Tag Archives: beauty

Sick of Black Hair Stylists, Pt. 2

Part 1 has gotten to be a fairly popular post to which many black women are letting me know they can relate. So, I’m temporarily coming out of retirement to do a Part 2. I just had to let other black women know about my most recent experience at the hair salon. Black women, if you know hair stylists, please share this with them because this true story has everything I hate about going to the salon and dealing with black hair stylists. These women need to learn about themselves and change their ways!

So, I commented on Part 1 that I needed a touch-up on my relaxer so bad but had not been to the salon in a long time because I just didn’t want to go. Part of the reason for that is because, at the end of last year, my regular salon closed down. This was the best salon I’d found in the area since I moved back in 2011. It wasn’t perfect, but, like I said, it was the best I’d found around here. I did not have a regular stylist there because they had a lot of turnover. But almost everyone who did my hair there was very tolerable. Still, not having a regular stylist left me with no one to go to when the salon closed down, and stylists around here have a habit of either going to shops that are too far away or…well, going to shops, which I’m done with because they’re not professional. I only go to professional businesses, even though they cost more.

So, there I was, back having to go through finding somewhere decent to go and dealing with someone new. Not looking forward to it! So, I kept putting it off.

It came down to two choices–Macy’s hair salon, which is in the same shopping center as the Regis hair salon that closed down, and a Regis that is in another shopping center that is not close to where I live. I tried to go for the Macy’s salon, but every time I called I was sent to voice mail. I was very close to making an appointment with the far-away Regis, but my mother suggested we just go on over to Macy’s and make an appointment in person. I didn’t like this, because if I needed to cancel what would I do? To me, the hassle to make an appointment in the first place was bad sign #1. Unfortunately, I listened to my mother, and I made an appointment in person and made sure to get the stylist’s cell phone number in case I needed to contact her.

So, my appointment was Friday. Now, I like to be the very first appointment at salons because I know the later you come in the longer you’ll be there, because you’ll most likely have to wait. Against my better judgment and because I don’t have a lot of time to be picky about appointments since I work overnight most nights, I went ahead and took the 2nd slot for Friday morning. Naturally, I get there on time and the stylist’s 1st appointment had just shown up. So, I knew I was about to waste several hours on my day off at the damn salon.

Surprisingly, 20-25 mins later, I get in the chair. Now, I had gotten accustomed to the way the women at Regis typically conducted their business, which I think is full of really good practices–plus, I’ve had several hair stylists who would treat new clients the way women at Regis treated me. One of these good practices was asking the client questions before pulling out relaxers and just getting started. I could see this bitch already had a relaxer out and was not about to ask me anything, and I really did not want my scalp sizzling. So, I spoke up and told her I have a sensitive scalp and that stylists usually use Mizani sensitive scalp on my hair. She told me she was using Affirm sensitive scalp. Now, I had someone at Regis tell me one time that they were out of Mizani and she was using Affirm, and that shit burned. Then another time I had someone tell me she was using Affirm, and it didn’t burn. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t want to argue.

It started out fine, but she is one of those stylists who wants to leave you sitting in the chair for 15 minutes with relaxer in your scalp. Eventually, that got to my scalp, and it was burning. She comes back and starts breaking it down, and she asks me if I’ve “been saved.” Oh, boy. I knew what was coming, but I had no idea how bad it was going to get! This bitch started going on…and on…and on…about God, started bragging about her husband and how much they have, talking about opening a new church. She would not…shut…up! I seriously could not find a way to let this bitch know my scalp was on fire because she was too busy telling me why I should believe in God! And she kept stopping what she was doing with my hair, walking in front of me and doing hand gestures with all of her obsessive lecturing, while I’m sitting there with my scalp burning and my Friday morning and part of my Friday afternoon being wasted with her bullschitting. She never once asked if my scalp was burning, which is something most stylists do several times while they are relaxing your hair.

And when she wasn’t talking about God, she was talking about how good she knows she is with doing hair, how professional she is, etc. Meanwhile, I can’t get a word in edgewise, she’s gotten base all over my face, ears and neck (so much that most of it was still on me when I finally got home–too bad it didn’t help at all), and she is flinging relaxer on my face. Then she takes me over to the bowl to wash all of the relaxer out, and she is still going on and on about God and her husband the pastor, preacher or whatever the hell he is, while she is washing out my hair (and my clothes, with all the water she got down the back of my shirt)! She was also making comments about remembering my being “cute” and “quiet” from another salon, which I quit going to because it was horrible.

