Compliment?

Hey you guys.  I got dental work done, so I was down for the count for a while.  And you guys were so sweet to ask about me.  You didn’t?  My husband made that up?  He didn’t?  That was just the Percocet talking?  Oh.

Well, anyway, it made me glad I cut my hair, because worrying about hair doesn’t really go with dental work.  To me, anyway.  There may be some of you who get a bridge and a blowout.  I’m not sure I want to know you, though.

Lots of people have commented on my short ‘do.  Which I don’t mind.  But then again, lots of people have commented on my longer ‘do.  Most of which I didn’t mind.

Except that time this lady told me I looked like Tracy Chapman.

And then I realized she was serious.
And then I realized she was serious.

Here’s the deal with that.  One:  Aside from the hair, I look nothing like Tracy Chapman.  Two:  Actually, the hair looks nothing like Tracy Chapman’s, either.  But that’s not what upset me.

What upset me was that when I informed her that I have twists that are very unlike Ms. Chapman’s locs, ol’ girl got offended.  “I was just trying to pay you a compliment,” she huffed.

Here’s the deal.  It’s not that I think Tracy Chapman is unattractive.  It’s just that this chick pulled out of her brain the single black woman she knew with natural hair hand made the comparison, and then I was supposed to take it as a compliment rather than the ignorance it was.  I honestly would have been just as offended had she told me I looked like Rhianna.  Would I love to look like Rhianna?  Absolutely.  But I don’t.  I’m pretty darn cute in my own way.

At least I like to think so.
At least I like to think so.

This woman is tall, with long, dark hair and dark eyes.  Would she have taken it as a compliment if I told her she looked just like Jessica Simpson?  Nope.  She would have been extremely confused—with good reason.  The only thing they would have had in common is the hair length. That’s it.  Not hair color, not hair texture, not skin tone or teeth or height—just hair length. That would be kinda dumb, right?

I wish I could have explained this all to her.  But I didn’t have time. Or the inclination.  Because if she could look at me and see Tracy Chapman, I’m not sure there is anything I could have said that could have made her look beyond the fact that she was being so gracious in giving me a “compliment” and I had the nerve, the everlasting nerve, to shoot it down.

All because I don’t look like Tracy Chapman, and neither does my hair.

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Is it because they’re cute?

I often watch my kids and their interactions in amazement. You know how they say “kids are cruel”? I think it’s because kids under a certain age are brutally honest. The other day I had the privilege to observe Kid Sensation and his peers at the new library play area. I have to say, not only are kids dead honest, other kids handle this honesty quite well.

I saw a little boy who was contentedly playing alone with some blocks. Another boy came to join in the block fun. The first boy stares at the other kid, sighs heavily and gets up to go somewhere else. Now, a stare, a sigh, and bodily self-removal only mean one thing: I don’t really want you anywhere near me, but since I can’t ask you to leave, I’ll go instead. To me, this is even ruder (ruder? Is that a word? Well, there’s no squiggly red line, so I guess it is) than being asked to leave. This is basically being told that you stink. As a grown woman, I would fight someone who did this to me—they obviously just told the world that I stink. I feel very strongly about that because I don’t stink. The kid who must have stunk didn’t seem to take this too badly, though.

I saw a little girl horde baby dolls. I mean, chickie-poo wasn’t letting anyone touch the babies because everyone else had germs. Those were her words. “Don’t touch the babies cause you have germs.” The funny thing is, I am pretty sure I know who this girls turns out to be. She’s the mom that begs for playdate that turn out to be absolutely zero fun because no one can get dusty or touch anything. Notice I didn’t even say dirty. The girl managed to remain un-beat-up, and other little girls kept approaching her. It probably won’t be until middle school that people start to avoid her like the plague.

My kid, my innocent darling Kid Sensation, shooed another child. Like, he said the word, “Shoo!” to someone else. I swear to god, if another adult, (besides my mama and Grandma of course) said shoo to me, I would lose it. Shoo? SHOO? Like I’m some sort of fly with poop-covered feet? No dice. However, Kid Sensation remained unscathed. 

