Okay, I’ve ranted about being culturally sensitive on hair and being invisible in foreign places; all of which I think anyone can relate to on one level or another. Well, when I read this Washingto Post piece I had that same feeling that anyone could relate to the author’s troubles finding a good barber in Japan. From the sound of things Wayne Lionel Aponte has hair a lot like myself, slightly kinky, sort of curly, and an overall texture that not just anyone can deal with. Sure, it’s only hair and while it may very well grow back you still don’t want to be walking around Tokyo streets with a wacked hair do. I can OVER relate to that. I had the same troubles and feeling when I wanted my hair cut and that was only in Simi Valley, CA. Anyhow, things turn out well for the author, who gets his overgrown hair neatly cut and sets up another appointment before bowing with the barber and bidding farewell or sayonara!
Let’s take a moment to touch on personal spaces. I’m not the type of person to throw a punch or lunge out at another individual if they get within a certain range of my personal bubble, but it shocks me how comfortable people are at poking, prodding and sticking their hands where they just don’t belong. Sometimes people ask permission, but for the most part others just plop their hands down where they have no business being. Don’t tell me its never happened to you! Okay, let me just get to the point here – I have an afro and unless you’re my hairdresser you shouldn’t be patting my hair. Yes, it’s soft and fluffy looking and all those other things, but please don’t paw at my head! Sure -I’m down for letting a bright-eyed young Romanian child who has probably seen few African-Americans or Africans in their lifetime experiment with touching my funny looking hair, but some of you Americans know better!
Breathe, sigh, relax. Now that I’m done ranting I saw this cool little children’s book called Hair Around the World and in my own personal opinion I think a book like this should be read by adults as well. These are cultural jewels and reads at their finest. The book highlights children’s hairstyles from all over the world including places like Ghana and India. It also helps in letting children see how others live their lives in different parts of the globe. I say pick up the book, understand what’s going on in the world of hair and then think about some of the hairstyles seen here in the states. Oh, and don’t feel as if someone is going to curse you for wanting to understand the differences in texture and style, but just remember the bubble and to ask before touching.
The book can be purchased at Oxfam Publishing.