Don’t touch my hair
As the proud owner of hair of the non-European variety, I have the pleasure of being a constant subject of fascination amongst my friends and to be honest, anyone that passes me on the street.
Clubbing becomes a constant battle to protect my precious braids from wandering hands and leering strangers and sometimes it feels as though I can’t leave my room without being fiercely interrogated about my locks.
“Have you ever washed your hair?”
“Were you born with braids?”
It might seem ridiculous, but these are all genuine questions I have been asked. It’s not even the pure stupidity of these questions which irritates me the most, but it is the very fact that I can become the victim of an FBI level investigation simply because of the way my hair grows out of my head which infuriates me the most. Don’t even get me started on how much time I have wasted informing people that yes it really does take five hours to put in my braids and no I don’t undo my braids and put them in again every single morning.
Cambridge might not be the most diverse of locations – but seriously?! Some days I feel like publishing a series of hair FAQs on my social media because honestly if I waste any more time on these futile enquiries I might just fail my degree.
We all have red flags in relationships and personally there is nothing that will cause me to ditch a boy faster than the classic “your hair is so exotic”, THIS IS NOT A COMPLIMENT. Believe it or not, telling me I’m attractive because of my so called ‘otherness’ is actually extremely disrespectful. Somewhere along the line, boys, most notably Cambridge boys, have gotten it into their minds that it is acceptable to fetishise my braids and sometimes I genuinely wonder if a guy likes me or if they just want to get their hands on my hair.
For some reason unknown to me, multiple boys have dared to drag their greasy fingers through my hair in attempt to seduce me, funnily enough turning round in Cindies to find a complete stranger stroking my hair and whispering some nonsense about how they wish they had hair like mine is less than ideal.
Arriving in college as a fresher last year, it was almost as if my hair had become the most interesting thing about me. After the standard subject and A-Levels chat, almost everyone would move immediately to the subject of my hair, where I got it done and why I wear it the way do. When someone would say to me “your hair is so cool”, it automatically made my blood boil because I knew that in essence it was code for “your hair is so different to mine!” One begins to feel akin to a zoo animal when people are constantly questioning and obsessing over my hair.
Really and truly we all have hair – get over it.
So people of Cambridge, I implore you to think extremely carefully about your actions the next time you are tempted to touch anyone’s hair. If you really feel powerfully compelled, at least ask permission before doing so, it’s really the least you can do.