What is it about a black woman with long hair that possesses people to lean in and whisper, “Is that your real hair?”
I have lost count the number of times I have been on the receiving end of this question from coworkers that I have known for a few weeks, to people I have met at a party and known for no more than ten minutes, to the absolute strangers sitting next to me on the subway!
For starters, let us just clear a few things up – not only black women wear weaves. I mean, have years and years of America’s Next Top Model taught you nothing? Women of all races wear them, from Beyoncé, to the Kardshians to Britney Spears. However, some do tend to refer to their weaves as extensions in an attempt to make the fact they have fake hair sewn into their real hair, whether to add either length or volume, seem somehow more refined. Whether you call it a weave or extension, it’s all the same thing. Another thing to note is that weaves come in every hair type and texture that you can imagine. From long and straight to waves and curls and yes, even afros!
Being curious about someone’s hair is not the problem. The fact is that I too see women every day who have physical aspects that I am curious about. Are her teeth veneers? No one’s teeth are that straight and white! Her eyes are so blue! I wonder if she is wearing contacts. Are her boobs are real, because that is a pretty impressive rack. Did she get lip injections? Do people still get lip injections? We are all curious about things. The difference is, I know better than to actually open my mouth and ask any of these terribly rude questions.
It is not that I am ashamed of wearing a weave. You will never catch me doing something as ridiculous as trying to play it off as if it is my naturally grown hair. I love wearing a weave for the same reason I love switching up my nail colour on a weekly basis, I like the way it looks on me, therefore, I get it done.
The problem I have with people stopping to ask black women about their hair is simple. It is none of your business.
Why did you feel the need to ask? What purpose will the answer give you except a momentary sense of satisfaction? What business is it of yours whether or not my hair is real? You are being nosy and asking is going to turn that nosiness into rudeness.
Look, if you like my hair, that is great! I like it too. So, just pay me a compliment which I will respond to politely and go about your day. If you don’t like my hair, then you are entitled to your opinion, wrong as it clearly is, and just please keep it to yourself and move along because I do not want to hear about it.
So, consider this your friendly public service announcement. Unless you know her very, very well, do not ask a black woman about her hair, because it is not your concern. Even more importantly, do not make the cardinal mistake of touching her hair, because that is a whole different issue, and a whole different article.
Featured image via ThirstyRoots