Monday, July 6, 2009

Stranger Danger!

Over the weekend we went to a book store. This particular store has a great kids section with an awesome play area. While Demetri was browsing, Zoey and I played puppets, ripped down a castle, created disturbingly horrific train wrecks, and rearranged all the stuff in the play kitchen. An older lady come over and started making small talk with us -- about how cute Zoey is, about the weather, about her recent mission trip to Africa. I didn't want to be rude, but I was sort of busy trying to demolish the castle with a frog puppet: "And then the giant frog swooped down from the sky and ate up the princess because she took gentle yoga instead of kick boxing . . .".

But the lady was undeterred.

I continued to play with Zoey and she continued to talk about the orphanage she worked in in Africa. I responded minimally with hmm's and yeah's and oh's. Zoey then moved closer to the lady to play at the train table. As I don't like to play puppets alone, I followed her. We were busy setting up Thomas the Train to fly off a cliff after jumping over other, lesser, trains when the lady reached out and touched my hair. To be clear, she didn't just brush it off my face or barely touch one of the ends. She put her entire hand on my head and pushed her fingers down into my hair. I tried to pull back, but she had a death grip on my head with her evil, claw-like hand. So I kicked her in the stomach (because, unlike the aforementioned princess, I did take kick boxing).

Ok. Fine. That last part isn't true. I didn't kick her in the stomach. And the description of "evil and claw-like" may be an exaggeration. And it wasn't my hair she touched, it was Zoey's. BUT STILL. Why do people think it's OK just to reach out and touch Zoey's hair? People would never do that to an adult. Never. And people don't ask. They just grab her hair like she's not real. She can't talk yet so it's not as if she can yell STRANGER DANGER! to protect herself. Part of me feels like I shouldn't let Zoey get within arms reach of people but another part of me realizes that might make her a wee bit anti-social. And she already has plenty of things to talk to her future therapist about. I should probably say something, right? But the thing is, it happens so fast. It's over before I can even say Stop or Don't. So then the question is: do I bother telling people I will never see again that they need to respect Zoey's personal space? Maybe. But primarily so Zoey knows I will stick up for her.

Demetri suggests that we grab people's hair right back. But, you know, ew. Some people have hair that I just don't want to experience. What would you do?
Nooooo! Don't touch my hair! Nooooo! Stranger danger! Stranger danger!


  1. Oh my god! That's so weird and creepy! I know Damon would be in her face - I would probably just be appalled and stunned like you. I think it's time you enroll Zorro in her own kick-boxing classes.

  2. You think that is bad, people think that our kids being twins give them a greater license to do that shit. Not so much now as when they were kids, but old people in restaurants, people in the store, etc. Yes, they are twins, yes they have lots of hair (the hair is a big magnet), yes they are not yours so keep your hands to your freaking self.

    I think that maybe that woman saw Zoey and thought "I went to Africa to teach the savages the error of their religious beliefs. I am a friend of black babies (they are everywhere, you know!)."

  3. It would be so tempting to smile and say softly, "Oh,you might not want to do that; she has head lice."

    Then watch her jump.

    Or just say, "Hands off the hair, please."

    I don't know. It's just weird. When I do hair and makeup professionally, I always ask before I begin touching the person.

  4. I'm sorry, Zoey. Hang in there. Some people are ignorant fools.


  5. First, no one should touch a stranger without permission. Ever. Period. But they do. The woman who touched Zoey's hair probably touches pregnant strangers' bellies too. Hey, I just had an idea. Until she's more verbal, you might try teaching Zoey the ASL sign for "stop" ( It's easy, clear and would give her a voice until she can speak for herself. Meanwhile, you can "translate" to the toucher, "She doesn't like her hair being touched."

    Safety is, of course, your first concern. But as a girl with naturally curly (fuzzy) hair, I can tell you that I don't like for anyone to touch my hair unexpectedly. Lots of times it is so entangled, their fingers don't glide through and it just plain hurts. Didn't realize that until just now, so thanks for the insight!