Update Feb. 8, 2016: Added a Part 2 post on this topic. Be sure to read and share it!
Warning: If you’re not a black American, you’re probably not going to understand this post.
I seriously just had one of the worst experiences at a black hair salon. The bad thing is it’s not the first time it’s ever happened. But I am fed up with it happening.
First of all, the salon I go to is one I’ve been going to off and on for the past four years. Sometimes I haven’t gone because I’ve lived elsewhere, but most of the time I stop going because I get pissed with whomever is doing my hair there. I don’t know about other places in the US, but in my city it seems as if black hair stylists are fine for a while and then they become unacceptable over time. They are all like this, if not just flatout horrible from day one. There is simply no such thing as “professional” here.
It’s also incredibly hard to find a black hair stylist who won’t completely ruin your day by having you there for hours for reasons that really have nothing to do with your hair. These bitches are slow, they talk entirely too much, and they act as if talking and doing hair can’t possibly be done at the same time. Between the two–talking and doing hair–talking is going to take precedence. They also like to book a whole bunch of appointments in a short time frame and then just leave the lot of women to sit around for at least half the day due to some combination of there being too many women booked, the bitch hair stylist moving like a damn tortoise and the stylist wanting at times to do everything except your hair–talking, cleaning, eating, processing payment, buying stuff from some guy coming into the shop trying to sell crap, etc.
I would be willing to bet that, even if it’s like this most other places in the US, this is compounded in my area by the fact that these are all black Southerners. I’ve lived in a lot of places, but I’ve spent more time in the Midwest recently than in the South. I’m from the South originally, but I honestly no longer feel as if I’m from the South. There are many things I’ve struggled to get used to since returning to the South. One of the biggest things that irritates me is just how slow Southerners are. I am a naturally impatient person–always have been. I don’t know how I was able to deal with Southerners bullshitting before, but now when I run into this–especially at places of service, such as department stores and hair salons–I really struggle to not just pick something up and throw it through a wall.
The thing that’s really funny to me is how no one else seems to be the slightest bit bothered by the snail’s pace at which everything is taken care of down here. I am baffled every time I look around a black hair salon, and that’s been the case for as long as I’ve been going to them, which has been at least since I was 12 years old. None of those black women have ever seemed to have a problem with the ridiculous wait times. I know I differ from black women in terms of how important getting my hair “did” is to me (I hate going to the salon, and I hate dealing with my hair at all), but damn. I don’t even have a life, and spending hours at the hair salon pisses me off. These women have kids, husbands or boyfriends, they work, have friends, etc. I see the same thing at department stores. People act as if standing at the counter for half an hour to get their purchases rung up is no big thing–and I’m just talking about actually making it to the counter, not even the extra time of standing in line. There’s often some old grandma or some overweight black chick taking forever to ring up your shit.
When I lived in Michigan, it took an hour to get my hair “did.” I would hop on one bus at the University of Michigan and ride it to the mall, and I’d be done in time to catch the next bus back to the university. My hair stylist there did one customer at a time. She did not overlap her bookings. She focused on getting women in and out, and she didn’t waste time by stopping and doing other things, talking, gossiping, eating, etc. When I do my hair at home, it takes an hour at the absolute most. I never give myself relaxers because I don’t know shit about hair and I couldn’t care less. I would not trust myself to give myself a relaxer and not do damage to my hair eventually. That’s really the only reason I ever set foot inside a hair salon. If I’m going to keep getting relaxers, someone else is going to have to do them for me–preferably a professional hair stylist.
Only today is seriously making me consider looking into no longer getting relaxers, just so I don’t ever have to deal with black hair stylists again.
My salon used to open at 10am, but the hours changed to 11am earlier this year. When I first started going to the lady who does my hair now, I told her I want to be the first appointment on the days I go. I told her this because I figured there would not be any waiting for her to finish someone else’s hair or alternating us between her seat. And that’s basically how it worked when they were opening at 10am. I was pretty happy with everything back then. I also try to go on days that are usually not busy, which means I will never go on Fridays or Saturdays, so that I can get out quicker. This was working, as well.
But when they started opening at 11am, I would come in and someone else would already be there getting her hair “did.” Apparently, this bitch hair stylist tells me every time I schedule an appointment that they’re opening at 11am but she will schedule someone else at 10am, who I guess requests 10am. So, today I thought to myself, “Okay, maybe I need to start requesting 10am.” With the way she’s doing things now, I have to wait on her to break with that customer who arrived before me and I have to alternate with that customer, which results in it taking longer for the stylist to finish with me. My time there started creeping up from 2 hours to 2 & 1/2 to, the last time I was there, 3 hours. This is exactly what I didn’t want. Understand that I have grown accustomed to maybe 2 or 2 & 1/2 hours at salons and not more than that since I have been going to better places and choosing better hair stylists since I no longer have to just go to whomever my mother goes to, i.e. I’m an adult now. My mother is more patient than I am, so she will deal with stylists who keep you waiting.
