Gosh, it is that time of the year both me and my hair loathe- harmattan! Even when my hair was relaxed, it used to magically grow shorter during harmattan period, talk less of it being natural. I had a terrible experience because of harmattan last year, and I don’t think I am ready to go through it again.
I therefore decided to break my hair fast off extensions, and braid my hair this season. I just can’t battle with the whole extra moisture, extra deep conditioning, switch to baggy method regimen. Holiday season should be left to other things – like fuss about my current joblessness.
I checked out about three salons, one rejected braiding my hair because it was natural, the other had a stylist who squeezed her face when I loosed my scarf, and exposed my hair, and the last asked me if I was going to relax my hair first. I felt it would be better for me to do home service, even though it would cost me more, considering the fact that I was not working. But hey, peace of mind is not cheap.
So this woman, recommended by a fellow naturalista, came over to braid my hair. I gave her the usual not-too-tiny, not-too-tight lecture. We got along well, and I was very cool with her work, only for her to call two other colleagues of hers to join us, so she could finish faster, cos I opted for longer braids. By the time the ladies came, and descended on other parts of my hair, it was no more a laughing matter. To make it worse, one of them was braiding so tight, that my scalp almost peeled off my head. I told her to loosen it, and start again, clearly ignoring her grumbling.
Whenever I felt any part of my hair dry, I passed the spray bottle to one of them to spritz my hair. It was not long after that, that I heard the two colleagues gossiping about me, right in my presence. Clearly, they knew I wasn’t Yoruba, so they did not know I could pick out most of their words.
“This girl’s wahala is too much o.” one of them started.
My ears immediately pricked, and I wanted to tell them how dare they talk about me like that, despite the fact that I was paying for their services, but I felt it was better to feign ignorance, so I could hear more of what they had to say.
“All these customers sef, always giving us trouble. If I knew this was one of those kinds of customer, I wouldn’t have agreed to help you make this hair.” They addressed the lead stylist, who was the most sensible of them. She did not say anything.
“It is the ‘nachi’ (natural) ones that have wahala most. Their hair can cut people’s fingers. It is just like Yoruba sponge that we use to scrub disease of our body.”
At this point, I had to do all I can not to react, and they were pulling my head in different directions, making the whole process mentally and physically exhausting.
They continued their distasteful comments for a few more minutes, after which the lead stylist told them “it is enough.” I guess she must have gotten tired of their gossip and whining.
About 6 hours later, and a head full of beautiful braids, I paid the lead stylist, looked her in the eye, and told her I understood most of what her colleagues were saying about my wahala and my hair. She looked so embarrassed, and started begging me not to be angry, that it won’t happen next time.
I told her point blank, that there would be no next time. It had taken me all courage to put the extensions in my hair in the first place. I’m sure I won’t be rushing off to do it again after this experience.
All these Nigerian braiders sha, no ounce of etiquette.
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