Americanized into a blonde babe
Fresh from the States, with a killer blonde hairdo – 100% Human Hair, mais bien sûr! – and armed with beauty products boasting brand names still unfamiliar in Motherland, I glowed. “You look radiant girl! Your hair, your skin, even the pimples are gone! You are so shiny, sjoe! America really suites you.” The complements poured in from both colleagues and acquaintances alike. I had just discovered the magical transformation power of a good foundation, and I totally loved being blonde, even if only for a fleeting moment.
Spring had sprung upon us and the overwhelming spirit of starting afresh could not be ignored. Glitzy as my hairdo was, my scalp wasn’t going to miss out on the freshness of spring. Early one Monday morning, I set out in search of a hairdresser at our local town. It was nearing month end and sure enough town was already busy with traders going about their businesses. Several hairdressers were basking in the sun and calling out to passersby to come over for a hairdo.
Offended by double pay
“This is real human hair neh?” my hairdresser observed, eyes widening in admiration. “Give it to me please sisi, if you won’t use it again.” She said the last bit reluctantly, her voice trailing off. I was seated on her chair, an empty beer crate, while she stood beside me, a pair of scissors in hand. I agreed and a wide smile spread across her face. She billed me a mere R10 but because I was satisfied with the time invested in taking off the weave, partly because she wanted the weave, and I was impressed by how gently she had handled my natural hair, I shoved R25 into her hands.
She opened her hands very slowly, as if afraid the money would evaporate into thin air and then looked at me, brows furrowed, “I said R10, this is too much!” Her tone was cold, even accusing, and I was shocked. A simple thank you would suffice, I thought. We stood there in awkward silence, staring at each other. She was clearly upset and I was speechless. The women basking in the sun nearby had suddenly gone quiet, watching us, eager for entertainment, eager for some drama. When I finally found my voice and urged her to accept it as a token for a job well done, she did, very reluctantly, her forehead still deeply creased. As I walked past the bored, now disappointed in no big drama basking ladies, I heard a giggle and then loud outbursts of laughter. I didn’t look back, but hurried away, my head reeling with so many unanswered questions.