I looked in the mirror at the finished product and tried to remain optimistic. I’d watched enough natural hair videos on Youtube to salvage this, I thought. There was a battle raging inside me. One side was screaming, “I look like a fucking 10-year-old!” The other side was saying in a calm, soothing voice, “Don’t panic. You will find a way to make this work.”
I made a little face in the mirror as Mr. Pretentious fluffed my hair. “I kinda feel like I look like a 10-year-old,” I said.
“Yeah, the twists in the front are a little juvenile,” he said. “You have two different styles going on. I wish you had gotten one or the other.”
“Well, when I was describing the type of style I wanted, I would expect a stylist to have a look in mind before they do my hair...”
“... and work it,” he said.
“Exactly.” Then, there was silence.
I couldn’t tell Mr. Pretentious I wanted a new style. It had been an extremely long trip and I didn’t have it in me to argue with this stranger. I also didn’t trust his skills as a stylist. Even if he had done it over, what if whatever he did came out jacked up? I didn’t have the patience to risk it. I paid him and left. The coils themselves were neatly done, they just weren’t stylishly done.
When my dad first saw me, he didn’t say a word. He knew I hated my hair and was treading lightly. He’s not too keen on the natural hair thing, anyway, so I’m sure he thought this was what I get for refusing to press my hair.
My mood and confidence were both in the dumps. We got in the car and started to drive to the mall. I needed to buy a dress for my grandfather’s funeral. Clearly, when I packed for the trip, I hadn’t known I’d need to bring funeral attire. The mix of disappointment in my hairstyle and the stress of the week was too much. I sat in the passenger seat and cried. I felt silly and shamed for crying but the tears wouldn’t stop.
“I don’t know what you’re crying for,” my dad said. “Why’d you pay him if you didn’t like it?”
I was beyond annoyed. Why couldn’t he at least be quiet until I had gotten it out of my system? He tried talking about something else. My replies were curt and bitter.
“Don’t be mad at me! I didn’t do it!” he shouted.
All the while I had been texting my cousin, Jackie, to meet us at the mall. She’d know what to do. She was always good with hair and would be able to tell me how to fix it.
Once we got to Lenox Square mall, I quickly found a stylish black dress on sale at Bloomingdale’s. Jackie met us in the store and I wanted to immediately talk about how to fix my ‘do but it wasn’t the right time. I did, however, get her to agree to help me fix the mess before the wedding.
As we left Bloomingdale’s, I remembered, “Damnit. I don’t have any shoes to wear with this dress.” I had only brought sandals, club shoes and the shoes for the wedding. The wedding shoes were black and low enough for my funeral dress but they were satin. There was no way I could wear them in a muddy cemetery.
Once again, good fortune was on my side. I found some adorable black leather pumps with a cute bow in the front in Nine West. AND they were on sale! My shopping was done in record time.
The weight started ascend from my chest, as time went on. I still felt like people were staring at my head but I knew it was all in my mind. I turned my confidence up a notch and kept it moving.
With our shopping done, my dad and I headed out to the bride-to-be’s house way out in Fairburn, GA. When we walked in, my goddad fixed my dad a bowl of hog maws and my godmom sat at the dining room table, decorating a box for the wedding guests to put cards in.
After about a half hour, my godsister emerged from upstairs. “Sarah, why aren’t you dressed? Put some heels on. Let’s go!”
“Oh shit,” I thought. “I forgot about her bacherlorette party!”