Last week, I chatted with a former student. The last time I saw this student in the spring, she had long curls. This time, they were cut short. I said, “You cut your hair!” She and I talked about curly hair care and the complexity of finding a trusted hairdresser. I shared a story with her about the first hairdresser I ever trusted.
When I was in ninth grade, I would get my hair cut at the Galleria in White Plains, New York. I would go to the same salon on the third floor and never really thought twice about whose chair I sat in. Then one day, they told me that it was an hour-long wait, so I decided to go to the other salon on the second floor. When I sat down, the woman asked me, “Is your hair curly when it’s wet?” I didn’t really understand the question in that my hair was less curly when it was wet, and I assumed that this was “straight.” So I told her yes. She washed my hair and cut it.
After she was done, she informed me that my hair was curly when it was wet and, as it began to dry, the curls tightened and her cut became haphazard and clunky. It was horrific. I still said “Thank you,” and paid in respectful manner, then immediately ran back up to the third floor salon in tears. I was placed in the hands of Beverly, a drag queen,* and she fixed my hair. I don’t know what she did, but she fixed it. From that point on, I always went back to Beverly, even after I went to college in Boston, because I didn’t trust anyone else with my curls.