Wednesday, November 01, 2006


i remember once that school was about to start, and i wanted to show up looking like a new woman. i've never been really chic. i tend to just get by with just enough. i've never been big on name brand fashions, or even knock offs of the latest fashions, and frankly, shopping is a chore to me, not an afternoon of fun. whenever i can, i shop more like a guy: i know what i want, i go get it, pay for it, and leave. i use a full face of makeup only on a whim, and even then, i'm a minimalist.

lately, i've been trying to put more effort into my style. i tend to go through phases like this. my main inspiration comes from my grandma and my mom. all my childhood memories of them are of them being fabulously coordinated, impeccably coiffed, imaginatively accessorized, and really just chic in their own way. it put me in the mind of the day i decided to get a back to school wash, cut, and curl.

i have a pleasant head of hair - healthy, brown, soft. but i never put much effort into it. but with school starting and autumn approaching, the spirit of change had me thinking about trying to be cute. so i put together a little money, bought a box of hair coloring, and decided to go to the hairdresser for a cut that would be the beginning of my own era of chic...

since i've always done everything for my own hair, just like my mom, i had only been to the hairdresser maybe once for each finger on one of my hands. i didn't have a number i could just call for an appointment. and with no recommendations for a particular stylist, i guess i'd just have to be a walk-in. however, my mom suggested that hair place in the mall. she'd stopped through there once upon a time to get her hair trimmed, and she had no complaints.

okay, now. first of all, every time i'd ever been to the hairdresser, or known of anyone going, they go to Rhonda's, or Tineika's, or fill-in-her-name-here's shop. it might have a name, like Total Concept, or Golden Shears. but where ever we went, the place had black hair care magazines strewn all over the place, one or two televisions mounted on the wall, and a chinese food storefront with bulletproof windows within walking distance. there are no others besides sistas when you walk through the door. and that's comfort. that's part of what makes you able to lean back in the chair and let Rhonda or Tineika do what you're paying her to do.

if i went into the walk-in shop at the mall, there's no telling what would happen.

but i gave it a shot.

when i got there, i circled and circled the shop, waiting for the one sista who was working in the shop with two other women, to finish the head she was working. but when i came back, i'd just missed her - she was at lunch. one of the other women told me that she was willing to work with my head, and her chair was empty... but i just couldn't do it. she got my thanks, but no thanks, as i sat down to wait for the sista. i think the woman understood my hesitance to put my hair in her apricot-crayon-colored hands. she told me, with carefully chosen words, that she was confident that she could do my hair. and she may very well have been qualified and trained to work with all kinds of hair, but i simply didn't want her doing my hair. i knew that when she went home, she didn't put her hands in a mop like mine, and that's all i needed to know. not so chic.

what's interesting is that part of the reason i don't go to hairdressers (talkin bout sistas) is because they tend to claim that they don't know how to deal with hair like mine - the thin strands, the texture - and looking back, i think it's interesting how i wasn't thinking about how those black hairdressers didn't have hair like mine, either, when i was sitting in that mall dissing that white hairdresser.

i haven't forgotten her. i wonder how often she gets that from sistas. i wonder if she can do hair.

i never found out. i kept my brown behind in that seat until the sista got back from her break. then i let her put her hands and her tools in my mane... she worked it. and when i left the mall,

i worked it.

slid a pair of shades on, and pulled out my inner model for my walk on the way to the car.

very chic.