I have naturally curly hair. I saw it as a curse when I was a teenager but as I got older I started to see it more as a blessing. Especially on days when I don’t want to take time to “do” my hair. When I decide to wear my hair au nat-u-ral I usually attract a small amount of attention. Women ask if I got a perm (Lord have mercy! Those days are way behind me) or voice their envy because their hair is limp, straight, thin…
Men, normal men, don’t comment. Weird men however…
Just the other day in the grocery store I was trying to find my husbands favorite Coffeemate coconut creamer when I felt a presence. I turned to find a large male, maybe 6’4″, 250 lbs, probably in his 70’s or 80’s standing behind me. Not personal bubble close, but close. He opens the conversation with, “When I see hair like yours, I’m reminded of a Persian cat I used to brush.”
Uhhhhhhhhh. No response.
My internal monologue sounds like “please don’t kill me, please don’t wear my face on your face, for the love of God don’t touch my hair.” I think all of this while wearing a smile on my face so he continues. (Damn my inability to be rude to the elderly and strangers!) He tells me about his neighbors who had this cat and they were convinced for years that the cat brushed himself not knowing that he was brushing the snarled and matted cat’s hair every couple of months.
So, now I’m confused. My hair resembles snarled, matted Persian cat hair? I can’t figure out if this is an insult, compliment or just a random story. I compliment him on being a kind human and good neighbor. Grab my creamer and take off for the next aisle.
Now, the weird thing is this isn’t the only weird comment my hair has stirred up in a guy and by far not the worse. The worst (so far) was when I was in my early 20’s and I was working at a hotel as a waitress in the restaurant. That summer was a typical young, college-aged vacation that revolved around the bar and work. I wore my hair curly all summer because I woke up at 5:00 AM to get to work at 6:00 AM. I worked from 6:00 AM until 2:00 PM, took a nap, headed to the bar around 7:00 PM and closed it down with my friends at 3:00 AM. Then my day started all over.
One morning, as I was filling salt and pepper shakers, my manager, who was probably in his 50’s, stood near me (with coworkers present to witness) and said, “When you wear your hair like that it makes me want to take you out back and spray you with a hose.” Everyone stood silent. My face probably looked confused. My mind went to so many different places. All of them not cool. Not. Cool. That was a failed attempt at a compliment.
My hair is not available for you live out some weird fantasy or to brush like a Persian cat. I love compliments like, “You’re hair is so pretty,” “I love your curls,” “I wish I had your hair!” So keep those coming, but please stop the awkward cat brushing, hose spraying, fear inducing ones.