The Root of The Matter

18 Jul

It’s not very often that mothers in particular get the opportunity to doll themselves up let alone spend money on the niceties of going to a salon to get your hair and nails done. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of paying someone else to do my hair and nails ON A WEEKLY basis if my budget allowed. I don’t know if there is ever a bigger bone of contention when it comes to women and their hair, its our nightmare.

One thing you must know about me, I gave myself my first fringe at the tender age of eight and it was more like a nail size fringe, not much at all!!! My mother was very weary of leaving me alone with the scissors after that as she had the tedious task of washing and rolling my mop. A few years later, I decided that wanted to cut my hair again MYSELF, but this time was no different, major disaster, the only difference here is that I was now forced to learn how to do my hair for fear of the belt and what a palaver that turned out to be. Those of us who do our own hair are likely to become very fussy when someone else is given the opportunity and we are rarely satisfied with the outcome, amen? Since I’ve moved to the big city, I have been to four hairdressers in four years and walked out every time vowing I would never waste my money like that again….. I’ve been to salons from Sandton to the South; had every nation (literally) do my hair from a big black bald man, an indian woman, a colored sister with a fro and a nice white lady who didn’t have a cooking clue; paid all the prices under the sun and still not been impressed enough to refer my friends there. So understand this, I’m a great sceptic of hairdressers!!!!

Some time during the week, I walked into a favorite shopping centre. Whenever I pass a salon, I always go in to check on the latest hair-care products of a particular range because I’m a firm believer in using the best on my hair to get it as manageable or tame as possible. So on this particular day, I walked in just to peruse the shelves when a male hairdresser (let’s call him Sunshine) approached and politely asked if I needed any help to which my usual reply was that I was just looking. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him peering into my scalp and then come the words: “Oh my sister, what is going on with your scalp?”. Slightly embarrassed, I sheepishly mention that I have a dry scalp meanwhile I know that I’m a week overdue in the wash-and-dry department. Then he proceeds to say in a flat coloured accent: “And those broken sisters on the front porch???”. Now for those of you colored out there, the sisters on the front porch are otherwise known as aerials or simply – the hair closest to my forehead that broke and  now looking like rays of sunshine two weeks later because they’re being rebellious!!!!!

He then coaxed me into having a wash and blow to start for only R195 but if you know anything about hairdressers, it never ends there. I tell him that I only have an hour to spare because I have to head home to my baby and he reckons that’s more than enough time to spare. He shows me to my chair and instructs me to leave my bag, jacket and scarf and then looks at me to say that it’s a white salon sweets, they won’t steal your bag here. I let out a nervous giggle and make my way over to the back of the salon. I sit in a white leather chair and like a dentists’ chair, by pressing a few buttons here and there, it moves upwards and closer to the basin. We start making small talk about the weather and how cold its been then he starts telling me about his french boyfriend that’s all the way in france for a month; how lonely he’s been because he has no friends; he’s so broke because they work on a commission basis and that my hair lacks moisture which means I need a treatment, it’ll be an extra R300 but he’ll give it to me for R100 only, all in one go!!!! I sat there wondering if he told me his life story so that I would feel sorry enough to just say yes to my new “bosom buddy” but then I figured, he’s doing me a favor so why the hell not. The wash was good but the treatment was way better, like R300 better, my scalp felt all clean and tingly, it was short of heavenly.

Back at his work station, first thing I checked to see that my bag was still there (typical) and then I sat down to a glass of fruit punch and a few glossy mags. A lady pops out of nowhere and asks if I want my hands massaged while my hair gets done, by the scared look on my face, the dude says: “I can see you just wondering now how much is this going to cost me, chill doll, its complementary” to which I burst out laughing. While he’s blow drying my hair, a few white trainees surround him because they want to know how to do this kind of hair, “Ladies, while you use heat to style the hair, one thing you must remember is that you don’t need to burn your client hey!”. Half way through the blow dry, I ask how much longer he’ll be and he replies by saying that he thought it would only take him and hour until he saw the state of  my hair when its wet – I haven’t relaxed my hair in almost 2 years so the thread is au’ natural and the curl is tight but I love it that way and I’ve learned to embrace my black heritage so I was ripped that he HAD to work a little harder for his commission than he originally thought – the joke was on him!

Normally after a blow, every hairdresser thinks that they have done their job by taming the mane but we all know that an hour or so later (much sooner if you live in the tropics, like Durban) the bush has returned with a vengeance. I specifically instruct him to use the iron as well so that way at least one of us leaves happy and with a huge smile on his face he starts clapping his hands exclaiming that its welding hour in the Mrs Clumps’ voice (from the Nutty Professor) when she said: “Hercules, Hercules!”  I tell you, I was rolling on the floor in stitches.

There were so many other side-splitting comments he made like his first encounter with hair at the tender age of seven with a cabbage patch doll and how you can do sweet blow all with a blasted middle path; or how he went from Don King with a fro to The Donald in 0.2 seconds because he had relaxed his hair with Sheen and the front broke; or how colored women don’t need air bags on their cars because they’ve developed such strong neck muscles from having their heads pulled backwards constantly; or how lucky I am that I came in during the week because with all the work he’s had to do to get me looking  this good I would’ve waited forever if I had walked in on a busy weekend… it went on and on…

When I eventually left just over an hour later, it was with a smile on my face and an extra two weeks of effortless hair (as he put it), I found a happy place with a laugh-a-minute hairdresser who actually knew what he was doing and could back it up with the desired results…. Thanks Sunshine, I’ll definitely see you again…. until you move that is!!!! That’s another thing with them, right when you finally find The One, they up and move, disappear without a trace. The down side to this whole story was that now I was all dolled up and no-where to go and show off my new do….

I know that there are plenty of you out there with way more hilarious stories than mine so please share your horror hair stories as well, I would love to hear from you.

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3 Responses to “The Root of The Matter”

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