Jillian Medium Fro August 2012

A Haircut Is Coming. After This Long Discussion.

Mama, you saw what happened with The Hairdo in October. As I told you a couple of weeks ago, I knew at the very moment the hairdo was getting underway that I would have to sheer my scalp like an Alpaca.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.

Our history with the cutting of my hair is long and storied, isn’t it mama? I still have a church photo from 1992, the year of my first foray into rocking short, curly fuzz. Oh yes.  Remember the 6th grade grown-up-woman Coming to America Jheri Curl?

First Big Chop, Fall 1992

Since, that haircut 20 years ago, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to “start over” with “fresh hair.” In other words: clip down to barely a tuft of lucky, fortunate, albeit chemically treated tresses. It was a painful lesson that first time, but with repetition comes familiarity (if not comfort).

Comfortable Is A Relative Term

In years past, my haircut would be a result of my carelessness. I would go too long between relaxer retouches, letting my tightly coiled new growth tangle and frying the new roots with my various curling irons. Finally I would give up and brushing the riotous mass into a ponytail (if it would reach) until I made an appointment at a salon. The problem was always the “no scratching for a week” rule.

Jillian With Relaxed Hair, Fall 2006

Whoever thought it was a good idea to stop developing ways to straighten hair gently and without lye needs to spend a solid week not scratching their heads. Not ever at all. Not even lightly. Not even rubbing. It ruined many a planned retouch appointment. Some haircuts, I had waited so long to win the no-scratching game that I had to suffer a loss, go to the salon and grit my teeth through the no-scratch-loser’s penalty: feel the burn.

A scalp burn due to relaxer chemical is one of those masochistic injuries I had convinced myself was an unchangeable part of being a woman. “Look, Jillian. Sometimes your scalp will burn, ooze, puss and scab over. Just pat your head instead of scratching it and you’ll be fine. You’ll look insane but you’ll ultimately be fine.” There was this one time, I had a deep scalp burn, and a haircut. The burn was so widespread and so deep, my remaining hair was stuck to my head for a couple of days. I took it in stride, cursing myself for scratching.

Trust Is The True Commodity

With my hair being much more comfortably natural these days, I have largely stayed away from salons.

Jillian with TWA, August 2011

A typical stylist is interested in repeat business. The easiest guarantee of that is installing a perpetual schedule of artificial process on any new customer’s hair. Color, relaxer, braids….really it doesn’t matter as long as they have to return. I’ve grown accustomed to telling a stylist “I want a haircut. That is all,” and the stylist saying “Don’t you want to put some relaxer in that? How about a texturizer? What about a blowout?” Because working with my natural hair as-is….well that’s just hard. It takes a long time. Straighter hair is easier.

Jillian Medium Fro August 2012

See? Working on my hair is somehow all about the stylist. It’s not about me and my wants or needs. I generally want or need a trim, and that’s it. And there is no reward there for the stylist. My visit would be a high labor, low profit visit. So in this moment, when I state my desire, trust is the glue that will fuse our relationship together. It’s easy for the stylist to trust that I will pay after services are rendered. But I have no idea if I can trust that this stylist will not commit a crime against my hair as a punishment for not needing more pricey services.

A Stylist Can Be Selfish

So that’s the long version of why I’m getting a haircut, mama. I paid for trust and was ripped off. My hair paid the price and I’ll be starting over with “fresh hair” because instead of my laziness causing split-ends and break-offs, it was my stylist who put her needs, which lasted about 2 hours, ahead of my needs, which last roughly…..a lifetime.

Jillian With Texturizer, Sept 2012

As much as I’m irritated with the idea of this haircut, it is just hair – it’ll grow back. I’m not suffering any lasting bodily harm from my trips to the salon in 2012, so all-in-all, Mama, things are okay.

5 comments for “A Haircut Is Coming. After This Long Discussion.

  1. December 24, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this post. While I was reading I was singing, “I Am Not My Hair” by India Arie. Rock on and continue to be you, you’re AWESOME!

    • December 25, 2012 at 1:16 am

      Thank you Anise! Of the things I find crucial in life, my hair is simply not 🙂 one of them thank you for reading & supporting!

  2. Donecia N. Christian
    December 25, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and can relate on sooo many levels. Thanks for sharing!

    • December 25, 2012 at 2:12 am

      Growth is a process, I can tell you that! Thank you for sharing my hair memories with me

Comments are closed.