Anyway, so I’m rolling with the punches and trying to be okay with everything, even though it wasn’t going the way I preferred. And I need to mention that I’d started writing a sports piece this morning that I hadn’t finished but that I wanted to publish today, and the later I published it the less readers would get to it. There were hours and hours that were going by when it could have been up and getting hits on the internet while I was at the salon. There’s no internet at the salon–I can’t even get 3G to work on my iPhone there. But I was thinking that, at worst, I’d be there 3 hours and I could still get home, finish it and publish it. It’d be a tad later than I’d like, but it wouldn’t be too late.
That mentioned…I waited about 30 minutes for the stylist to get to me, and then she sat the other woman aside with conditioner in her hair while she gave me my relaxer. Eventually, she put me under the hair dryer to let my hair dry. Then she proceeded to leave me there for hours after she attended to customer after customer after customer. I seriously started thinking she’d forgotten I was there. She started out by styling the lady who had gotten there before me–who at that point probably had been there nearly four hours herself. Normally, if this hair sylist is alternating customers, then after she’s done styling one she’d come to me next and get me fixed up to head out the door. Instead, she brought back a customer who’d just arrived and started a full relaxer on her hair, THEN took her back to rinse out the relaxer.
THEN she left THAT customer at the sink to just sit there. So keep tally–she’s got me sitting under the dryer and she’s got another chick sitting at the sink. The chick who came first thing that morning had gone home, finally. THEN she brings back ANOTHER chick, and they both disappear. So, I’ve been under the dryer for almost two hours, which there was no reason for (I didn’t have a roller set or anything, just hair hanging straight down). I’m looking at my iPhone, like, “This is coming up on four hours, and I haven’t been styled yet, which will be another 30 minutes whenever she gets to that.” So, at about the 4-hr mark, I finally get up and ask another stylist there if she knew where the bitch had gone. She told me my stylist was in the wax room with another customer.
I’d seriously thought while I was sitting at the dryer about getting up and walking out without paying. But I decided to just go ahead and see if I could pay and just leave. Both of those women seemed to have a lot of customers coming in, plus they had a few women wanting to walk in without an appointment. The woman I talked to told me she would finish me. She told me this while she had a customer in her chair and had other customers there, as well, which probably meant I’d still have to wait…and even if I didn’t, it’d unfairly make her customers have to wait. But I told her I would like to just pay and go. She said she’d get my stylist so she could ring me up.
I kind of expected the bitch to come out apologetic, but she came out as if she had no idea what the problem was. The problem was that I’d been there for hours and she was steadily bringing other women back to work with them, creating a backlog, instead of moving people on in order. How was she going to do three different women at once? And the way things were going, there could have been even more women before she ever got back to me. I couldn’t just sit there and wait to see how many more women she’d start on before she finished with me. And then she was like, when I told her I wanted to pay and go,” But your hair isn’t finished” and “but your ends haven’t been clipped and they really need to be clipped.” If I had thought of it, I would have told her, “Well, you should have done that at least an hour ago, if you’re so concerned about it.” And she kept wasting even more of my time, trying to get me to stay and get my hair finished and such, looking at me like I’m nuts, like I did something wrong. Like I said, staying and getting it finished would have tacked on at least 30 more minutes. And frankly, my hair would have looked worse. Black hair stylists always spray a ton of shit in black women’s hair. My hair always looks too oily when I leave those salons. When I came home, I styled my hair in about 10 minutes, and it wasn’t all oily and full of itchy, stanky shit, either.
Needless to say, I’m not ever going back to that hair stylist.
These bitches do this all the time. In fact, I have left a salon once before with my hair not complete because of how long I was there. My mother thinks black hair stylists play favorites, i.e. they will put their “friends” and regular customers ahead of women who have been waiting but don’t come as often, regardless of when they were scheduled that day. And four hours might not seem so bad to some, even though there was no telling how long it ultimately would have been without my speaking up. But I used to spend 6 or 7 hours at the salon every weekend. I’m not going back to that. It’s completely ridiculous. It’s bad enough I have to spend that kind of time at work every weekday. I’m not spending a day on the weekend at another place I hate for that amount of time, as well.
So now, I will begrudgingly look into going “natural” and how to take care of/style natural hair. I really do not want to go natural–I don’t care how many black women out there poo-poo relaxed hair and think all black women with relaxed hair hate themselves/being black. I hate these bitch hair stylists and I’m sick of dealing with them. But I hate big booty, wavy, frizzy hair even more on me. Just being honest. My hair is too damn thick. It’s not like the little fine, barely-there hair many other black women have, thanks to all the damn white folks in my family (and I mean that sarcastically). I have tons of hair. I will look like a dark-haired clown with natural hair–actually, the more I think of it, the more I wish my hair would look that good natural–and I don’t have the time, patience or interest to figure out how to tame my hair, how to properly care for it or how to fit that big, booty shit in a scrunchy.
Well, this is going to be a great week, isn’t it? [This is the week, by the way, in which the male tech geek is off the entire week and I will be left alone with that female tech geek and some other lazy-ass nimrods. Just get ready for some great stories on this blog…I know they’re coming. Can ya tell I’m super pissed???]