Saturday, May 7, 2011

Belated Thursday Top Ten: Beauty Shop Shenanigans

You've heard me say on several occasions that I love getting my hair cut.  25% of that can be explained by my completely illogical belief that haircuts instantly shave five to ten pounds off of my body. I would give another 25% to simply liking how I look after having my hair professionally coiffed underscoring that old adage that says "when you look good you feel good." That leaves a whole 50% right?  Let me tell you--without question--that half of the reason why I love getting haircuts is simply being in the hair salon.


Since I have been on the topic of hair lately--black hair to be specific--I thought I'd devote this week's top ten to one of my favorite places:  The Beauty Shop.  While I am certain that many of the things that go down in predominantly African-american salons aren't terribly different than the things going on in other salons, the aforementioned is what I know, therefore is on what I can comment.

Oh, before I start.

Since we've been discussing a lot of cultural things lately, for those unfamiliar I will take this moment to explain a little bit  about black hair salon culture, which relates to black hair in general. First of all, I think most people know that such hair does not get washed or wet every single day.  And sure. I will go so far as to admit that I've had a teeny bit of envy at times for those women I knew in residency who used to show up with wet ringlets in the morning that would dry into springy curls by lunch time.  With the exception of naturally fine and curly hair (which some black people certainly do have) most don't have hair that is "wash and go." Which reminds me:  I once went to "SuperCuts" during my internship for a trim and nearly jumped out of the chair and tackled the woman when she started off by SPRAYING my hair with a bottle of water! I literally screamed,"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!"  I nearly scared her to death (but only because she nearly scared me to death first.)

Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah. Sistagirl hair salon culture.  So, here's the thing. A lot of black women go to the hair salon either once per week or once every other week depending upon how their hair is styled.  My stylist is probably the only person who has consistently seen me every one to two weeks for the last ten years without fail other than my husband.

with Sakinah, the best hair stylist evah!

Now, of course there are black women who have mastered their own hair such that these visits aren't necessary.  But I assure you that any sister you see wearing a short pixie is frequenting the salon on a regular basis. Oh yeah, and Beyonce has a weave. (Just thought I'd share that in case you thought that stick straight blond hair was growing from her scalp.)


So here's what happens: The beauty shop becomes a second home where everybody knows everybody. The conversation is rich and unfiltered. The laughter is hearty and genuine. And the gossip? Ridiculous. Everybody has an opinion about everything in there.  And me? Oh man, I just love it. Every second of it. The energy, the audacity, the everything.

And so. . . . without further ado. . . . I bring you the top ten conversations heard recently in the hair salon.

Note:  The people speaking could be some of anybody. Hair salon discussions are a free for all. Like Us Magazine on steroids. Usually these conversations involve at least two stylists, the women in their chairs, and whomever is in earshot, which could be anyone from the hair product delivery man to the shampoo girl.

Top Ten Things Heard in the Beauty Shop

#10 :  The Lo Down

Looking at People Magazine:

"J-Lo has some beautiful skin to be forty."

"Is she forty?"

"At least."

"Oh. Well, what you think about her being on the leg commercial?"

"She has knocked knees!"

"And her ankles are too skinny."

"I think her legs look good."

"I think she too damn old to be wearing them booty shorts."

"She's only forty!"

"Is she forty?"

"That's what it says here in People."

"Well, it needs to say that when you turn forty you need to stop wearing booty shorts."


#9 :  Keepin' it real.

"Hey everybody!"

"What are you having today?"

"Just a shampoo.  Whose chips are these? Can I have some?"

"Mine. You can have some--damn, girl!  Did you get a boob job?"

"Naw, girl!" (smacking on chips) "This is just a fancy bra with these water balloon push-ups."


#8  : A Royal Mess

"Who watched the Royal Wedding?"

"I saw it."

"Yeah, me too."

"Damn, y'all got up that early?"

"Naaah. TiVo."

"Kate looked real cute. She's a cute girl."

"She looked real cute."

"Yeah, but that Carmelo or Camilla or whoever the hell that chick is that married William's daddy looked a hot mess."

"Oh. She always looks a hot ass mess. She needs a makeover."

"Yeah. If I was Diana, I wouldn't've been worried 'bout her ass either."


#7 :  Is there a doctor in the house?

"Girl, somebody asked Bill Cosby what he thinks about Donald Trump and how he's been busting on Obama!"

"Awww damn! What did he say?"

"He said, 'I don't think nothing.'"


"Hey Kim. . . . what's up with Bill Cosby's eye?"


#6  :  Diet is "Die" with a "T."

"Hey y'all!"

"Hey girl!"

Sits down with a bag of food.

"Popeye's Chicken?  Girl, I thought you was on a diet!"

"I know. . . ." (laughing) ". . but Popeye was calling my name!"

"Well, I hope he calling you when you can't fit your clothes."


#5 : A Swift Kick

Looking at Us Magazine:

"What's all the hype over this Taylor Swift girl?  I don't get it."

"I like her music."

"But she does look kind of homely."

"You know she used to date that hot boy from the Vampire movies."

"Which one?"

"The one that everyone likes."

"Rob Pattinson?"

"Naawww. Not the one with the white powder on his face. The other one."


#4 :  Damn Yankees

"Is Derek Jeter black or white?"

"I think he's biracial."

