Sunday, January 24, 2010

"That lady has crazy hair"



So, I was in Whole Foods last night, waiting for some folks to move so that I could get to the ingredients I was after in the bulk aisle, and I saw this little girl staring right in my face. I knew exactly why she was staring, but I was still sort of gobsmacked. Doesn't anyone teach their children not to stare at strangers anymore? Anyhoo, I just pretended to study my list intently and waited for her and her mother to move one. Fastforward to checkout time, and of course I ended up right behind this little girl and her mother. As I waited, I hoped she wouldn't do what I was expecting her to do. I stared at the magazine covers, hoping that if I ignored her she would ignore me. No such luck. "Mama" I heard her say. Here we go, I thought. Then she did it, she pointed at me and said "Mama, that lady has crazy hair!" Her mother wasn't really paying attention to her, so of course she had to say it again, still pointing. ***Sigh***

I wish I could say this is the first time this has happened to me, but it's not. And they always point like I'm some animal in a cage at the zoo. And they always use the same word: crazy. I just wonder where it starts. Where do children so young get the idea that the hair that grows out of my head is "crazy"? Different, OK, I understand that. But crazy? Where does that word come from?

Has this ever happened to you?

23 comments:

ECarey said...

Once I had a kid tell me I was fat. I cried my eyes out for hours. As a curly haired person, I adore your hair and I stared too when I first met you but then I said "I LOVE your hair." I think the word crazy with kids doesn't mean anything negative.

feathergirl said...

Kids tend to point out things about other people that they don't see so often. I guess they don't see a lot of people with big hair. I distinctly remember pointing out an obese person on a bus with my grandmother. "He's fat!"

Part of it is learning about differences, and parents should be there to explain that is isn't nice to point and people are all different. The kids don't mean to be offensive. All they're doing is pointing out something different in their world, not judging your hair.

thelady said...

when I first cut my hair short I had a boy stare at me super hard and turn his head around to keep on staring as I passed by, I think he wasn't used to women with short hair

no pointing or calling it crazy YET, but it is a big fro now

I think if someone was right in my face staring I'd be tempted to role my eyes

Miss Tasha said...

People stare at my hair often but don't say anything. In which I say, "It's waving at you, why don't you wave back."
Confusion gets the best of people all the time lol.
In regards to Whole Foods, I'm in and out. Standing around in that store too long, something is always bound to happen to you. Like the lady who blatantly bumped me with her cart repeatedly while standing in line last week.

mjb said...

I had some kids talk about my acne sitting behind me when I was in college. I thought I was too old to be bothered by it, but it still hurt.

secondhandsally said...

This has happened to me in the sense that kids sometimes can't tell whether I'm a boy or a girl (ever since I cut all my hair off the first time in 8th grade). It always feels terrible when it happens.

My roommate Leslie also wears her hair natural and she was telling me that she got really cruel reactions from people our age at UVA. Ugh! She told me that the worst part is, that in letting her hair go natural she felt she was taking a really positive step for herself, but then there were all those people just waiting to tear her down.

I hope when I have kids I can explain to them that different doesn't equal crazy and that we wait until later to ask questions about people's appearance. I wish the mom had stepped up for you.

Jasmine said...

While I haven't been told I have "crazy" hair in high school I pulled a nrush out my backpack to refresh my tresses and my white classmate looked befuddled. I asked her what was wrong and she said "I didn't know you used a brush..."

Anonymous said...

I've had people stare and actually reach to touch my hair. And not just children. It's the adults that I have a problem with.

Nyah Kamarie said...

I have had this same thing happen to me countless times when i where my Bush. It's as if I am a circus freaK. Sadly it's never been a child it's usually adults, turning around, staring and whispereing. So sad, people need to get a clue and open their minds.

Nalena said...

When it comes from kids it doesn't bother me as much. But with adults? I have to calm myself down! Years ago, when I was studying in Japan, I had my hair braided using extensions and people were constantly touching my hair. A cafeteria worker actually came up and firmly put her hands in my hair starting at the roots and inspected it! Another time, I was in a bar and as I was walking my head yanked back because someone was holding my braids!

Thankfully, with my fro most of the people who touch it are people I know but it can get annoying. Btw, I love your hair!

naturalbri said...

I work with children part time, so when I started my natural process I made sure I was strong enough to take what they had to dish out. Well one time I was told "I like your hair better the other way" by a 4yr old and as it started to get longer I would wear it out. I've heard the crazy, wild hair and one time I was told I had rock star hair. Kids say the darnest things, but I have no clue where it comes from. I also get compliments from children, so it may be how they have seen or heard someone around them react to "different" hair.

Sweetydarling72 said...

I adore your tresses but I think 'crazy' for a kid just means 'different' or out of the ordinary. Take it from a mom of 4 with two being 4 and 18 mo. If they haven't been exposed to a lot of variety whether hair, skin color or body type they will think anything is 'crazy'. hahah
I

Geneva said...