Well, maybe if I was this fly.
Well, maybe if I was this fly.

One little girl told another girl that her hair was ugly. The other little girl shrugged and moved on with her life. This is not something I would have been physically capable of. If another grown woman had decided to straight up tell me that my hair was ugly without the usual dancing around the subject (you know, the “ Ooooohhh, you got your hair cut. It’s, um, different.” Or, “that color? Humph. Well if you like it…) there would have been no further words exchanged. It would be all “Eyewitness reports say that the suspect, Vida, somehow turned into a wolverine and ripped the offender to shreds. Reports say that the suspect keeps muttering the phrase, ‘They told me Tuscan Honey would look good on me. They told me Tuscan Honey would look good on me’”.

When do we lose the capability to be so honest and accept such honesty in return? Are kids better people than adults? Maybe. But they don’t pay bills or have jobs or do laundry, so maybe not.

 

 

 

Ask first. I beg you.

Today’s hate is for people who refuse to respect boundaries. Like personal space.

Let me start at the beginning.

In order for you to appreciate the rest of this tale, you have to know two things: I have a big, curly Afro and I live in a predominately White area.

So I’m minding my own business, waiting for an appointment when a lady that I do not know walks by and ruffles my hair. No lie. Like I am a puppy. While I am quite adorable, I do not like to be petted. (Petted? Is that right? It doesn’t sound right. It is? Huh. Well, okay.)

She says, “You hair is so cute! I bet people do that to you all the time.”

I look at her, wide-eyed, and exclaim, “Nooooooo! They don’t!”

This heifer had the nerve, the unimaginable nerve, to look offended.

I was beside myself for the rest of the day. I must have describe the event to the Big Man at least a dozen times.

“And then, she has the almighty nerve—“

“To be offended. How dare her.”

“Are you making fun of me?” I may have been screeching in a tone usually emitted by peacocks.

“Listen, sweetheart. Your hair is pretty awesome.”

“I know.”

“People like touching awesome things.” Oh, I hate it when he’s so succinctly sensible.

“I know that too.”

“So what’s really bothering you? I’ve seen you let people touch your hair before.”

That’s what it was. The word let. She touched me and she didn’t ask me first.

Image
Except Kid Sensation. He doesn’t have to ask because he’s the baby that’s why.

 

Okay, background. One thing about me: I don’t like being touched. I never have. I think it’s a family thing. I am so serious when I say if my father gave me a spontaneous hug, I would assume he was dying. Not dying in an I-just-found-out-I-have-cancer kind of way; more like a I-was-shot-while-standing-next-you-and-have-minutes-left-to-live kind of way. My family is a close-knit, loving family. We just aren’t very touchy.

I have cried at work over a death in the family (my Doberman) and my co-workers were like “Can I…, I mean…, is it okay, to um, hug you?”

When I met the Big Man, he thought that was weird. He said all of his past girlfriends were always wanting to cuddle and hug. He got used to my physical aloofness, though, because everything else about me is pretty great. Also, I at times have to restrain myself from pushing the kids off me. Especially The Destroyer. He has always been and it seems like he will always be a cuddlebug. (Kids can be like little blast furnaces, too. So there’s that.)

Back to what I was saying. Many, many people have asked to touch my hair. I get it, because they probably don’t see an Afro up close on a daily basis. Some people have never seen an Afro in person at all. So I generally let them touch it when they ask. But for some reason, when people don’t ask permission, it doesn’t just upset me—it enrages me. I try my hardest not to be rude (I despise rudeness) but sometimes I can’t help it. Oh, and I’m not sure what these people thought my hair was going to feel like, but I guess it wasn’t hair. “It’s so soft,” they say. Well, you guys, I’m not a hedgehog.

You want to know something, though? I have never in life wanted to touch a stranger’s hair. NEVER. And I have seen some beautiful hair.

Look, all I want is for someone to ask me first. That’s it, really. Ask. Then I don’t have to go home and sound like a peacock. Seriously, those things sounds much, much, worse than they look.