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  • AfroDaddy

Just...Don't Touch People, Okay?

"It's all good, man"

Man with Afro
Can't touch this

These words were uttered by the middle-aged American who I was now looking down on.

My companions and I stared at him for an uncomfortably long moment before he shuffled off.

This is what happened that, according to him, was "all good":

Myself and my mates decided to check out the Cape Town Beer Fest this week. We got our tickets, walked in, and within 30 seconds were approached by someone who wanted to ask multiple questions about my hair.

This, as you can imagine, is not unusual. I answered his questions ("yes, I use pillows", "yes, I wash it weekly" "yes, I use more shampoo than you do") as politely as my westernised, Model C schooling has trained me do.

I did the same 2 minutes later with the next questioner. And again 5 minutes after that with the next. It wasn't much later that my least favourite question was asked: "I can I touch it?" by the kind of person most likely to ask - a slightly inebriated blonde woman.

Now, at least she asked, but it is incredibly difficult for me to say no without feeling rude. So I said yes and she fondled my hair a bit. At least she sat down afterwards and had a conversation with us. It was, all things being equal, and interesting conversation, so that was fine.

As the afternoon progressed, I received more questions, which started to wear away at my tolerance...and then Short, Middle-Aged American arrived on the scene.

The three of us were chatting when I saw him in my peripheral vision weaving through a crowd that was only present to his drunken eye.

He came out to me, and without a word, massaged my head for a moment.

I stared at him. He stared back and said, "Hey man, I had to do that".

I stared some more, and then said, "Really? I really doubt that you HAD to do that". And then he hit us with this amazingly logical response: "It's all good, man"

That's when Mark jumped in, and with the driest of sarcasm that his British education has taught him, said, "Oh well, as long as you think it's all good, it must be. Thank you for being so understanding".

The SMAA stared at us for a moment, we stared back, and then walked away.

So, here's the point to this entirely too long story:

Like I'm teaching my toddlers - you DO NOT have the right to touch someone without asking. EVER.

I could get into the racial dynamics of all of this but let's leave it at that. Please guys. Just don't touch other people. Can we do that? Just pretend that people with natural or ethnic hair have a head made out of bees or wasps or something.


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