Monday, August 1, 2011

Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder

You walk into Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder Salon down the Road with high hopes and aspirations of a harvest of compliments all week long. It is Saturday and your upkeep day. After walking a few kilometres, you happen on to the salon because it is the only one that has a generator. A group of girls mill around the front. They are all busy. But you know salons always have space to take one more. You appraise quickly and see Madam in a corner. You know her because she is different. Her hair is well done and she is smiling. You smile back, hoping she has time for you. But someone shows up from behind before you have a chance to speak. The first thing you notice is her bad hair.
"Madam, wetin you wan do?"
 You look at her with a side eye. Your heart is slamming against the sides of your ribs.
"Ah, she fit do hair, the Madam calls. She will handle you well well".
You do not believe that but you submit your hair and the prospects of your admiring week long glances to the mercy of this ghetto queen. You follow meekly as a sheep led to slaughter to the wash basin.
From the start, you find out this is going to be a tough ride. Once your head has been plonked down into the basin, you know there will be trouble. 
W-H-A-M, W-H-A-M comes the ice cold water and trickles down the side of your Mac powder.  
"What is this", you scream.
"Sorry madam", she whispers, wiping your face and glancing furtively at her real madam.
And she proceeds to wash. The stimuli of the sharp acrylic nails scraping at your scalp bypass your brain and send a direct message to your neurones. You bite your tongue and squeeze your eyes tight to stifle your rage. And after another W-H-A-M, W-H-A-M, water trickling down face and a hasty sorry madam, the bath err.. wash is over and your hair is wrapped up in a towel, turban style.
Now to locate a seat. You want one that is in full sight of Madam. You figure if she keeps an eye, not much can go wrong. You get one. Madam smiles. Your reply is weak.  Your stylist asks for your style. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. A two hour internet browsing session has prepared you. You tell her what you want.  Layered look, tapered at the temples, volume at the back, side bang swept off the face. Taraji. P. Henson. You tell yourself that if she doesn’t understand, that surely she will say so. And so, when she proceeds to start without another word, you relax.
She hands you a magazine. Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder salon does not stock Vogue, Glamour or Essence. A frayed three year edition of City People will do. You glance at the headlines. Turai Yaradua’s assets are worth twenty million? Snort.
Occasionally, you look up to see how things are going but your hair doesn’t seem to be taking any recognizable shape or form. What was it you said again... layered look? Do you keep quiet so that nobody will say you are a noise maker or do you say your mind? You decide to say your mind.  She is ready for you. She has seen your kind before. Mind sayers.
With a smile, she tells you to be calm. It’s all working together for your good. You think that has to be a Scripture, but well...
Madam glances  your way every now and when you try to catch her eye and give a pleading look they move on before any information can be passed.
At last, you see that all the weave is gone and there is no space on your head.
You look up to behold yourself in the mirror and ... and ... you feel the tears at the back of your throat.
For three hours lost. For human hair already shredded. For 2, 500 you know you must pay. For, for... Because not that it is particularly ugly. You see, you are pretty and you cannot possibly look so bad. But.... But... There is that but... and only you understands.
There are no layers, nothing tapers, nothing bangs to the side. And then, it hits you. Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder.
The cries of ‘Madam, your hair is fine’ fills the air.


  1. not so nice experience! What you should do is vex, but it wont bring back the time, you have spent, or take away the sudden headache that develops...I feel you jare!

  2. lol. you got this so right. sometimes you wish you can avoid going to such salons but when you think of the traffic you may have to endure to get to 'correct' salon, you just give in.

    The last line is so on It reminds me of a hair I did once. Funny enough, the salon wasn't a 'beauty in the eyes of beholder' salon. The main guy who was like hot cake was the one that did my hair and I paid like 3k or so. When he was finished, the look on my sister's face alone made me know the hair was 'not it' at all but meanwhile every other person said the hair was fine. I wasn't even feeling the hair myself and was so happy it was dark already when I left so I wouldn't meet any one that knew me on the way.Immediately i got home, i removed the hair which had a lot of bonding glue used. So in my case you can imagine: time wasted, money wasted, the pain of removing bonded glue, the emotional pain, etc.

    nice write up

  3. really funny! it's as though they have this rule, whether or not the hair is fine, for everyone chorus the "your hair is fine" statement. it's so frustrating cos it's the direct opposite of what you want. more annoying is that you try to talk while they're doing it and you're branded the customer who complains. ...and they feel justified and annoyed that you're complaining. the Lord deliver us from the hands of such o! amen

  4. Lol and I think they just compensate them a lot for that "madam, your hair is fine" part. You are not quite sure that it is, but 5 people cannot be all wrong. And before you know it, you realize the other clients have joined in the chorus too. I totally understand that experience

  5. ...and yes it is a rule to tell the customer that the hair is fine even when it is not. And sometimes these girls will even sulk when you dont tip them.

  6. This is soooo reaaalll. I thought I was the only one that used to go through this, back then when I used to make my hair.

  7. Honestly, I'll ask them to remove it, lol...

  8. I hate being a mind sayer. I hate it. HATE IT!

  9. LOL
    The day I knew I was a 'grown woman who would not be taking nonsense anymore' was the day I made a hairdresser take out over 20+ braids.
    Because I kept on telling her they were too big ...and she ignored me!

  10. @N.I.L... I need to chop that liver and become a 'grown ' woman... :D

    I hope you tipped her heavily after cos if not she would have gossipped about you seriously oh

  11. @Igbogirlguide... Me too... I hate it!

    @Myne.... you and Naija mum have liver oh... chai.. :)

  12. @MsJB, But that is exactly the point, the hair can be okay but when it is just not what you want.. it can be so madenning..


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