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Does My Hair Offend You? Does My Hair Make You Nervous?

by Delores Reeves

When I decided to wear my hair in its natural curly state little did I realize the backlash that would come from a simple change in hair style.

One day my daughter (who also wears her hair in its naturally curly state) and I were going to a retail store that is known for its bedding and other household items. We were in the parking lot and about 300 feet ahead of us a lady was coming towards us. This lady looked straight at us and immediately grabbed her pocketbook. Did our hair styles offend her? Did our hair styles make her nervous? Was it just the hair?

There have been times I’ve entered a ladies room and other women make a mad dash to leave. Does my hair offend them? Does my hair make them nervous?

I must admit in the past when I used to see women with very short hair (whether curly or straight) I would think, “How convenient and easy to care for.” However, if I saw a man with very short hair or a bald scalp I immediately thought he must be in the military or be a member of law enforcement. Occasionally I would imagine something more ominous. Then I realized I didn’t know the whole story. The man could simply be a nice guy who made the decision to have short hair or no hair. Or he could have been through chemotherapy treatment. Did his lack of hair offend me? Did his lack of hair make me nervous?

Time was, when I would see people with very, very long straight hair of blue or purple or gold or green or Kool Aid cherry red, I would wonder if the color stained their skin. Did the color of their hair offend me? Did the color of their hair make me nervous?

For all of the wonderful people who dress in Goth fashion with your dark-colored hair in various styles and Avant-garde dress, I say “Good for you!”

For all those rockers with your innovative hair styles that took a long time and a lot of money to achieve I say, “Good for you!”

For those of you that have free formed or carefully formed flowing locs, coils, twists, twist outs braids, braid out extensions, curls and the like, and I say “Good for you!”

For those of you (whether male or female) that have short hair or no hair I say, “Good for You!”

What courage it takes to display your own uniqueness! Continue to be courageous! Explore more ways to express yourself as long as it brings no harm to humankind.

One thing this hair journey has done for me is to make me more considerate of the people I encounter. I walk a little slower and speak a little softer around people I do not know. And after a year with naturally curly hair when someone acts as if my hair offends them, or my hair makes them nervous many times I just smile and say hello.

So in the future, use chance meetings to open up a dialog to help you get to know the heart of the person. If you are an introverted person, simply smile and say hello. In the diversity that is humankind there should be room for hair of all different sorts.

Does my hair offend you? Does my hair make you nervous? Just smile and say hello!