Skip to main content

Now I Know I'll Need Therapy: My Hair Stylist Retired

After nineteen years of relaxing, dying, conditioning, cutting, setting, and blow drying my hair in addition to dispensing tons of good ol' Mother wit and blunt truths, my hair stylist has decided to retire. To leave behind what I imagine are now exorbitant rents in the now-yuppified but formerly ghettofabulous area that was Hayes Valley in San Francisco where she has had her shop. To finally get off her feet and kick up her heels. To be with family.

Now I know I'm going to need a therapist.

Although I'm ecstatic for her -- her retirement reminds me that not every black woman has prepared for or has the means to retire -- I'm saddened to lose someone to whom I entrusted my joys, fears, man issues, and family issues. To lose someone who bluntly and necessarily told me when I was being stupid -- with men, with my money, with my family. Given that my mother's ability to do so waned with the early onset of her Alzheimer's, this blunt truth and Mother wit that only a Sister with Sense can dispense was sorely needed by me. Sometimes when I would come in for a touch-up, she would notice that my hair was falling out. She would spin the chair around and ask me, "So what's really going on in your life that's making your hair fall out?"

Sometimes we all need someone to verbally "slap us upside da hed," as my sister says, regarding the state of our lives, otherwise we won't make a much-needed change. My hair stylist was that person.

If there's not a client/hair stylist privilege like the doctor/patient privilege or clergy/congregant privilege, there definitely should be. I'll be the first to argue for it.

The relationship black men have with their barbers is different than the relationship that black women have with their hair stylists. Black men discuss sports with their barbers; black women discuss black men with their hair stylists. As I explained to BMNB, my hair stylist has been in my life consistently for nineteen years, while he had been in my life inconsistently for more than twenty years. But for the fact that I married him, she would hold higher status in my life, just on loyalty alone. She knows more about my loser ex-boyfriends than my husband does. And I think it should stay just that way.

But when a sister retires, we should all rejoice. Black women tend to labor too long and too hard for too little. That one of us is freed from that labor is cause to rejoice, even if it means that we're going to be left behind and have to learn to be happy to be nappy.

Maybe I'll start wearing braids . . . .

Congratulations, Gigi Mathews, on a much deserved and well-earned retirement. I wish you joy, peace, and no more hair grease!

Comments

Anonymous said…
More power to Gigi - I am happy for her. I just found out today and i am going to have to join you in therapy. What are we going to do? Did Gigi leave a referral list?

Popular posts from this blog

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…

My Prayer and Mantra for 2017 -- Do Not Waste Time on People and Things That Don't Matter

In this era of fake news, fake political candidates, and fake people all around, my prayer and mantra for 2017 is simple:  Do not waste time on people and things that don't matter.

In 2016, I spent too much time and money on things and people who didn't matter.  I allowed myself to become distracted by stuff that, for me and Black Man Not Blogging, didn't really matter for our happiness.  These distractions not only didn't improve the quality of our life together; they decreased it with additional and unnecessary stress.

The good news is that, for the most part, we're okay.  Yeah, Trump and his ilk really suck, but instead of a lot of hand wringing and commiserating, I'm going to do the one thing my late mother She Who  Is Exalted (SWIE) did better than anyone I know:  Play the hand you've been dealt.  My mother was a black female without a college education and with six kids, so playing the hand she was dealt was her survival skill.  Now it will be mine.

S…