Dont Mince Words


Going Natural at Big Daddy’s

Posted on December 16, 2018 by Marna

When I entered my fuck-it 50’s, I began to evaluate everything thing I did based on the time it took to do and if it was truly a benefit to me. If it didn’t get me a job, get me laid, or get me more sleep, it was on the review list. Coloring my hair has always been at the top of the list.

My mother supported my hair color curiosity at a young age. She had to since she’d been coloring her hair jet black since the middle ages. At the age of 13, she suggested I get my hair “frosted.” This was the ‘look’ in the 1970s. I sat in the chair as a hairdresser put a rubber cap on my head and pulled pieces of my hair through with a knitting needle device and then highlighted those hairs. 

I got my first gray hair(s) at 16 and began coloring regularly. In my lifetime, my hair has been nearly every color of the spectrum; however, during the last ten years, maintaining my auburn had been a chore. I colored my roots every 17 days. The more gray I got, the less the color would hold and I’d end up with lighter, “hot” roots and darker hair below. 

Last night I got the same result and said FUCK THIS. 

At brunch, I announced my decision. “Yeah, I think I’m going to a black barber shop in my neighborhood and shave this shit off. I’m tired.” After a pitcher of mimosas, I drove over to Big Daddy’s barbershop on 25th. If I was going to do this, only a bald black man could do it right. 

I tried to open the door that had a bullet hole in the glass, but the door was locked. One of the black guys waiting yelled. “Hey, Norm, there’s a white woman that wants in.”

Norm put his electric razor down, turned and cracked the door open. “You up for the challenge of shaving all this off?” I asked. He smiled, pointed to a chair and said “Sure. You wait there. You’ve got four in front of you.”

I’ve seen enough Spike Lee movies to know barbershops are a social hub for black communities. Big Daddy’s did not disappoint. There was a hyper active, talkative guy sitting there, taking swigs off a pint-sized liquor bottle. He wasn’t there for a cut, but merely to warm up. Everyone seemed to know him. They’d roll their eyes each time he’d make one of his tall-tale statements and exclaim, “yeah, right man.” I’d smile at them, shrug my shoulders and try not to giggle. In the corner near the bathroom, there was a very old gentleman in a camel-colored wool coat with a very old fur collar. He was also warming up, but nodding off. Two of the four waiting were a father-son duo. The son was curious about me. I told him I wanted to keep things easy and shave it off. “Cool. Cool.” About that time, one of the young gals from the beauty shop next door knocked to get in with her fried chicken platter. She knew all the men but liked talking back to the drinker and looking at me and rolling her eyes.

Probably the most interesting thing I noticed while the men got haircuts was there was no exchange of money. No tip. No cost of service mentioned. Maybe there was a hair club. Maybe this was a monthly social club. Norm was good. I was watching. He deserved tips. 

Nearly an hour later, I was in the chair. “What you want me to do,” Norm asked. “I guess a #2. Shave it all off except the orange fire roots,” I replied. I was informed that was probably a #3. He turned me away from the mirror and I watched piles and seemingly pounds of hair drop to the floor. The beauty shop girl gave me a nod and said it looked good. My head was dusted and I was flipped around and looked in the mirror. I felt free. I told Norm it was totally worth the wait.

“How much?” I asked. 

“Fifteen dollars,” Norm replied. 

I handed Norm $30.00 and went out to my car. Several of the guys who were leaning up against the building outside told me it looked good. 

A half hour later I met a girlfriend at a museum for a holiday tour. I walked in, took my knit cap off. Her eyes got big and she exclaimed, “Holy shit. You look like Annie Lennox!”

Sweet dreams are made of this. 

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  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

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