Um, okay–newsflash: quiet people can’t stand being told they’re quiet, and my experience with straight black women telling another black woman she is “cute” to her face is that is code for “I can’t stand your @ss!” and/or “You think you’re better than everyone else,” especially if you’re quiet and especially if you’re light-skinned (which I am). It’s really not a compliment, and, even if it was/is, I don’t believe it/feel that way and don’t want to hear it. Just do my hair and, except for asking professional questions, be quiet.

Eventually, we get to the point where stylists start asking about how to style your hair and cutting your ends and all of that, and she turns into one of those pushy types. Now, you have to understand that I’m not like other black women–I don’t care anything about hair styles. I go to the salon strictly to get touch-ups. This bitch starts pressuring me about cutting my hair into a style, gives two options and then was basically like, “Which one do you want?” Um, bitch, I don’t want either–I want you to do what I told you to do! I didn’t want her cutting my hair at all, even to clip the ends, and she was like, “Your hair is uneven here and here” and this and that and “I can’t let you leave here like this.” Um, I don’t care–like I said, I go to the salon for a relaxer, nothing else. I don’t care what my ends look like–I don’t want black hair stylists clipping my ends because 99% of the time they cut…too…much! I can’t keep long hair for schitt anymore because of these bitches!

Finally, this bitch takes a piece of my hair on one side, the side she was saying had uneven hairs, and said she was only going to cut that one piece and nothing else. She literally took the other side of my hair and said she wasn’t going to mess with it. So, I agreed. Long story short, this bitch ended up cutting my hair all over. Cut, not clipped. She kept taking pieces of my hair and snipping, and when you do that over and over and over again you’re not clipping or trimming a person’s hair–you’re cutting it, bitches!

And it goes without saying that I didn’t like my hair after it was done, let’s just save reading time by putting it like that. Plus, she used one of those really, really hot flat irons and was burning my scalp with it left and right (while running her mouth, of course)–she even burned my face, which now has a black mark on the right side!

Basically, it is Monday now, and Monday afternoon I washed my hair after spending $60+ to get it done on Friday. My hair smelled so bad, like burnt hair, that I was embarrassed to go to work last night. My hair normally smells bad after going to the salon, but this was just the absolute worst! And I don’t know if my scalp has ever burned as long as it has after this touch-up. I put oil, apple cider vinegar, etc, on it before and after I got sores, and still! It’s even still stinging in spots after washing it with cold water! The sores are healing, but the healing is making my scalp itch.

I would complain to a manager at Macy’s salon, except no one ever answers the phone and I have never seen a manager there. The phone rang several times while I was there Friday. The hair stylists simply ignore it. Between the type of service I received and the lack of business they’re getting by ignoring the phones, I am fairly certain that this salon will also be closing down in the future.

I am seriously starting to want to learn how to relax my own hair. I am running out of salons to attend in my area, and I am sick of these experiences with these bitch-@ss hair stylists. People have their point of view about black women and relaxers, but I seriously don’t care anything about hair beyond manageability. Because of this, I don’t want to relax my hair myself, and I don’t want whatever unknown issues come with having natural hair. It’s really that simple–it has nothing to do with wanting to be like white women or self-hatred. I’m just lazy as hell when it comes to hair. I would much rather hand someone money to have her spend a couple of hours doing schitt I don’t want to do for my hair, especially if it will make doing my own hair easier for a month or two, but it’s so hard to find someone who is not going to take you through a bunch of bullschitt and who is not going to hop from place to place and expect you to follow.

So, come time for my next touch-up, there I’ll be again–looking for some other place and some halfway decent black hair stylist to do my relaxer. [Sigh…]

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Samantha Brick Has a Point

For those who don’t know or who forgot, Samantha Brick is the chick who’s too sexy for France, the UK, the American media and…well, female friends. Maybe instead of writing this article that seemed to piss everyone off, she should have just put out a Right Said Fred remix? She would probably be more liked than she is right now, plus would have more money.

Although some of her stories to support her belief that women don’t like beautiful women seem a little crazy, her basic belief is not that crazy. I would not necessarily frame it as “women don’t like beautiful women,” though. And it’s far from all women. But there are many women out there who have issues with attractive women–enough for me to not really have a problem with what Brick has to say. I can’t say anything about the truth of her experiences, given that I don’t know her and don’t know what people in Europe are like. I don’t really have an opinion about her supporting arguments, but I can look at my personal experiences and observations.

