Is that your real hair?
It’s no secret that people are bold. With every passing day, it becomes more clear to me that not everyone has tact, common courtesy, or even shame.
But there is one question in particular that always manages to leave me a little stunned: “Is that your real hair?” *cues eyeroll*
It’s one thing to be asked this question by a friend or acquaintance, but the question becomes a little more invasive when asked by a complete stranger. With the growing popularity of different weaves and extensions, I myself, have silently wondered whether a woman’s hair was grown naturally or purchased. But personally, I don’t feel right about questioning the “realness” of any part of a stranger’s physical appearance.
Most of the time, people are just genuinely curious, or intend to pay you a compliment, but the rooted implications of this question aren’t always easy for me to overlook. When I hear this question so frequently, I take it a few different ways. Sometimes, depending on the tone of the inquirer, I take it as a compliment: My hair must look so amazing that it’s unreal! *flips hair* Other times, my mind can’t leave it at that. Why should the authenticity of my hair as a black woman be doubted on principle, while plenty of women from other cultures are allowed to wear weave undetected without suspicious eyes looking for tracks? Being asked to validate the legitimacy of your hair is uncomfortable and unfair.
Thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with this question in a while, but not all inquiries were traumatic. Once a woman discreetly approached me with the question, explaining that she really liked my hair and wondered if I could refer her to the hair store where I bought mine, if I did. Of course, she was disappointed when I told her my mane grew out of my scalp, but she was polite and unassuming so it was all good. Plus, I could never fault anyone looking for a good hookup.
What all this really boils down to is tact. Why ask if someone’s hair is real anyway? Is it because you like their hair? Then just tell them you like their hair! Is it because you want to try a similar style? Simply ask what they did to achieve the look! Tact, ladies and gentleman, is what allows people to give compliments without dishing out a skeptical, “is that your real hair?”
Bottom line: Whether your hair is real or not, know that it’s not anyone’s business to ask. Also, know that some will ask anyway.
Until the next hair adventure!