"I thought he was Latino?"

"Naww. You thinking of Alex Rodriquez."

"Is that the same dude as A. Rod?"


"You know he got that Kate Hudson girl pregnant."

"No, that ain't his baby. She's with another dude now."

"Another dude? Damn."

"Yep. Some other dude. But nobody real famous or nothin'."

"How you know?"

(Holds up Life and Style magazine.)


#3 : Star Power

"Did y'all see NeNe cuss Star Jones out on The Celebrity Apprentice the other day?"

"NeNe is always cursing somebody out."

"Is Star Jones a celebrity?"

"Well, LaToya Jackson was on there, too."

"Oh. Then I guess she is a celebrity."


#2:  Unbe-weave-able

"Gayle needs an intervention."

"Gayle who? Talkin' about Oprah's Gayle?"

"Ugggh. Yes."

"I like Gayle. What's wrong with Gayle?"

"I like her, too. But what the hell is going on with her hair? If my best friend was a billionaire, dammit, I'd have a better weave than that."

"I think that's a wig she wears."

"Okay. Then I'd have a better wig."


#1 : A Gay Old Time

Looking at People Magazine

"Ricky Martin is GAY?!"

"Where the hell have you been? That's old news."

"He's on the cover of this new People. I just read it here."

"Where in the hell did you find that magazine?"

"That ain't news. The minute he La Vida Loco'd across that stage on the Grammy's that year I knew he wasn't straight."


"Those weren't a straight man's moves."

"Wow. Ricky Martin is GAY?"

"Hey,  what about Tyler Perry?"


"Did he come out yet?"

"Ricky Martin is GAY? I just can't believe Ricky Martin is GAY."

"Dammit! Would you stop pulling magazines out of the recycle bin?"

"Doogie Howser came out, too."

"Doogie Howser?!"

"Yeah, like a thousand years ago. And why does he have to be Doogie Howser? He's a grown ass man on a hit show!"

"What show is that?"

"Somethin' 'bout your mama. Uuuhhh, something like that."

"You mean 'How I Met Your Mother.'"

"That's what I said."

"Hey, what about Ryan Seacrest?"

"Ricky Martin is GAY?"


Happy Belated Thursday.

Back in the day: I'm sure there was trashtalking even then.

Come to think of it. . .at times, this is sort of like my experience. A lot like this. Ha ha ha . . .

 Hey. . . .What goes down in your hair salon or barber shop?


  1. You mean it's not just in the movies?! Haha, good thing I have you to fill me in on all of these black culture things, I honestly would be none the wiser otherwise, I guess it's just something that I'm not exposed to. I've never met any African Americans before, and I live in the biggest, most cosmopolitan city here.

    Thank you for these gold nuggets of knowledge. Those conversations were hilarious! :)

  2. Awww, Lucy! I love knowing that my friend in New Zealand is learning of African American culture through me! :)

    Those were the tame conversations! Thanks for continuing to read and for your comments. Oh, and for the record, you have certainly met an African American for sure: ME. :)

  3. The best thing I ever heard in a beauty shop was from the woman who was doing my hair once. I was getting a perm. It was the eighties. What can I say? Anyway, she was talking about getting divorced. She said she'd gone to an Alanon meeting and all these women were talking about how their husbands just drank, drank, drank, and how miserable they'd been for so long and she said, "I'm not going to be one of them," and she divorced her husband.
    She was very happy about it.

    But honestly, I love this post. It's perfect. Aren't women the best? Black women, white women...we crack me up.

  4. I see that you all marvelously let the TP question hang. MmHmm.

    I owe you a link from the FAB one that you gave me about the vision board, so I'll share my beauty shop visits with you!

    (Oh. And thanks for giving me all the info I need to stalk your hair stylist should I ever find myself in the ATL. :))

  5. Hi Lucy. I'll be African American number 2. Pleased to make your acquaintance. :)

  6. You hurt me with this one...

    Wait...Ricky Martin is Gay????? LOL!!!!!!

  7. Dr. Manning, this post (and especially the photo at the end) reminds me of a song by one of my favorite singers, Big Maybelle. This song is from the early 50s, so you can bet the trashtalking was going on back then!

  8. Can I go with you one time?? :) I can not imagine going to a hair salon once a week, how on earth do you have time?!

  9. On my way to the shop tonight with my daughter tonight.

    But for real, what is wrong with Bill Cosby's eye?

  10. I'm a little late, but I love this post... Probably because Hair Analysis is indeed my second home... and Desiree has become like family to me. She's been doing my hair every two weeks for nearly 15 years. I don't know of I ever told you this, but after T'Renee passed I didn't really cry. I chalked it up to all the crying I had done in the past year & that I had prepared myself for it. For some reason I had skipped my hair appointment, so I hadn't seen Dez since T'Renee passed. I guess it was like 3 weeks later... Everything was cool... Wash, condition, laughing at all the shop antics.... Blow dry... and when Dez stood behind me & started pressing my hair I closed my eyes & all I could see was T'Renee behind me... Dez's hands were her hands... and I lost it. LOST. IT. And poor Dez had no idea what was wrong! She just hugged me until I could get the words out. The other people in the shop pretty much stopped what they were doing to come over & console me while I cried the ugliest cry EVER!

    I say all that to say... I love my trips to the beauty shop every other week :-)



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