promises you have no intention of keeping (i.e.loose the weight, stop being so judgmental, ..etc.) let's try focusing on ones that we can keep. For all my natural heads who don't have a resolution or are looking for one to dedicate yourselves to, try this one - STOP TOUCHING ME!

That’s right! I said it! Dedicate yourself to telling folks to actually consider...STOP TOUCHING ME! I don’t say this out of a schizophrenic break down, though it may sound otherwise. I say this because, throughout my first year as a loc’d / natural head sister I have encountered more and more folks who just want to walk up to me and put their hands in my hair.

One "hair touching" experience was when I was at the ATM one day. There I was, transacting business when a man, whose acquaintance I never made before, walks up to me and strokes my hair…ARE YOU CRAZY?! First of all, brothers, DON'T walk up behind a woman. Second of all, peeps, DON'T walk up on someone while they are at the ATM deep into their duckets/cash money. You are liable to get shot!! Third...all together now…..STOP TOUCHING ME! He proceeded to tell me how nice he thought my hair looked. I proceeded to tell him it will look nicer when he gets his hands the hell out of it. He proceeded to say…and I quote….”I know it’s rude” then he stepped back. I said “YES, it is”. He replied, while taking a step forward, “I don’t care I’m going to keep touching it anyway”. So I was forced to get out of character in order to teach him, that he didn’t know me nor was he ready to. After a quick grab of the mace and some in depth instruction that sounded like “keep breathing jacka$$ the paramedics are on their way”, I had to just collect myself and walk away in a ladylike fashion.

Let's think about this...I KNOW - YOU KNOW it is rude! If some strange man on the street walked up to your mother and started stroking her hair while commenting on the “softness” - you would throw a fit. Why is it then okay for you to touch another woman, whom you don’t know? It’s a violation of space and privacy! Not to mention you have no idea about people’s hygiene. I wouldn’t pet a stray cat, let alone a stray person. So, don’t go there. But someone did go there...

I wish this illicit unauthorized touching of my hair experiences ended here, however, Oh no! You would think it’s only men, right? WRONG! Sisters, don’t stroke other sisters in public…it’s GROSS! You don’t know me. So...that’s right, ding, ding, ding…you guessed it…..STOP TOUCHING ME! While shopping for furniture, a sales lady (a Sista) walks up to me. Now of course, I assume she is approaching to be of some assistance and earn a commission. NOPE! She was approaching to earn a cuss out. She walks right up to me, greets me and then pulls one of my locs, HARD! After noticing my facial expression, she says as a way of explanation “ I was wondering if it was soft, it looks good that way”. I was dumbfounded. What in the world?! That’s it! No apology for damn near pulling my loc out of my scalp lining? I guess I wasn’t worthy of that. I guess I shouldn’t expect an apology if I didn’t even get a request to touch me in the first place.

Perhaps this is the problem. Folks assume because you are natural, you are positive and sit around all day eating dirt and herbs with the occasional glass of lemon water just to feel that you are connected with the earth and your spirit. When you turn around, look them right in the eye and yell STOP TOUCHING ME, they get angry that you are not what they expected. They quickly assume that not only are you a meat eater but you actually find offense in others! You know, the moment when your humanity dawns on them. You can see it in their eyes as soon as you yell STOP TOUCHING ME.

My most recent incident of the "hair touchers" happened with someone who didn't speak very much English. She sold fake hair amongst other knick-knacks. We'll call her Ms. Asia Wigs-Seller. When I walked into the store she greeted me kindly, so I thought I was in the clear. But oooooooooooh no, even Asia has Bebe's kids. As I was making a purchase, Wigs-Seller leans over me as I'm signing my sales slip and says..(as close to my head as she can possibly get while her breath was making my hair follicles sweat) "Whe-a you get-a har like-a-dis". I lifted one eyebrow and raised my head as I said, "God", and slid the signed slip over to her while I waited for the bag filled with my purchases. Ms. Wigs-Seller looked perplexed. I saw the hand start to move out the corner of my eye and shifted to the side out of reach. Now mind you my peoples, I just wanted some earrings and a scarf not a night at the Kung Fu palace of crap nobody wants. But my instincts told me, THIS was not going to run smoothly. Wigs-Seller pointed at me accusingly and said in a high pitched voice "No, no! What you do to har to get dis-a-way? Whe-a you buy"? "You buy?", I said. "Was that last one a question or an accusation"?, I got no answer. Ms. Wigs-Seller just waited patiently. So I explained again, "I didn't buy it, this is my real hair". She was not pleased. She decided if she explained to me the reason she wanted to know than maybe I would stop lying and give up the goods. "Many of you come in store, aks for dis kine of har, whe-a you get"? So I just slid her the business card for No Lye and she handed me my purchases. Sorry Farika, I would have given her the number to the church but you know they don't actually take messages for the most High.

Anywho...if you are looking to improve the world this year and make it a better and safer place for all natural hair kind, remember the three little words you heard hear folks -STOP TOUCHING ME - and have a prosperous New Year.

Monica N. Simons received her B.F.A in Theatre from George Mason University. She currently works for Americans for the Arts as a Meetings and Events Associate. She also owns her own theatre company called In My Mothers’ Words. In My Mothers’ Words is based on the ideal that every race and religion has a story to tell and, as the mother is the life giver than, every life story starts with what your mother taught you in the womb. May the stories of our mothers never be forgotten.

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