For those who are unaware, my hair is natural and in order to trim it, it has to be as stretched as possible. In order to stretch my hair, it heat has to be applied to it (blow-dry or flat iron). Because I am afraid of heat damage, I opt for blow drying because to gets my hair stretched enough for my stylist to find and clip dead ends. Every time I go in for a trim, which is about 2-3 times a year, I always get excited about the length of my afro, so I wear it that way for a day or two after. I am proud of my hair. I love my hair. The only reason I don’t wear an afro everyday is because it causes split ends and I want to retain as much length as possible.
My most recent trim was last month and, per usual, I wore my hair out to work the next day. It was a very interesting day, might I add. At my previous place of employment, while I did not wear my hair in it’s natural state for attention, my colleagues weren’t afraid to ask questions or make comments about my hair. It was a very relaxed (haha, no pun intended) and no one seemed to be up in arms.
This time around was different. It was as if no one wanted to make notice of the huge elephant in the room. I felt fine because this is my hair. Any other style that they’ve seen me in has been a manipulation of what they were seeing that day. Honestly, it was also pretty peaceful. No one spoke to me, only snuck looks as I strolled from my desk to the restroom or kitchenette, refusing to say anything. I wondered if they were afraid to speak or genuinely had nothing to say. I guess it could have been a combination of the two but very interesting nonetheless. By the time lunch rolled around, I had gotten “comfortable” (for the lack of better terms) with how my hair was styled for the day. I would even forgot about it until someone walked past and a startled “oh” would slip or went I caught a glimpse of my fro in the reflections of office doors and conference room windows.
At the end of the day, I reflected and thought to myself, “I almost wish someone would have broken the ice.” I didn’t have this thought because I wanted attention, I had this thought because I genuinely would have loved to have that discussion. I was the minority and I presented my co-workers with an opportunity to learn something new and they didn’t take it. That probably sounds weird, but I love to learn and subsequently, I am always asking questions. I purposefully made myself aware of any RBF (resting b*tch face) in an effort to not come off as unapproachable to anyone. No one took the shot.
At my previous employment, a serious “wear slacks to work” Dean’s office, people were much more open and inquisitive about something that was different to them. In this case, where you can wear denim jeans, T-shirts, and sneaker, no one had anything to say. I found that interesting.
Moral? I don’t think there is one. Just a documentation of an experience that took place in two very different environments.
Bottomline: Don’t be afraid to ask me about my hair. I don’t bite and neither does it.
Does anyone share a similar experience? Are you often offended if someone asks about your hair? Lets continue the conversation below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.