Thank you for responding. I asked her, in particular, for two reasons.

  1. She and I are incredibly close. I’ve been counseling her since her dad was taken to an immigration detention center (she’s Jamaican). She’s had zero contact with him for months, so she and her mom are struggling both financially and emotionally.
  2. She always has gorgeous braids, and they’re never mussed in the back. I was curious how she managed that and thought she might have good advice.

I’ve known for a long time (my whole life?) that touching someone else’s hair is off-limits, but honest to God, it never once occurred to me that even asking about it should be off-limits. I didn’t even think about that until I read your article. Thank you for that. You’re reaching a(n often) clueless audience.

I do have a question though, and it’s about social expectations when someone changes up their hair. I was raised that it was polite to notice someone’s new appearance. “I like that color on you,” or “Ooh, those bangs are adorable.” Is it welcome for me to say something like “I like your hair,” or “You look nice?” Or should I just keep my mouth shut? I’ll keep my questions about coconut oil, relaxers, and weave for Google, but “You look nice” seems fair?

Your bog standard small-town girl with delusions of grandeur.

Your bog standard small-town girl with delusions of grandeur.