I Am Not a Chia Pet
First of all….just look at that ridiculous picture. But seriously where can I buy a Happy Chia Obama?
Ok, on to the story. So I was in the office the other day, and made the terrible terrible mistake of calling my barber to make an appointment while in the office (I KEEP doing this). My coworkers overheard and immediately asked me why I was getting a haircut. “Your hair isn’t even that long!” and, “didn’t you just get a haircut last week?” questions started bombarding me instantly. In a matter of seconds I had unwittingly become part of the dreaded: Black Hair Discussion.
You never wanna be part of a BHD. There’s really nothing you can do to make it un-awkward for yourself. Every one I’ve been in involves questions about why I need to brush my hair (“I don’t even notice a difference!”), why I need to cut my hair so often (“I like your hair longer and curlier!”), why I don’t go to SuperCuts (“I have the greatest barber at SuperCuts!”), and what “waves” are and what do-rags are for (seriously). I’d imagine that it’s worse for black women. I hate these discussions, they never lead anywhere and nobody seems to realize that it may be a bit unprofessional to walk around the office looking like ?uestlove.
I even had a guy ask me why all black guys wear mustaches? What the fuck man?
But I’ve had these discussions before. They’re fairly harmless. Eventually (hopefully) everyone realizes that the conversation makes me uncomfortable and moves on. However, every once in a while, someone seems intent on provoking an Office Nigga Moment and crosses a sacred boundary. They rub my hair.
Look, you couldn’t run your hand through your female coworker’s hair without having to redo your sexual harassment courses. There is pretty much no other acceptable situation for unsolicited and unwanted hand-head contact that is NOT punishable or weird in some way, except for touching a black man’s head. Somehow it just is cool to say, “ooh your hair is so cool,” and just help yourself. Hey, stop that shit or the next time you bring your loud baby to the office I’m gonna say how cool his soft spots are and poke them (not really, but really).
Luckily I was able to control myself. I smiled (well, gritted my teeth), and told the woman I didn’t like people touching my hair. Of course, SHE acted offended as if I had infringed upon her God-given right to enjoy rubbing my scalp. I don’t know when it became cool to do this (slavery?), but if you’re white and reading this and have done it please stop. It’s pretty condescending, and unintentionally racist. One day some lad won’t be able to control his inner rage (aka his inner Samuel Jackson).