By: Andrea Dawn
If there’s one thing I really dislike, it’s getting unsolicited advice from another person. You know what I mean: the (usually) well-meaning friend, family member, coworker, or complete stranger who feels compelled to advise you on a matter which is usually none of their business. I’ve been on the receiving end of such advice on many occasions, and I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of dispensing it every now and then. Recently I encountered a situation where I was just itching to dispense some unsolicited advice to a complete stranger. Here’s what happened:
I was at the checkout stand in a department store, and I noticed a grandmotherly looking White woman with two young boys who appeared to be bi-racial. One of the boys was about 2 years old and in a stroller. The other boy looked to be about 4 or 5 years old. They were both absolutely adorable, with big, beautiful, coily natural hair. I overheard the woman tell the clerk that the boys were her grandsons.
Her grandsons had the most beautiful hair, and lots of it, but it was extremely dry, tangled and knotted. It was particularly noticeable in the older boy’s hair. In my opinion a good conditioner, a good moisturizer and a good detangling comb would have made a big difference in the appearance of the boys’ hair.
In the community where we live, the Black population is very small. There are only a handful of stores that sell Black hair styling products, and even fewer that sell products suitable for natural hair. You really need to know where to go and what to look for. I find the process so discouraging that I usually end up ordering my hair products online. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for this White grandmother (or her son or daughter) to find suitable products to style the boys’ hair. By now I’m sure you all know what I wanted to do.
I wanted to approach this grandmother and tell her where she could find some natural hair styling products in the community; maybe even give her some suggestions on how to effectively moisturize and detangle her grandsons’ hair.
But I didn’t. I reminded myself how much I hate receiving unsolicited advice, especially from a stranger. Also, I had no idea if she would receive my suggestions with appreciation or with annoyance. So I kept my mouth shut and watched her walk out of the store with her two adorable grandsons, their hair dry, knotted and tangled. None of my business, I know, but still…
What would you have done in this situation? Do you think it’s ever appropriate to give unsolicited natural hair advice to another person?