Dupe Oyebolu
by on November 11, 2016
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This is not the first time that I've worn my hair short for an extended period of time. One weekend when I was six years old, I decided that I wanted to cut my hair. But not in some usual, “maybe at some distant future moment” like some normal person might have thought. Nope. I had to cut my hair right away. I don't recall what the impetus was, but there's a good chance that it had something to do with my brother. Even though I would have never admitted it to him at the time I admired my brother very much and wanted to be like him. But I also took especial delight in harassing him as he did me, because what good are siblings for if not mutual annoyingness? Anyway so that weekend, I found a pair of scissors, held it up to my head and went snip snip. In my mind I had only cut a little bit, but I realized I was wrong when my mom came home and declared that I must go to the barber right away. And off to the barber I went. But the barber proceeded to cut my hair into this ridiculous military-like punk cut. I was not happy yo. And so I have always been vaguely afraid of the prospect of cutting my hair, because I think I will end up with the pink cut again. So far, since I took the plunge again last year (albeit for what we have established were sketchy reasons) I have been terrified of getting the punk cut again, but I have managed to avoid it for the most part. See pictures of some of my recent haircuts. But of course, I could not enjoy for too long.. Somebody just had to disrupt my flow yo. Two people actually. I was visiting my family for a while, and I wanted to try out a new hairstyle, so I went to this barbing salon that was close by. I had once gotten good service there, so I was optimistic. The guy who had cut my hair previously didn't work there anymore, my brother had warned me, but I was so sure that I would be alright. The foolish certainty that caused many people before me to walk into pits of fire. That’s what I had. Because when I walked in and saw the white face of the barber there, I did not hesitate even though I have been told many times that white people are usually not great at cutting black hair. But I quickly learnt my lesson mehn, because even though I could tell that my guy trying to cut my hair as carefully as possible, he still managed to cut it into a shape that was slightly off. And I was like, wawu. I look like slightly ridiculous. But I didn’t allow it bother me too much, because the hairstyle was such that I could get a new cut in a few weeks to level it out. So I was just biding my time till my visit with family ended, because I could just return to my usual barber and all would be well. Finally, the day came. I arrived home, and a few days later, I was off to my usual barber. Okay I feel like at this point I have to give some back story. At my usual barber, there are maybe 5 different barbers working. Each of them is fairly independent, so there’s no supervision from the oga or anything like that. Since I’ve been going there, I’ve had my hair cut by three people, the person who the salon is named after, a man that looks like he’s around the same age as him, and one Nigerian man. Now the Nigerian man was the person who cut my hair last in a way that made me feel, “wow, I kind of like my face.” So I was going in with this expectation, that I would come out liking my face anew. But I also went in with my old Nigerian conception of salons, where no matter who you go to within a particular salon, the hair styling standards tend to be fairly consistent out because there’s an oga that supervises everyone. So instead of saying to myself, this Nigerian man is the one that does my hair right and I must go to him again, I said to myself this salon is the one that does my hair right. And I carried my big face, saw our kind Nigerian friend, and got up and went to another person to cut my hair. I was like this is simple enough right, please level the hair out, make it round. Okay. He did that part. Then he was like I don’t think you should edge it out, but I was like, ahn ahn, I edged it out the last time now, and it looked good. The man is like no, you are a woman you shouldn’t edge your hair, which of course I took as an affront. So I insisted. But the man was still like, no no. This whole time, our Nigerian friend is watching the battle unfold, saying nothing. And I know that I can’t be like, “last time, this Nigerian man did this hair now and it worked!” So instead I keep quietly insisting that the hair looked fine the last time, and that it will look fine again. So he concedes. But nah so my guy draw straight line on top my head, yakata. He showed me when he was halfway done, when there was no more turning back, and I was like, oh crap. This looks bad. But I was like wait wait, maybe when I remove this robe that he has tied around my neck to keep hair from falling on my clothes, it won’t look too bad. God I wanted to believe that thing so bad. But nope. That did not happen. Instead, when I got up, I saw what I would look like if I had been a boy. It was not pretty yo. For like a full two weeks, I could tell when people saw me that they saw a boy, then their brows would furrow when they noticed a skirt, or earrings, then their faces would relax again when the saw more clearly— oh woman with boy’s haircut. Sheesh. And here I was thinking all this time that I didn't care about any dimensions of traditional femaleness. The hairline finally started to soften maybe like 3 weeks after the cut. But the thing about recent haircuts, when you think they have grown out, they suddenly reappear, when you run your hairbrush in a certain direction or your comb in another. So yeah, every so often I see my man face guys. It kind of sucks. But it’s also kind of comical. And I feel like this is just one of the particularities, not just of natural hair really, but of hairstyling in general. Epic hilarity and epic annoyingness, living happily together.
Post in: Hair Stories
Onyinye Olufunmi Nwangwu
Good. Really nice. Lol at the white man