(originally posted 7/30/06.....as I contemplate leaving the world of baldness and regrowing my hair)
What makes white women think that because we are both women, that they can put their hands on me or ask me questions like a sister as in sibling, not sistah?
I had this peroxided, limp, shoulder length hair, roots showing white girl come up to me and reach toward my head. She wanted to rub my head, because as she said, it looks so soft.
She didn't ask, she just reached. I nearly broke her arm. I slapped away her hand. I didn't know where her hands had been. I barely knew her. We were acquaintances, meaning we had exchanged useless chit chat in the recent past. But I've never tried or even wanted to reach out and touch for any reason. She didn't apologize for the intrusion, only melted away perplexed at my reaction.
I know in my cooler, more rational moments that it's a cultural thing, Whites have no concept of personal space. Whereas Blacks have an invisible area around us that you don't step into unless you intend to fight. Pointing your finger into someone's face or at them is another cultural no-no that whites don't understand.
And touching a Black woman's hair.... well that will get you killed..period.
My own hair is basically non existent these days. I'm almost bald by choice....my head is covered with fuzz that I get trimmed every few weeks at the barbershop. I don't go to a beauty parlor cause women stylists aren't trained in hair cutting. I go to a female barber who knows her business..
My head is totally liberated from the need to flip my locks like white girls and some black women with weaves are wont to do. As Indie Airie says, I am not my hair.
I love getting caught in a rain storm with no hat, rain beating on my scalp, pouring down my face. Talk about orgasmic. Whoo! Makes me want to take all my clothes off and just stand there in God's shower with my arms reaching up and out, with a stupid grin on my face like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption when he escaped prison.
And when I sweat, it beads on my head. I can feel the moisture on my skin rather then watch my hair go limp or frizzy from humidity.
This recent incident brought back another time when a white woman got touch crazy. I was working behind the service desk at Zayre. My hair was Angela Davis long...afro'd and picked and well taken care of and still soft. No hair spray no dandruff, just fierce and proud as we used to say..
White people didn't know what to think back in the day. They kept asking how do you get your hair to stand out like that? The bolder ones, usually women, would ask can I touch it?
Since I was at work at the time and still shedding my good Negro-ness (another story, another time), I let her touch me, but vowed inwardly never to let it happen again. She satisfied her curiosity about the black girl. I felt humiliated and slightly dirty.
So let me tell ya...if you see me and want to rub my head, you better ask somebody first..
Ya feel me?