Simone and Nadia watch me. They watch my cues. They watch how I interact with people. They are always watching. Sometimes I forget how much they watch.

When I see naturals on the street, I pay them a compliment.

“I like your hair,” I often say.

I do this because I admire natural hair. Women with natural hair are comfortable with who they are, at least in my eyes. It feels good to give and receive compliments, and I’m probably a little loose with mine.

Paying a compliment is a way to open a conversation. Most of the time, the conversation doesn’t go any farther than the compliment and a thank you. Sometimes, we exchange hair knowledge, start dropping names of natural hair web sites and gurus.

I hadn’t given much thought to this habit of mine, until Simone and Nadia started complimenting black women all over town.

At the drive-thru. At the post office. At the grocery store.

This has been going on for months, and I just realized I started it. I compliment women with natural hair. Simone and Nadia compliment any black woman with hair.

Colored hair. Curly hair. Straight hair. Doesn’t look like it has been combed hair. Bed head hair. Mind of its own hair.

That’s why I didn’t get it at first.

Just the other day Nadia complimented a woman at the drive-thru window at a fast-food restaurant. Well, I relayed the message, because Nadia sits in the back seat.

“My daughter says she likes your hair,” I said.

“My hair is a mess, but okay,” the young woman replied.

Then Simone complimented an older woman as we walked in the post office.

“I like your hair.”

“Thank you!” she said, a smile spreading across her face.

Why should we stop there? I suggest women everywhere start giving each other compliments on their hair. Hey, we could change the world.  If your girlfriends, mothers and sisterfriends ask what’s going on, tell them it’s all my fault.


5 thoughts to “I Like Your Hair

  • Rory, Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care

    my daughter does that all the time, too! i also couldn’t agree more with your perspective. however, although i try to keep my daughter’s hair looking well-coiffed, my hair is usually a total mess. i’d hate to compliment a woman’s hair lest she feel pressured to return the compliment of my nasty bed-head! =D

  • Sunny

    Love it! Your daughters are divine.
    I, too, make it a point to compliment naturals. Too often, they beam, then share how much grief they’ve gotten (from blacks, no less) who think natural hair equates to unkempt hair. This is sad and makes me redouble my efforts to provide positive reinforcement to naturals.

  • Blanc2

    Nice post. We’ve recently encountered an issue in this regard. Another biracial girl in my daughter’s class began straightening her hair (the “Brazilian” something treatment). This girl is one of the “popular” girls. Now, our daugher, who has a beautiful head of abundant, exuberant naturally curly hair, wants to also straighten her hair. So far we’ve convinced her not to do it, but once a bell is rung and all that.

    • Honeysmoke

      Hmm, I couldn’t let that Brazilian comment go. That stuff is bad news, not to mention expensive. I wouldn’t even want to be in a salon while it’s being done, because one of its by products is formaldehyde. If my daughter persisted, I’d compromise with a blow out, light press, or light flat iron. Those are pretty temporary.

      • Blanc2

        Ah, the “expensive” part is probably what guides the mother. That family is noveau-riche. Their vacuous taste in clothes, cars, homes, hair, etc. reeks of it. One of the perils of sending one’s kids to a private school.

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