Advice · Editorial · From the Newsroom

Goody Advice: Relationships, replacements, and more

Dear Goody, 
I’m an officer of a community group but people keep saying I should be replaced just because my appointment term expired a few measly years ago. How do I convince them to leave me alone to rule my little domain?
– Glorious Leader

Dear Glorious, 

Might I helpfully suggest you <redacted> and after that you might try <redacted>. If you choose to take my advice, please let me know as I would dearly love to watch and bring s’mores to your auto-da-fé and bask in the warmth as the embers burn low. 

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
I’ve been married to my wife for 20 years, and people still tell me that we won’t last because she isn’t in the SCA. 
How do I politely tell them that we each have our own things, and a relationship built on trust and mutual respect? 
-Never Gonna Give Her Up. 

Dear Never, 

Congratulations on your anniversary! 20 years together with another human is a hell of an accomplishment. I hope that your next 20 years are filled with love, happiness, and comfort. 

As to you detractors, I can offer this polite suggestion: Square up your shoulders, stand up straight, give a great big smile and tell them to ‘With all due respect, please piss off. I didn’t put a ring on you.’ 

Finish with a big smile and tell them to have a nice day. That should cover everything they need to know! 

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
There is a person of color in our kingdom who just put her hair into braids. She was at dance practice last night, and as she went through a hay, her dance partner reached out and touched her hair. She left shortly thereafter, very upset. Why was she upset about that? Doesn’t she want people to admire her beauty? 
-Argent Dancer

Dear Argent, 

I’m not sure how you do not see a problem with what happened but let me explain. 

No, that will take too long, so let me sum up. 

Part 1. Consent: Did the dance partner first ask and receive permission to touch the hair of the person of color? Let’s go with NO as the answer. The dance partner touched another person in an intimate way without consent. 

No consent equals no touchy! This goes for patting short people on the head, women grabbing a man’s ass, touching a pregnant woman’s belly, or laying hands on any person without consent. Unless you are attempting to keep a person from being hit by an oncoming truck, help catch someone who is falling, or give first aid to an injured person just follow that simple rule. 

I like to use small words so everyone understands this: NO CONSENT EQUALS NO TOUCHY! 

Even though, as a dance partner, you have consent to touch the hands or arm of a partner, you have not been given permission to caress their face, play grab ass, or pet their hair. 

Part 2. Touching hair: How hair is styled and what a person wears are two of the most obvious ways a person can express themselves. This is extremely personal. 

Hair is an actual physical part of a person and made of keratin, just like finger and toe nails. Would you like someone to pet your toenails as a surprise and without consent? Does that seem really intimate? Does it seem creepy as all get out? That’s because it is! 

Just like someone petting you on a subway or on a sidewalk, being petted in a dance class isn’t ok. You would probably freak out if a person started touching your hair without consent. 

Part 3. Racial history and inequality: As recently as 1906, an African man was displayed as an attraction at the Bronx Zoo. 

Ota Benga sat on a stool inside a monkey cage in the monkey house and stared emptily at thousands of zoo visitors. This Congolese teenager had been captured and kidnapped from his home tribal territory by slave traders, forced into agricultural slavery and was then ‘purchased’ for one pound of salt and a bolt of cloth by an American missionary. This was accomplished with the blessing of the Belgian Secretary of State, speaking on behalf of King Leopold II, who ‘owned’ the property of the Congo Free State at that time. Benga had previously been displayed at the St. Louis World’s Faire where visitors could even touch him and pet his hair. In what year were you born? Does it start with a 19? When were your grandparents born? Did they live within a thousand miles of New York City or St. Louis? Do you now have any questions about why a person of color does not enjoy being treated like a petting zoo attraction?

It’s very real and in recent memory that this crap actually happened to live human beings. If you need more explanation, just Google ‘touching a black person’s hair’ to read SO VERY MANY articles written by people smarter and more well written than me. 

Today, people of color still experience gross racial inequality and also generational poverty in the US. Asking to touch or touching someone’s hair sets them aside as different and other. Even when asking, some people of color may feel unable to refuse if the requester is in a position of power. This is a microaggression and super unpleasant in general. 

In short: It’s unsanitary to go around touching people with your hands that have touched who the hell knows what. You would not like it if it were done to you so don’t do it to another person. Don’t ask. Don’t touch. It’s super creepy and degrading. People of color have put up with enough bullshit so let’s not add ‘Being randomly petted’ to the list. 

I hope this helps you understand, 

-Goody Advice

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