Redditor aitathrowaway626456 is a 28-year-old Native American woman who had a coworker at a bar who was inquisitive about her heritage.
But when the coworker failed to recognize personal space or boundaries, the Original Poster (OP) harshly reprimanded her.
The OP visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for getting mad at a girl who kept touching my hair”
The OP talked about an Indigenous tradition practiced in her family.
“I am Native American and although I don’t live on the res my family still keeps up with traditions.”
“An example of this is we don’t cut our hair unless we suffer a great loss. Last time I cut my hair was in 2010 when my grandfather passed away.”
“I have very very long black thick hair and get compliments on it all the time. I currently work in a bar and we have this one waitress ‘Kayla’ who is oddly infatuated with me and my heritage.”
“She always tells me she’s x% Cherokee which I’m like ‘cool, that’s not my tribe, idk anything about them’. She asks me about my customs and I told her that my mother, grandmother and I during festivals or Pow Wows will braid and paint our hair or feather it.”
“She was asking me about my hair and I explained we don’t really cut it and she asked how long I had been growing it. I told her about when my grandfather had passed so it’s been 10 years since then.”
“She then grabbed a handful of my hair and started to compliment it’s thickness.”
“I snatched her hand off me and told her it’s not ok to do that. It’s disrespectful even to ask to touch hair.”
“She got upset and told me I was a jerk she just thought it was so pretty, she wanted to feel it etc.”
“Now I feel bad because I think I freaked her out by my response and she won’t even look at me and I know she cried a little after our interaction.”
“AITA here? Did I overreact?”
Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors agreed that touching one’s hair was a breach of an unspoken cardinal rule.
Many shared examples of when they felt they were being violated, similar to the OP.
“NTA. You don’t touch other people without permission.” – dricysarcasm
“Feel like that’s a kindergarten rule we learn.” – GandolfMagicFruits
“Yep. I’m biracial(half black half white) and I don’t think I’ve ever had some one who wasn’t white touch my hair with out permission.”
“They have this obsession with pulling my curls to see them bounce…. it drives me insane… Its also this entitled attitude that you ‘owe’ them explanations about your heritage.” – Deargabby
“As a straight White guy who had long curly hair for several years, older White women had like a ninety percent chance of touching my hair without invitation.”
“All of a sudden a hand is just reaching towards your head and you can’t punch that person in the throat. Very uncomfortable.” – 90daysismytherapy
“I’m one of those people obsessed with bouncing curls (I also have curly/wavy hair) and I would NEVER touch anyone’s hair without asking—nor ask without having a certain level of intimacy with them.”
“FFS, it IS something you learn in preschool.” – usernaym44
“Naturally curly here as well.”
“I’ve had strangers yank, touch, pet (that freaked me out) my curls. I’ve had dates think they could run their fingers through my velcro-locking curls like they do straight hair.”
“When I was pregnant, I had strangers think it was okay to touch my baby belly! Also a peeve.”
“OP is NTA.” – Gryffenne
“See I have straight thin hair it’s literally the worst and I am fascinated with really curly thick hair that just defys gravity.”
“It’s so beautiful, but I’m a f’king adult and know not to touch! You can admire from afar but don’t touch other people’s hair!”
“It’s not a normal thing to do!!! The only other persons hair I touch is my SO because it’s fluffy and grows at an extortionate rate!” – loubybooby90
“It really is a racial thing. I’m multiracial, and I sometimes ‘pass’ for white (it feels gross to say it like that, but I don’t know how else to), and sometimes I don’t.”
“When I pass, women don’t really touch me without asking, except for very occasionally older women will pat me (men are another story, unfortunately, but only the white ones).”
“When I don’t, I get touched by white women pretty frequently, especially older ones, and especially my hair. (Also the touching from men goes wayyyy up, and it stops being only white men).”
“It has to be because of racism, conscious or unconscious. There’s no other reason my experience would be so different based on whether or not I’m perceived as white.”
“I also can’t seem to convince people that ‘what are you mixed with?’ and similar questions are rude and entitled unless you ask literally every new person you meet (which would still be pretty weird).” – hungry_ghost34
“I actually had an older white woman I was vaguely acquainted with at work grab a giant handful of my hair and plop it on her head. Like a wig. She legit tried on my hair.”
“NTA. No pawing at the hair! Ask!” – underpantsbandit
Overall, many Redditors thought when it comes to other people’s locks, it is best to admire them from afar.