Warning: This post has the potential to offend some people. If you are easily offended or have issues with candid racial discussions or homosexuality, please exit now.

Okay…You have been warned. 😉

Before I get more into why I kind of agree with Brick, I would like to point out two big things that jump out to me about the discussion surrounding what Brick had to say.

1) A lot of people have looked at Brick and said something like, “She’s not even that good-looking.” Well…I’m hearing this from a lot of Americans. But Brick lives in France, I think, and she’s from the UK, I believe. What some Americans do and don’t find attractive is not necessarily going to be the same standard in other nations. In fact, Americans don’t even all have the same standard for Americans. My observation is that what is attractive depends quite a bit on the race, sex, sexual orientation, primary environment and age of the person judging, and we also tend to go through general “fads” in the US in terms of what is attractive.

One of the only things that I’ve seen come close to being universally attractive or attractive throughout time is being a blonde as a female. Brick does have blonde hair. I don’t know about Europe, but–to me–in the US at this particular time, what’s in for women is being blonde (as always), Asian or Latina, perhaps in that order. And what that means is if you fit the fad, you don’t have to be attractive to get the attention of men–you just have to have some characteristic that is “in,” i.e. blonde hair, or being Asian or Latina. In fact, if it isn’t in the article I linked to above, I believe it’s in another article where Brick says that she didn’t start getting all of this attention from men until she started coloring her hair blonde.

Now, with the exception of Latin ancestry, these fads are not the same for women-to-men attraction. As best as I can tell as a lesbian, the men who are in are rich, powerful, good-looking and/or muscular white men (as always), black men and Latinos–but not Asians–and probably in that order. These are the guys who can be attractive even if they’re not actually physically attractive, at least at this point in time in the US.

The other thing that I believe has been overlooked when assessing Brick’s attractiveness is her age. In other words, I think one of the reasons a lot of people say she’s nothing special is because it’s obvious she’s not in her 20s. While there’s a growing sect in the US that especially appreciates women in their early 40s, there is still probably a larger sect that has a hard time finding a woman in her 40s especially attractive. Brick ends her article by indirectly acknowledging this sentiment, i.e. saying how she looks forward to age taking her beauty.

2) Brick is the victim of something more than just being “too beautiful”–she is also a victim of the conflicting messages we receive from society regarding how to feel about ourselves and how to speak about ourselves. The majority of women probably have issues with how they look. A lot of women don’t think of themselves as beautiful. We’re told that we shouldn’t feel this way, though. We’re told that we should realize that we’re beautiful and celebrate ourselves. There are campaigns from companies like Dove and even Fruit of the Loom relating to this issue with women. But, apparently, we’re only allowed to feel that we’re beautiful–we’re not allowed to say we are.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It’s double talk. It is and it isn’t okay for us to believe in our own beauty. It is and it isn’t okay to be humble or even less than humble about our beauty. Well, what’s right?

I know I definitely pause whenever I hear a woman talk about her own attractiveness. Usually, it’s either because I don’t think she’s as good-looking as she thinks she is, I wonder how she got to know/feel that she’s attractive–especially to the point of saying it out loud–and/or because I would never say what she just said. My point is I don’t think I’m the only one who feels a little weird when a woman acknowledges her beauty, and the reaction to Brick kind of supports that.

My Experiences

Now, I don’t think I’m attractive. I never have. I don’t feel bad about it, and I don’t think it’s important that I feel attractive. When I was a teenager and then in college, I took pride in being very intelligent, being talented and being funny. Since I’ve realized that my intelligence and my talent are worthless to most people, I am basically down to feeling pride about being funny and–whenever I am good at my job–being good at what I do. I am far more concerned with whether or not I’m good at work than whether or not I’m attractive.

Except for announcing “I’m beautiful,” I definitely relate to a lot of what Brick believes about her life. The difference is the types of things she says happen to her and the similar-but-different types of things that have happened to me…well, I don’t really know or understand why they happen to me. She is sure they are due to her looks. I do know, though, that my relationship with women has almost always been adversarial or alienating in some way or another–particularly black women–and I do know that I do not have these issues at all with men. Men do nice things for me, start conversations with me, stare at me (to the point where it’s awkward/annoying) and some ask me out. And this is pretty much all [types of] men, with the exception of asking me out (which is pretty much just black men). Women rarely speak to me, let alone do nice things for me, unless they are significantly older than I am (Brick says she has a lot of problems with older women, though). But this is a big step up from how women used to treat me when I was in school, including law school.