My hair is quite like yours (a big fro) so I get comments like that plenty. A few weeks ago, my daughter's school mate told me my hair was crazy, so I said "thank you!" He proceeded to ask me why in the world I'd say thanks when he told me my hair looked crazy. So yeah, he meant it as a negative comment. Shrug-kids are mean. My favorite though, was a couple of years ago when I had a little girl at the zoo ask me if I was "high school musical." Not if I was in it, but if I WAS high school musical. I had heard of the movie but really had no clue what in the world she was talking about, but I guessed that someone in it had a fro. Lo and behold, she was asking me if I was Corbin Blue, the boy from the movie with the big curly fro. I'm a 27 year old woman.

Anonymous said...

If you ever have a child, you will understand how difficult it is to teach them not to stare/say "rude" things! :)

Christina said...

kids and adults stare at me all the time. argh... i have adults that walk up to me and touch da fro. sigh... the good thing is, i have raised my kids to accept all people. but we raised them from little on to realize how different is not crazy, it's just beautiful.
and sis, ya know i have always loved your hair.
rock on!
xo

Jaeve + Things said...

Aw, I'm sure she didn't mean it in a bad way. (Although parents really ought to teach their children better than staring and pointing, but then again, they are kids). Crazy is a cool description of your hair, crazy in a good way :) Like, out of this world! My hair is really straight and really flat (read: boring) unless I make an effort to create any sort of texture or volume. When I was in high school, I wanted a big ol'd afro really bad! I personally think it looks cool. On me, maybe it would look unnatural, but it fits you in a good way. :)

lisa said...

Kids are tough whatever they think they say, my nephew is five and is full of things you really wish he wouldn't say and has been since he started speaking. But the wonderful thing about him and children (I think) is that they notice what's going on around them and point out something that is different. I am so desensitized to lots of things and I kind of admire their eye for newness. I agree with most of your commenters anything new or out of their ordinary baby bubble is crazy to them. I don't think they mean it in a malicious way. That being said, if parents, friends and relatives explain it's not crazy just new they get better. They have to be told repeatedly though.

I have a almost shoulder length naturally curly, kinky head of frizz, fuzz, and whatever else it feels like doing. I have had grown men say "I love your crazy hair." Although the "love" is nice the "crazy" kind of negates it. (throws up hands) Your hair is beautiful and at the end of the day the only opinion that matters is yours. I actually get more looks about my clothing combinations than my hair. I think you should wear sequins whenever the spirit moves you. At brunch on a saturday I get some odd looks. Whatever. I like it.

I'm also from Manhattan so we wear all kinds of funky, eclectic combinations. I think it must be difficult to have something new and beautiful in a place that isn't as funky. In Whole Foods in NYC you surely would have gotten from a child. "Look, mommy that lady has pretty, fluffy hair." I guess it's all perception. ;)

Darling Nikki said...

It happens to me all of the time...especially when I lived in Costa Rica. It bothered me at first (literally maybe the 1st hour I stepped out of my house), but I love my hair and I realize that most people have questions or are intrigued...or want me to "go comb my hair"...whatever. It's lack of information. Have the confidence to hold your head high and keep it moving. You're gorgeous.

Darling Nikki said...

One more quick point...I have a 14-yr-old and a 2-yr-old. Kids say what they think w/o editing. It may just be that the child in the store doesn't see hair like yours often and it never was discussed. I too, have "ignored" my children while engrossed in something and don't always realize what they're saying. My friends point this out to me often....lol

SoBeSoNatural said...

Okay, so I didn't want to laugh, but your description of this small child (who by the way say whatever....as we know) was cute and humurous.
That being said, I agree with some of the other comments in that children use words they know, I don't think crazy means anything literal, they just don't know a better word to use...that vocabulary being limited and all...LOl! So next time a child says your hair is crazy, say "hey, yours is too...isn't that cool?"

Post Grad Hair Cut said...

Ah kids. Not ever about my hair but about my weight. I always find it so disconcerting when young children see being 'bigger' as a negative thing.

I love your hair. You grow it/wear it well ;)

Earth Angel said...

Most recently have been told it looks like I stuck my finger in a socket. Sadly (or gladly), these comments never come from strangers or children. Only people I know. Thanks for sharing! I mentioned you in this post. http://neptuniansoul.blogspot.com/2010/02/cottony-soft-fro.html

Anonymous said...

This has happened to me my whole life. To conform I began to constantly straighten my hair up until about two months ago. Now I am rocking my curls and my son who is 4 years old tells me "Mommy, I don't like your hair. It's silly." Now as a bi-racial woman I have always embraced diversity and diverse styles in my home. In fact, I have a few natural friends and my son says nothing to them. But when he sees me with my hair like theirs he tells me he doesn't like it. I honestly think that it is because many people in our society don't wear their hair natural and because of this our children have a hard time seeing it as acceptable. I am now wearing my hair curly all the time and I show my son images of famous natural stars (i.e. Tracy Ellis Ross,Thandie Newton etc..). I figure if we keep rocking our curls we will show children that big hair is cool hair.