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THE ‘NETTE EFFECT: No reason to pull out your hair

ANTOINETTE CONNELL, [email protected]

THE ‘NETTE EFFECT: No reason to pull out your hair

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I WAS IN SOME PART of The City one day when someone remarked about my hair.

It was one of my better hair days and this stranger complimented me. She whispered after and asked me if it was my “real hair”.

Initially I jokingly said ‘no’, just to see her reaction, but then I quickly confessed that it was mine. I saw relief on her face – both at the answer and that I did not feel insulted.

Nevertheless, she said it looked good and I thanked her and we went on our way.

The above scenario happens quite frequently especially just after exiting the beauty salon. I’m almost never offended if someone Caucasian or black cannot tell whether or not it is my real hair.

I find it most amusing and perplexing how intensely irritated, almost to the point where they would do bodily harm, some women get when asked if their hair is real. I find it all the more laughable the excitement that precedes the question when the hair is not genuinely theirs. Mercy, people!

If the hair is not yours and you receive a compliment, just accept that you’ve managed to style the locks to such an extent that they are very attractive. Is it your hair? Getting all excitable does not change the truth; it is not yours.

I’m sure when women or men’s hair is attractively braided and someone compliments them, it is obvious the hair is not theirs. For the most part these days, it is hard to tell if you are admiring someone’s genuine tresses or the synthetic product.

This same principle of saying thank you and moving on should apply. Instead, some women attach all kinds of racist or sexist motives behind the question.

I’ve found that many people are offended if someone asks the question whether their hair is real or not. So what if someone asks if that is your real hair? How dare a white person ask me if this is mine? How dare a man ask me if this is my hair?

How dare – because they don’t know and it is hard to tell in this artificial world.

When did that question get so offensive against a background of plastic surgeries, hair transplants, contact lenses and skin-lightening creams? You simply cannot tell what is real and what is not.

I’ve seen the hair question escalate to a national issue and appear to be the potential for another world war.

I’ve seen constant rants on Facebook berating people as “haters” because someone asked the question to verify the authenticity of what they were admiring. I hate you because I cannot distinguish whether your hair is your own?

Then when someone of a different race makes the same mistake, straightaway they’re labelled as racist. When the men do it, the poor simpletons are immediately sexist.

I don’t hate you because I can’t tell if it is your hair or not. I’m not racist because I cannot tell if it is your hair or not. I’m not sexist because I cannot tell if it is your hair or not.

There was this one time when the hair question and follow-up action did offend me. Someone asked me – after I had radically changed my hairstyle – if it was my hair. I responded ‘yes’ and immediately she reached out and felt the roots of my hair and said “oh”.

I was not offended because she asked me the question. I was offended because she appeared to be calling me a liar. That is where I draw the line in my support of the hair question; just accept the answer, no touching for confirmation.

For all the others out there with hang-ups about whether your hair is real or not, lighten up.

On a more cheerful note, it is never too late to spread good tidings. Happy and peaceful 2017 to all.