Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Not Your Typical Bad Hair Day

I cannot stand hair weaves. Don’t get me wrong…I couldn’t care less what the next woman does. But for me, my anti-weave policy stems from a more personal nature.

Once upon a time in Atlanta when I was still wearing a perm, I decided that my normal brown hair (which my hairdresser affectionately called “dishwater brown”) just simply wouldn’t do any longer. I opted instead for auburn tresses.

The half-wit hairdresser I was using at the time decided that, in order to get my hair to the auburn color she was going for, she had to remove the natural dishwater brown altogether with some bleaching solution. Once my hair had lost all of its natural color, she applied the actual auburn color I selected. Yes, I know…it was a two-step dye job. And while none of my other friends had gone through such a process to change their hair to lighter colors, I didn’t know enough to object.

My final hair color was beautiful, however, and it shined and shimmered for about six weeks. And then I went back to get my perm retouched.

I’m sitting in the chair just blabbering away like always when my normal “Chatty-Kathy” hairstylist got eerily quiet all of a sudden. It took me a couple more minutes of rambling to realize she was no longer responding to my antics.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Your hair is shedding,” was the otherwise Chatty Kathy’s reply.

“Well, isn’t that somewhat normal?” I asked. “Everybody’s hair sheds a little, right?”

“Not this much,” she says in a matter-of-fact manner like she’s not talking about the only hair I had on my head.

And with that, I immediately make puddles all over the shop floor as I whip my wet head around to reveal the sink full of the same hair that once topped my head. As a reflex, my hand reaches for my head as if to catch my eyes in a lie. Instead, I feel gaps where the hair used to be. This heifer had washed my hair down the sink along with the perm!

“I promise you that your hair will grow back thicker and fuller than it ever was,” was her pathetic reply to my screams of terror. At this point, everybody in the shop is looking at me. And I’m cussin’ and fussin’ like somebody stole my Mama when I needed her the most!

All I could think about was how long it would take before my hair reached the inch past my shoulders that it was before she got her hands in it. There was hardly anything left!

I was screaming and crying like a madwoman, as I tried to figure out how in the world I would maintain my diva status looking the way I did. I was a dead ringer for Woody Woodpecker if I’d ever seen one.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the process of “perming” a Black woman’s hair. You generally part it in four sections, and apply the perm to each one by one. You could tell that my hair had been quartered this way, because I had virtually no hair in quadrant 1, a few extra strands in quadrant 2, random locks of hair in quadrant 3, and damn near all the hair remained in quadrant 4. It was devastating.

Chatty Kathy somehow managed to create some kind of decent-looking style with my remaining hair by covering the bald spots with the spots that still had hair. But, every time I ran my hands through my hair, or even when my head was resting on a pillow, more strands would fall out. Hell…if the wind blew too hard, my shit was coming out. There was just no hope.

So, Chatty Kathy decides that, until my natural hair grows back, that she would install a series of hair weaves to replenish the fullness that once was. So, out she comes with these bags of horse hair that she wanted to “stitch” into my head. The only problem was that I didn’t have enough hair left to cover the tracks.

So, I ended up looking like Beyonce on her absolute worst hair day (and you know that’s bad considering the plethora of bad-hair-choice-options she’s sported)! The top of my head showed all the tracks, and I was truly disgusted. Here and there, you would find little pieces of thread that she just forgot to cut off after she stitched in the row of hair. I looked like one big giant MISTAKE!

And to top it all off, Chatty Kathy wanted me to give her $60 for the weave, saying she did extensive labor to get all my tracks in.

“Need I remind you that I wouldn’t need these tracks if your ass knew half as much about hair as that license on the wall suggests?” I asked, daring her to respond the wrong way. “I never asked you for a weave. I only asked you to perm my hair. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that you didn’t know what you were doing. I don’t have a license to do hair care…you do. Believe me, sistah, you won’t see a dime from me for anything. In fact, I should be charging your ass! And if you don’t continue to do my hair for free, I will sue you and take your shop!”

Needless to say, she accepted my proposal for free hair care. But after thinking about it for a while, I realized that this foolish-non-hair-dressing-heifer shouldn’t be touching my hair at all. I couldn’t trust her. But that left me with a tough dilemma. I could either continue to let her clean up her mess for free, or pay somebody else to do it.

I decided, instead, to just cut the shit off all the way and rock a short natural for a while. It was quite liberating not to have to get perms every six weeks, but it truly sucked to need a cut every other week instead.

So I decided that locks were the way to go.

My hair has grown back thicker and fuller than it ever was, but it has nothing to do with Chatty Kathy or her dying or weaving misdeeds. My hair is now at its best because I haven’t been altering it with modern-day conk concoctions that do nothing but thin it out and break it off.

Life with locks has been wonderful. It’s not as maintenance-free as I once thought it would be, but I’m not losing any strands because of over-processing or uneducated, wannabe hair stylists who don’t have a clue about hair care. I simply wash, palm roll and style as I please…and I’m always fly!

I must admit that I did make Miss Chatty Kathy pay for what she did to me. And I’m not exactly proud of it from a grown woman’s standpoint, but it sure did make me feel better at the time.

After the incident in the shop when she wanted me to pay $60 for that fake-ass weave, I decided to slip back under the cover of darkness to do my own damage. I had a nice, sharp knife with me, and used it to slash each of the tires on her car. Then, I used my key to produce some new-age hieroglyphics on her driver’s side door.

Yeah, I know it was petty…but I’ll be damned if I didn’t feel better after I was done. I have no idea whether she guessed it was me, because I never went back. But if she’s got two cents to rub together in that monster head of hers, she should’ve figured it out. My only regret at the time was that I couldn’t do more without earning a quick ticket to jail.

Good thing there won’t be a next time…

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