Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hair cuts CAN hurt...

Awhile back, I wrote about Hana’s big hair cut this summer.   She is still enjoying her short curls and, although our battles haven’t entirely disappeared, overall things are much smoother in the hair department (no pun intended).

However, I wanted to share my story of Hana’s haircut.  It wasn't quite so happy...

Since Hana came home we have used the same salon for her trims.  Most of the stylists are black, as is most of the clientele. It was important to me to have her hair taken care of by someone with experience with hair like hers.  Our preferred stylist was actually a white mother of black children. She has always been great with Hana – gentle, no pulling, and patient. Unfortunately, when I called to book an appointment with her, I found that she no longer worked for this salon. :( This made me a little nervous, but having no way to contact her, I pressed forth with the salon, asking for another stylist who liked working with children.  Of course the woman who answered the phone insisted she did (although I had my doubts, I did not argue).  I told this stylist what we had planned – that Hana wanted her hair cut very short.  I also said I would wash and condition her hair before bringing her in.  

I should have listened to my gut.  Upon arriving, I just knew it would not go well.  The stylist eyed me up suspiciously.  She asked if we were there for a trim.  No, I reminded her, Hana wanted it cut short, a pixie cut. She simply stared at me and then began arguing how I just couldn’t do that.  I told her that was what Hana wanted.  Then she ignored me and turned to Hana, asking her how old she was and did she understand what we were talking about?  Hana was nervous but did make it clear that she wanted her hair cut.

Then the stylist (I use that word loosely now) began hacking at Hana’s hair without another word.  I thought she would put it into a pony tail and cut that, but she just began taking large hunks off, very quickly.  My eyes actually teared up.  I think it was a combination of this woman’s attitude and actually seeing her beautiful hair fall to the floor.  I knew there was no going back and I was nervous.  I wanted to step in and say something, but I did not want to make Hana nervous.

And she just kept hacking, shorter and shorter.   She never stopped to clarify what length we wanted (or anything else).  She just chopped it, got it wet and put some gel on it.  She was extremely rude to me and barely polite to Hana. The stylist next to us had been very doubtful about the cut at the beginning, but at least made an effort to smile at Hana, telling her how cute she was with her short hair.  I was thankful Hana could focus on this nice woman.

Finally, it was over.  There were so many words on the tip of my tongue, and so many thoughts racing through my head.  I was so hurt – for Hana, for me.  I was angry. I couldn’t believe we had been treated so rudely, all because I – some white lady – was allowing my 8 year old to cut her hair. I wanted to scream at her, “I’m not lazy. I know how to braid, how to care for it. I know what to do. I would do it!  This is what she wants!”    

But, for once, I kept my mouth shut.  

I looked at her face.  Hana hadn’t noticed this woman’s sour attitude at all. She was excited. She felt beautiful! She was beautiful.

I refused to take that feeling away from her. I paid the woman and left.  For days I debated about going back to the salon, or calling her and telling her what I thought of her terrible work and attitude (seriously, it was awful – I had to trim Hana’s hair myself at home because some parts were so uneven).  In the end, I did neither.  I am not sure if I was afraid or just needed to let go.  Unfortunately, there is a not-so-small part of me that regrets not telling her off.

So, anyone know a good stylist? We’re in the market. 


  1. That was sadistic on her part! I would go back, when I was cooled down, and let her know that her behavior was mean and unacceptable. A poor cut is hard no matter what, but to chop African hair - poor child! I'm glad she was unaware of this woman's negative energy.

  2. Ugh, what a tough situation. I am totally an in-your-face complainer when I think I'm being mistreated, but with Nick I have to be careful. I want to model for him appropriate behavior. I wish you had listened to your mama instincts and left, but Hana wanted her hair cut so I'm sure you felt more than a little torn. I hope I would have handled it in the moment as well as you did, but I probably would have called later to tel her off. :P I think she should know that she hurt you, a long-time customer, and that you won't be returning because of her treatment of you and your daughter.