LINES: Please Touch My Hair

As a woman of color, this monologue really said a lot of things that I sometimes don’t have the words to form sentences for.


Please Touch My Hair No, Please Touch It

If it’s so enticing and you can’t help yourself. You’re curious. You want to demonstrate how much you like it, in ways other than words. Unlike, the first summer I learned how to wear my big curly hair out and natural and I walked all over NYC hearing “Work Girl!” or “Your hair is so beautiful!” Finally loving what I looked like.

Please touch my hair

If you wonder how my genes could produce such a resilient force that will defy gravity, let me remind you I came back to my small town with new hair and confidence and self-love, only to hear “her hair is so big! I can’t see around your poofy hair! Ugh, that’s so distracting!” So I spend the next 5 years in a bun because I was ashamed of my curls.

Please touch my hair

If you find yourself reaching with a childlike curiosity to know its texture, how it grows and feels, know this hair made me the target of girls who thought I thought I was better. Because my Dad is Puerto Rican and I had that “good hair”.

Please touch my hair

Because you don’t see the hard work, time, effort and pride I have in these kinky locs , rather some-thing to satisfy your fancy. Hair that needs water and love and protective styles. The hair that I damaged and sacrificed by not wanting to call any more attention to the scarf wearing brown girl at the all-white sleepover.

Please touch my hair

Since it took me an hour to wash, an hour to condition and detangle, two to twist, overnight to dry and 30 minutes to untwist and style. To find a style that doesn’t make me curse God like I used to for not giving me “manageable hair”.
Please touch my hair

If you’ve never seen a magnificent crown composed of tangles and kinks and curls. Hair, that in its natural state is called nappy, undone, unprofessional, and untamed pelo malo.
Constantly told needs to be straight because straight hair is luxurious in a way that mine could never be. The norm. A standard of beauty. Hair that I had to be re-taught to love.

Please touch my hair

When you can no longer explain why my hair is so versatile. Cornrows or dyed. Plaited. Beaded. Bunned. Bangs. Ballies and barrettes. Extensions and Weaves. Twists. Short, then long. Relaxed. Wash and go’ed. Pressed with a hot comb while sitting on three phonebooks in my kitchen.

Please touch my hair

Because as much as you appreciate the “fun” of my ‘do as it stands tall. When you stare unblinking I am reminded of the Human Zoos. Where brown skinned people were paraded, humiliated and exploited as exhibits and I will not be your Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman.

Please touch my hair

When you wonder why I look like a rebel, a non-conformist, because sometimes I choose to let it do what it wants. This is the hair that outed my grandmother during her senior year of college. When girls she had spent 4 years befriending pushed her into the pool and realized as the moisture seeped into her roots, that she was not white… but light…. And then abandoned.

Please touch my hair

Because you are just curious and haven’t considered that I might not know you well enough to get that close. That I might consider it creepy. That I’ve already said no. That it makes me feel violated and like less of a person. That you’ve invaded my personal space. As if you see me as a pet for you to stroke and pat. That I don’t know where your hands have been. My hair is an extension of my body. Why is it okay for you to touch me without my permission and feel that you have a right to? I’ve never felt that privilege. You can love something and not touch it. I’m not a toy, I’m a person.

Please touch my hair

But know that when you reach out your fingers and have the audacity to touch my hair
I will recite these words for your much too curious self

So please, touch my hair

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18 thoughts on “LINES: Please Touch My Hair

      1. Obviously not. You see, people get to make jokes about whatever they like. No one needs your *permission*. You don’t get to decide for anyone else what they find or don’t find funny.
        That’s what I meant about not taking everything too seriously. There was nothing aggressive or offensive about my joke. It was just a play on words. Your reaction on the other hand was gratuitously combative. Still is now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is a serious post, there’s nothing funny or humourous about the post or the subject matter. So you asking “so you mean I can touch your hair?” is really inappropriate and shows you didn’t even read the article.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. “you don’t get to decide for anyone else what they find or don’t fine funny” typical thing for a person who doesn’t understand the struggles of black people, but chooses to make a “joke” in that context anyway, to say :/

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I never said that I get to decide when other people joke, nor did I say that your comment was aggressive or offensive. You might want to take your own advice because while you’re saying that I can’t tell other people when to joke (which I never did) you aren’t accepting the fact that I didn’t find your joke humorous and I don’t need your “permission” to disagree with you. My response was not combative, you only think it was because I disagree with you. I’ve been laughing about this conversation since it started. I don’t have an issue with people voicing their opinions, in fact I encourage it. However, if you can’t do it in a respectful manner and have a conversation without attacking me and calling me names then please don’t bother.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I wasn’t talking about the play on words. I was talking about when you said I was combative, don’t have a sense of humor and took myself too seriously. Which are all things that you have no proof of considering you know nothing about me and are just making assumptions all because I didn’t find your joke funny.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. What’s here to see is that you’re being a dick. She told you that she wasn’t finding your joke funny. You repeated it, as if she’s some moron or a three-year-old, and she again told you SHE DIDN’T FIND IT FUNNY. That’s it. You kept at it, telling Rae that it’s her fault for not taking a joke. You’re being a dick. She doesn’t find the joke funny. No one finds the joke funny. Your joke sucked. It’s dismissing an incredibly serious problem. How about, the next time someone says they don’t find a joke funny – especially when it’s around something serious – you just listen? If they’re telling you they aren’t amused perhaps MOVE THE FUCK ON.
        Her reaction wasn’t combative. Yours was. Mine currently is. All she told you was she wasn’t amused, and you somehow don’t get that.
        Here’s what people would like: when we’re discussing a serious issue, to not have someone make light of it. If you do, because you think it’s funny for some reason, or you’re the best joke-teller in the world, and the other person politely tells you that they don’t find it funny, perhaps stop? I mean, I get it. No one laughed at your joke, and that hurt your feelings and you got your panties all twisted up, but seriously? Get over it.
        It is all here for everyone to see. It’s all here for everyone to see that you didn’t listen when someone told you they didn’t find it a joking matter, and yet you continued, and your response was defensive, rude, disrespectful and condescending.
        Have more respect for yourself, and for others.

        Liked by 1 person

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