All of this is just great for a lesbian, by the way, y’all. Sarcasm.

Well, I can’t be sure if there is a connection here, but…although I am a black female and, thus, not “in” with men (or with women), I–much like Brick–do have some characteristics on my side that I do recognize as being attractive to some people even if I’m not actually physically attractive myself. I have long/so-called “good” hair and light skin. This works with black men, particularly older black men who grew up in that timeframe when black women were really their only socially acceptable dating option and these crazy things were what they used to determine the beauty of a black woman. Very frankly, when men hit on me, I assume that’s why they’re attracted to me (which, if I weren’t already a lesbian, would be an instant turnoff). Obviously, I have no idea if that’s true. But I do get hit on more by older black men than I do by anyone else, with Africans being a distant second–yet another group that cares about skin color.

I don’t know what this means for my relationship with women, or even my relationship with non-black guys with whom I develop more social relationships than all groups of women and always have. But I do know that I sometimes indirectly get the idea from black women–just from general discussions, not ones directed at or including me–that I am the bad guy or women like me are the bad guy, or “society” is the bad guy, because of my lighter skin color, my hair–especially the fact that I don’t wear my hair natural–and because I don’t immediately run to black people to show that my hair/skin color don’t make me feel that I’m better than them or don’t want to be white. And let me not forget that I’m also a bad guy for all this special treatment that I get because of my hair/skin color–special treatment that I’m not sure is that significant or helpful. If I were going to have a theory about my relationship with black women, this would be one. My theory about other women is they don’t talk to me because I’m black and they’re not, which they’d frame in smokescreen ways such as “we wouldn’t have anything in common.” But this doesn’t explain why some non-black guys are friendly with me.

I also have to point out that, although I think a lot of people have a different sense, the majority of lesbians don’t view women the way men do. I think many of us react to women much the same way as heterosexual women do because we’re socialized to do so most of our lives. In other words, a lot of us also have the same issues with women as heterosexual women do. When I hear about the same women in Hollywood all the time, like Kim Kardashian, I’m not responding with “XYZ is so hot”–I’m saying that XYZ gets on my nerves! She doesn’t get on my nerves because she’s “too beautiful.” She gets on my nerves because she’s shoved down my throat and because I’m sick of the Hollywood standard of beauty in the US. “She” is not just Kim–it’s pretty much all those Hollywood women who are shoved down everyone’s throats.

I don’t hate beautiful women, but I treat beautiful women the way most women treat me. In other words, I’m not mean to them, but I am less likely to interact with them at all than with other women and with men. This is especially true for beautiful non-black women. I have a really good white female friend, and we have talked about this a few times before. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, she’s thin and she cannot get men to leave her alone. I admitted to her that she and I would probably not be friends if we had met in person (we met on the internet). It was not that she was beautiful, which was not and would not have been my first thought about her upon first seeing her picture or if I saw her in person. It was the assumptions I would have made about her based on how she looks, including the fact that she’s white, the fact that she’s stereotypically attractive (even though she doesn’t think she is) and the fact that I’m tired of white women being valued more than other women–especially ones that look more like her. What would she know about 80s rap music (which she does know about)? What would she know about racial consciousness (which she does know about)?

Yes, I am saying that I treat women the way I believe women treat me. But I’m also saying this treatment is usually not based just on a woman’s beauty alone–it’s assumptions and characteristics, or at least that’s my theory.

Ironically, I think attractive women have the most negative assumptions made about them, especially by other women. And assumptions can be a problem even after knowing someone and allegedly being their friend, i.e. how Brick describes women with whom she previously had a friendly relationship becoming cold because the woman assumes her husband is interested in Brick and Brick would engage that interest. However, I have gotten to know some beautiful women and, upon getting to know them, I liked them more. And that was because I could overcome the idea of them that I had in my head by seeing that they were better people than that. Who knows? Maybe Brick’s problem is that she doesn’t overcome the negative assumptions women make about her, and maybe that’s on her. Or maybe these women she knows are that narrowminded. I know I don’t overcome negative assumptions women might hold because I never make any social effort with women, but I can’t say anything about Brick.

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