Him: “Is that your real hair? Nevermind, yeah that’s your hair I can tell. Yeah, that’s all you.”
He said it so confidently and so damn loud that I didn’t have a chance to actually respond. He also had a full blown, 15-second conversation, aloud, with himself about my hair and it’s potential realness, without giving me .5 seconds to even open my mouth to say anything back.
It wasn’t my hair. And I don’t mind telling people that it isn’t since I love shamelessly promoting Heat Free Hair, the most fabulous and might I say black-owned weave line I’ve been wearing since I was first introduced to it. I also love wearing weave because I’m lazy and I’d rather not add doing my natural hair to the list of things I have to do day in and day out.
To be honest, he wasn’t the first black man (or black person) to ask me “if this was my hair”. Why that matters when talking to someone you just met, I don’t know. But, my annoyance with this situation was really about the comfort level a lot of black men and some women have when asking other black women in public about the realness of their hair.
Like, we were at a bar.
The assumption is usually that it can’t be because, well we’re black. Like, regular, you don’t look mixed or potentially from the “islands” black. And because you’re the supposed “regular” black girl, they squint a little bit if you say yes, and look rest assured in their assumption if you say no.
I figured this one particular guy confidently answered his rhetorical question because of the texture of the weave. It’s like a 4C. Ironically, my real texture isn’t this even thick (ugh, I wish). I guess if it was like a Malaysian, 3C hair, texture wouldn’t have been a factor?
Even my bi-racial best friend, whom most people look at and automatically assume her hair is real because of her ethnicity, gets asked this question in public. A lot.
Maybe it’s an odd sensitivity, but I’ve never felt comfortable just blatantly asking someone if something about them was real. Especially someone I didn’t know.
On one hand, it’s sort of laughable. On the other, it’s kind of rude and intrusive, mainly because I really doubt that they’d question women who aren’t black about their hair being real. Ironically I have more white homegirls who wear more fake hair than my black girlfriends do. Actually, I’m pretty much the only one in my squad who rocks a weave. Because, lazy.
We all know about black women’s deep-rooted, emotional connection to hair. And while that connection kind of went over my head growing up (I never really thought much about my hair’s length or texture), I still purse my lips tightly together when a black man asks me or my best friend or black women around me if that’s our real hair. It’s as if it validates our presence in the moment or lifts a weight off his shoulders if we answer “of course it is.”
Why does anyone care?
I don’t know what the equivalent would be of a woman asking a man an intrusive question like that on the spot. “Is that your real money?” “Is that your real hair line?” “Is that your real beard?”
Either way, can we stop?
Maybe it’s just me, y’all, but that dude really irked my life. He was cute too. SMH.