My colleagues know better than anyone where I can be found every Friday morning without fail. I don’t get my nails done and rarely get the brows waxed but this girl loves to get her “hair did” in the words of Missy Elliott.
Many of us back women have a thing about our hair. It’s an essential part of our individual swag. We invest hundreds of dollars each month making sure that our hair is on point. If need be, we will sit in a salon for hours for the right cut, braids, twists or up do..
And let’s not even talk about that creamy crack. Chris Rock coined the term in his documentary, “Good Hair” about black women, our obsession with hair and the booming weave industry. It was an ode to his daughters and his message was clear: our hair is beautiful as it is. Creamy crack refers to the chemicals we apply to our hair to straighten it. As a teenager, I couldn’t wait to get a perm.
For those of us of a certain age, the quest for straight hair began when we were kids with that dreaded hot comb our mothers heated up on the stove. My sister and I would wince when our hair sizzled or the straightening comb clipped our ear. We we got a bit older, we’d head to Wigginton’s Beauty Shop off Georgetown Road in Lexington where Mrs. Betty Ann Williams and Mrs. Dora Sanford did their thing. We loved going to the shop and hearing the ladies gossip. We joked that when we left Ms. Betty Ann’s chair our hair was fried, died and laid to the side!
To this day, I will wear a pair of shoes until they fall apart but I will not neglect my hair. My stylist is one of my best friends. I’ve been in her chair once a week for 20 plus years. I trust Janet Savage so much that I barely glance at the mirror she hands me at the end of each appointment.
When I leave her shop, my hair is tight. I throw on some earrings and a little bit of lipstick and I’m ready to take on the world. I love Fridays for that reason. Jan was one of the first people I called with the news that I’d cut the perm out of my hair. You did what? She’s been trying to get me to cut my hair for years but I never had the courage to take my short cut down to less than an inch. I’ll still need Jan to keep my hair trimmed. And I wouldn’t trade my Friday fellowship with her and other ladies for anything.
My father and husband were the first to react. “Why did you do that?” asked my Dad. “Your hair always looked so nice.” Their reaction likely has more to do with my hair being super short. They are traditionalists. I’ve also heard from a few friends who’ve asked what product I’m using. I’m thinking those comments mean my hair may be too kinky or dry-looking for their taste.
But, hey, I love the freedom this short, perm-free cut gives me. I just wake up, wet it, apply some curl cream and run my fingers through it. Now if that’s not liberating, I don’t know what is!