White Dude Coworker: Like, I don’t get it. What’s the big deal about having natural hair?
Me: It’s not really a big deal, it’s just a difference in the look, texture, and upkeep of the hair.
White Dude Coworker: Well, what’s the difference? What does natural hair look like?
Me: *pointing to my fresh twist-out* This is natural.
White Dude Coworker: What does un-natural hair look like?
Me: Mostly permed or relaxed hair is considered to be un-natural.
White Dude Coworker: My sister got a perm once, she looked terrible.
Me: What most white people call perms are different from what black people call perms. Perms make white peoples’ hair curly, but make make black peoples’ hair straight.
White Dude Coworker: Oh. I don’t see lots of girls around here with hair like yours though.
Me: Probably because they have perms or weaves.
White Dude Coworker: So….Michelle Obama, her hair is natural, right?
White Dude Coworker: Yes it is!
Me: No, really, it’s not. She has a relaxer!
White Dude Coworker: What?!?!?!? *Mouth drops open*
White Dude Coworker: *long pause* Are you sure?
As nuts as this conversation may sound, it’s not the first time I’ve had to give a white guy a short lesson on my hair, weaves, relaxers, locs, or natural hair in general. No matter how I try to slice it, most white people, guys especially seem to be very fascinated with natural hair.
When I met my husband, the first thing he wanted to do was touch my hair. I had it in an afro puff/ponytail. He was fascinated with the texture, how it smelled, how “spongy” it felt, and thought it was the most unusual thing EVER the way my hair stayed stationary no matter how hard the wind blew. We’ve been together for 4 years and he still finds himself playing in my hair, sometimes greasing my scalp and helping me retwist. He loves my kinks and curls and actually doesn’t care for me to straighten it. He loves afro puffs, twist-outs and braid-outs especially because he says it shows off my texture best. But even as much as hubs knows about my hair now, back when we first started dating, he had to learn the hard way about my day long hair washing sessions and how messy and time consuming henna can be. For a while, he assumed that if a black girl had bone straight hair, it was naturally so. You would be surprised by the strange things that some white guys just assume about our hair in it’s natural state. When I broke the news to a white associate of mine that his favorite actress Gabrielle Union was more than likely sporting a weave in his favorite photo of her, he looked as though he could cry. When he was able to collect himself, he retorted “Well, that’s just ridiculous! I bet she’d be just as stunning without all that fake stuff”. I agree!
Now, I know that some naturals don’t like to be approached about their hair, or even have anyone request to touch or get a closer look, but you gotta remember, not all people who are inquiring are doing so to be rude or nosey. There are some people who are genuinely intrigued by what’s going on atop your head! Let’s face it, there are probably not a lot of people walking around looking like you, and the fact that you are so uniquely beautiful may attract attention. *Kanye shrug*