There is something about a hair salon. The place has its own rhythm, it’s own life. From the sounds of R&B on the radio, to the whooshing sounds of the hot air from the hair dryers, to the splashing of the water and the flipping of pages as women sit, magazines in hand, awaiting there turn.
For some salon visits can be a very social and fun experience. Lots of laughter, sharing stories and yes, lots of over-sharing. For me, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with salon visits. I’m sharing this Hair Story for my ladies who have ever survived a day at the hair salon in the quest for good hair. Whip your hair back and joy.
I arrive for my 9:00 am appointment. To my surprise (not) there are 4 clients already there. Waiting.
There’s a client in the stylist’s chair she’s getting a weave (let’s call her Ms. Weave). Another is under the dryer (we’ll call her Dryer Lady).
The assistant is in the back shampooing someone at the sink.
The hot topic of discussion is about the demise of music at the hands of explicit lyrics and BET.
I sigh heavily. It’s going to be a long morning.
Ms. Weave is finally finished. She heads over to a mirror to check out her new do.
“I’m going on my first date!” says another client (let’s call her, First Date Girl). Although this was meant for the stylist, the blow dryer is going so basically it’s an announcement to the entire room (its a small space). I sense the excitement like a brilliant spark of electricity. Some of us sit up a little straighter, some lean a little forward, ears, like antennae, at the ready.
Ms. Weave, who has not yet finished with the mirror, is apparently in a bit of dilemma. “Should I wear her hair straight or should I have it curled just or a bit or maybe I should have it layered? I don’t knooow” she whines.
She turns her head this way and that, then smoothens her freshly done hair with her hands. She examines her profile.
‘Leave it straight. You look HOT!” a client reassures her.
Ms. Weave pauses for one final look and a perfect hair flip before she deciding she does indeed look HOT. She makes her way, hips swinging and hair bouncing out the door.
One down…and a whole lot more to go. I give another internal sigh.
Dryer Lady, her head bowed and chin resting on her chest, has fallen asleep.
Your Love is My Drug is playing on the radio and someone comments that Ke$ha looks like she needs a bath and a serious shampoo. There’s general agreement.
The stylist’s phone rings. It’s a client who’s on her way and wants to know if she can bring the stylist anything.
“Does anyone want anything?” the stylist shouts. One large cornmeal porridge, some fried plantain and a small order of fried dumplings and ackee and saltfish. Orders are taken.
Two new clients have arrived but not in time to place an order.
The discussion has shifted from first dates and bad music to where to get good Jamaican food. No consensus is reached.
For what seems like the 100th time, I yawn and check my watch.
Two clients are finished and out the door.
Dryer Lady is tapped on the shoulder. She springs awake, eyes wild. It takes her a few seconds to catch her bearings before she makes her way slowly to The Chair.
Two more clients arrive.
We’re running out of chairs.
My stomach growls. I should’ve placed an order when I had the chance.
Lady Gaga’s Alejandro is playing and everyone is in agreement that it is a rip-off of Madonna’s La Isla Bonita and some Ace of Base song.
Dryer lady is done. She does a quick check in the mirror before heading out the door.
First Date Girl is next.
Another client has arrived. She takes a seat, well almost. She is perched, back straight, eyes scanning around the room. She frowns then stands up, head held high, shoulders square and announces to the room, “I have a few errands to run. I’ve gotta pick up my dry cleaning, go to the bank, and run to the mall. I’ll be back!” It was as she was addressing her royal subjects. Her Ladyship doesn’t wait for a response before gliding out the door.
My butt is now numb. I shift in my seat then check my watch.
Breakfast has arrived. The stylist and her assistant take a break…fast.
Locked Up by Akon is playing on the radio. To my disappointment, no one comments.
I continue flipping through my third fashion magazine and ponder how many must-haves one must one have to be ready for the summer. Good Lord, this chair is hard.
First Date Girl is done. She does a quick check in the mirror. With a satisfied smile, she got great first date hair going on! She sashays out the door, her hair bouncing almost playfully on her head, like a happy puppy trailing behind her.
The assistant motions me over. Yes!
She drapes the black cape on me. Progress!
I’m the ushered along into The Chair. OMG! I’m so excited I’m practically doing the Running Man, mentally.
The relaxer has been applied to my hair and I’m asked to sit at the sink for a shampoo.
Another client has arrived.
It’s the sister of Your Ladyship. Like her sister, she takes one look at the now crowded room and announces to the stylist – and everyone – that she is going for breakfast and will return in an hour. She too breezes through the door.
I’m under the dryer. I check my phone, read some emails and send a few text messages.
“Heeeey Everyone!” There’s a sudden shift in the energy in the room. It’s filled with momentary excitement. Greetings, hugs, air kisses, and laughter. This one is a popular client – practically a salon celebrity.
Things settle down rather quickly. Unfortunately Celebrity was out partying the night before and hadn’t quite recovered. She is uncharacteristically quiet.
Another client arrives. “Wow! Full house!” she exclaims.
The stylist asks her if she has any errands to run….
I’m back in “The Chair” for styling. Finally.
I’m finally finished.
I don’t do a mirror check. I don’t care at this point.
A client compliments me on my do, which I barely hear because I’m too focused on paying and getting out.
As a grab my belongings, Celebrity tells me my looks “Great!”. I smile. I’m a fan.
I give a general “Goodbye” to the room and race for the door.
As I exit the salon, a woman getting out of her car, stops and says “Wow, really nice hair!” My smile is even bigger this time. I may have whipped my hair back, just a little and stepped with a bit more sass.
I’m tired as heck, really irritated and very relieved to finally be on my way home but I’ve had three compliments in the span of about two minutes. It’s almost enough to make me forget that I just spent half my day getting my hair did. Almost.
**Disclaimer: The events and clients are fictitious and loosely based on my many years of salon visits. Not all salons are like this – I discovered this later in life.