Ok...so they say that confession is good for the soul. So here I go. (Cue theme song to "Young and the Restless" as I take the stand...now.)
As I surf from site to site and chat with one Naturalista after the next, I find that there is an unwritten cardinal rule that should never be broken. There is a line that is drawn in the sand of infinity that should never be crossed. There is a cardinal sin that is so vile...so debasing and unforgivable that it may bring into question the very validity of Naturalista membership:
NEVER LET WHITE FOLKS TOUCH YOUR HAIR.
If they ask, say "No." Apparently there are many techniques to execute this shut down:
1) You can give the polite Bougie Babe, "I'd rather you didn't, THA-ANKS!"(Complete with frenemy smile.)
2) You can pull the Sistah-Gurl Sarcasm with, "Girl, what? (Open throat laugh) Nah, Boo...BYE!"(Complete with side eye.)
3) You can deliver with laser focus the Naturalista X speech in which you enlighten the poor, ignorant one on the social ramifications and historical mis-teachings behind their ludicrous request. "For 400 years the Black race has endured their personal boundaries becoming the play ground for the White Establishment......" (Complete with concerned stare of disappointment and disapproval)
4) Or you can simply do the NBA Manuever and block the shot toward your loc! (Jackie Chan style speed!)
Either way, the Sisterhood has made it clear to all who would enter into the Circle...do not let these people ask you dumb questions about your hair and for the love of all that is righteous do not let them touch your hair. Period.
You know where this is going, don't you? Maybe you haven't known me long enough to guess...
Confession: YAAASSSSSS, I'VE BROKEN THE RULE!!
I've done it many times, your Honor! And I will probably do it again! (cue my utter collapse on the witness stand.)
I have answered some truly silly questions about my hair and my regimen. I have answered some really great questions, too! I have held some really intelligent, philosophical conversations about hair and femininity and race and how all of that ties the female gender together...and sets us apart...and sometimes sets us against each other. I would say that I have had the Forbidden Request issued to me EQUALLY from Whites and Blacks! YES..BLACK GIRLS WANNA TOUCH MY HAIR!! You should have seen me sweat as I frantically searched my mental index for the subsections to this rule book to see if it did not apply if another one of my own race asked! Where the heck were the amendments?? Who is editing this rule book anyway??
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or last; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoings, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV
Listen, I don't judge anyone for having their personal boundaries. Do what makes you comfortable and gives your soul peace. All I am asking is that you do not judge me for doing what gives my soul peace. Sometimes we can choose to exercise a little bit of patience and understanding and it can go a long way to build bridges between females. I have White sisters who have bi-racial children and White sisters who have adopted Black children and White sisters who have Black adopted/step siblings. Can't they catch a pass on this unwritten rule? They have bridges to build! I have White sisters who want to know better so they can say and do and believe better! I applaud you if you genuinely want to understand the complexities of textured, ethnic hair. And if a 10 second moment (I think longer than that should come with dinner and a movie) during which I demystify this one physical feature that has been such a point of social and sexual contention for hundreds of years can assist them toward understanding...I will consent.
In that moment you will connect with a part of my soul. You will connect with an inanimate object that somehow conveys life. I will forgive you if your purposes are self serving for asking and touching because the only thing that changed is that now I know how you think whereas before I could only postulate. But the opportunity to show the patience of love and the hope of love in believing you really want to educate yourself will most times be under my heavy consideration. I don't like leaving the awkward moment knowing that may have been a moment of enlightenment and reconciliation for both of us. Don't get me wrong, I am not open to being a 24/7 petting zoo! It's not that serious and it is a judgement call. I don't always say, "Yes." .... But don't say I won't.