Sigh. Kelley. Please don’t introduce the girl as close to you and then go off into her financial and emotional issues. It starts sounding more like a “savior” complex and less like you two are actually cool. Hopefully she thinks you’re as cool as you do. If she’s telling you all of these private things, then I’m guessing so. But I would’ve been just fine with you saying, “She and I are extremely close.”
Now that I know that you two have a relationship where you can ask her questions like that — without it coming off like the lady gawking at me in the mirror — that paints the picture much differently. The college friend who did a terrible job on my hair and makeup could ask me hair questions all day. She still never just randomly touched my hair (even as a cosmetology student), but I had no problem with her asking me those questions. We’d built that bond. It’s just a world of difference between somebody staring at you like an untamed lion and two homegirls (or teacher-student friends) having a chat about hair.
As far as hair, I’m only one black woman (so this is solely my opinion), but I don’t really care about people complimenting my hair. Women (in general) do that all the time. I’d curled, flat-ironed and freshly washed my hair before a Toastmasters meeting, and of the members walked in and said, “Somebody went to the salon?! Oooooh.” I just did one of those open-palm lifts on one side as a “thank you” and went about my day. I didn’t even bother to tell her (white woman) I did all that stuff to my hair on my own, no salon needed. About 65 percent of the time, I just ball my hair up into a ponytail and call it a day. (I’m the Sergeant at Arms. I don’t have time to be worrying about hair when I’m lugging in bags and setting up flags at 8:30 a.m.)
I think the only time I ever had a really weird situation was when I’d chopped off about 10 inches of my hair and decided to get a short cut with feathered curls. One Asian girl’s mouth dropped and then she just stared hard down at her computer. Two more white women stood up at their desks to peer over and just stare at me talk to a guy toward the door. (As men are notorious for doing [black and white], he didn’t even flinch nor do I think he realized that 75 percent of my hair was gone. I talked to him for a solid five minutes, and he never said a word.)
My white female boss (at the time) gasped and said, “I love it.” Another white co-worker just looked down at her computer. See how all of these reactions were so different? That’s just part of being a woman and getting a new look. Some folks will love it. Others won’t. But it’s the staring part that annoys me far more than someone thinking, “Ugh, I don’t like it. Was that her real hair before?”