If you have seen a picture of me you know I have some sort of braided or twisted hair. What I have is called Sisterlocks. Sisterlocks are a special form of locks that tend to be more versatile than traditional locks or dreadlocks. I have very thick hair and after four years it is past my shoulders. Some people are intrigued by the look and the length and I don’t have a problem with that. If someone asks me about my hair I have no problem explaining it to them. I might even let them touch it if they ask nicely. Some people do not feel they have to ask before they touch my hair and that drives me crazy!
On more than one occasion someone (it is usually an older woman) walks up to me, starts a conversation and puts her hands in my hair. Her first reaction is “Wow it is soft” because they expect it to feel like a Brillo pad. Then it’s “How did you do that?” I cannot even answer the question because this is going on in my head, “Did she just put her hands in my hair? Noooo she didn’t just put her hands in my hair. Wait, I think she did put her hands in my hair and they are still there!”
Now I have to find a nice way to tell this woman that she is invading my personal space and since I do not know her she does not get the privilege of touching my mane. What I usually do is back away from the person so they are no longer in arms reach of me. Then I politely smile and walk away leaving them with their question unanswered. I force myself to smile so I do not scream.
Maybe I am making a bigger deal out of this than it is, but to me it is a violation. What if I just walked up to some random person and started rubbing their neck? I may not be hurting them but I am touching them in a way that they would not expect a stranger to touch them. I am also violating their personal space. My hair is very personal to me and unless you are invited, Please Don’t Touch!