Your Hair Looks Like My Coochie Hair
Out of the mouths of babes…
First of all, let me just say that I’m starting to find it amazing that my niece’s hair is the topic of so much conversation….
My niece is still wearing her hair pressed. Her mom let it get it done for her awards night and she has since been wearing it in a loose ponytail. Even pressed, it’s very thick and both she and her mom should be happy cause it shows off her length. But with her sixth grade class going off to an overnight camp for a couple of days, starting tomorrow, that hair needed to go under wraps and actually, it needs to go back into protective custody cause being out for too long will promote breakage for sure. So I volunteered to put her hair in some quick cornrows. We had been sitting on the porch, but the wind picked up just as a thunderstorm was rolling through so the rain ran us in the house with only about two more braids to finish. That’s when she and I had this conversation.
Niece: “Oh, when I had my hair in a puff, my friend Nataya said, ‘Your hair is really cute; it looks just like my coochie hair.’ “ Now of course I’m appalled, and I go on to tell her that’s highly insulting. At one point I told her, “You should have told Nataya that if she wore her hair nappy, her hair would look like coochie hair too.” My niece just sits there not saying anything while I’m basically going off about people hating on her hair, and the fact that I’m glad she knows how to defend her naps. Then I realized she was conspicuously quiet so I decided to ask her how she felt about that.She said she thought it was funny and they both laughed.
Me: “So you weren’t offended?”
“Me: “Well as long as you weren’t offended.”
Niece: “No, I mean me and Nataya always joke about stuff. I just thought it was funny.” So I just left it alone.
But later I asked my friend nappy-head friend Kim what she thought about that remark, and she thought it was off the hook too. What a thing to say about someone’s hair, she had said. “That’s just too much.”
But later this evening, I got to thinking, that if Nataya is 12-years-old, and she’s never seen her own nappy hair, and chances are good that no older girls or adult women in her family are wearing their hair nappy, I guess coochie hair and perhaps underarm hair is the closest thing she’s ever seen to nappy hair on her own body. So actually, it was just an honest, though crass, observation.
It’s just really another very telling commentary about what black folks think about nappy hair, how it’s perceived since it’s so dang rare to see it on an older person’s head in it’s loose natural state. Since white folks and others with naturally straight hair would always have seen hair on their head the same texture as their coochie hair, this would just be normal to them. I mean, can you imagine a little 12-year-old white child telling another white child that their hair looked just like their pubic hair? Of course not.
So while I was initially upset, I decided not to be. It makes perfect sense, really. I guess if I’d never seen nappy hair on a woman except for my own coochie that would be my frame of reference as well.
But I’ll tell ya, if they talk about coohie hair, it really makes me wonder what else 12-year-olds talk about these days.
It’s enough to make ya wanna go “Hmmmmmm…….”