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5ksandcabernets: Revisiting my nappy head


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Revisiting my nappy head

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the challenges of a black man needing a consistent hair cut living in a mostly white neighborhood. I wrote that either I could take my chances at a place like SuperCuts, where they employ men and women who are not barbers.
Or I could drive 20 to 30 minutes or more to the black neighborhood and wait another 30 minutes or more to get a really good haircut.
Gandaman and I had a real nice virtual discussion about this topic.
And by some of the hits I got on this page from search engines, I can tell it was a subject on the minds of many "hairstylists" across the country.
A sampling of what people googled..

Cut black man hair, from Oregon
how to use clippers to cut a black mans hair, from North Carolina
how to barber black people hair? from Ontario, Canada
how to cut a black man's hair with clippers from San Francisco

Ok, you get the picture. Hairstylists around the country, presumably non-black ones, are getting more and more black men walking into their salons. And they _ the hairstylists _ want to do a good job. (Looks like the "hair schools" across the country should do a better job of teaching folks how to cut black men's hair to begin with.)

Anyway, next to the place I buy my wine (Put a Cork In It), I noticed that there was a place that did hair, Park Hill Hair Designs. The sign in the window said they had a barber on duty. A white barber, probably, but a barber nonetheless.
So I figured, what the heck.
I walked in. Saw another black waiting and figured that the barber on duty must be okay.
Turns out, the black guy, Roy, just wanted all his hair cut off. Heck, anybody, barber or not, could do that.
Finally, it was my time. The barber, a guy who looked to be in his mid to late 50s, introduced himself as Steve. Then he asked me what I wanted, but before I could get the answer out he said, "Now, I'm just warning you. I can't do fade-ups and I've only cut two blacks in the past year."
By then, I was already in the seat and figured, "if he screws up, I'll just patch it up myself at home."
Besides, I didn't want a fancy high-top fade. I just wanted something conservative. Something like Denzel Washington in American Gangster. Maybe a little shorter. But very conservative.
Things started out a little shaky with Steve, though. He cut the sides first using a comb as a guide, the way you cut white guy's hair.
I said, as nicely as possible, "You might wanna go ahead and put a guard on your clippers and you'll be okay."
Steve did, and by the way, it was a nice metal guard. Things went great after that.
Steve went on to tell me that though he is a barber, he doesn't get a lot of practice cutting black hair. He said he cut the head of a black kid once. The kid loved the haircut, but the dad was furious.
"I just tell people if you get a barber who can cut your hair the way you want it, then stay with that person."
Sounds like pretty good advice.
Steve did a good job on my hair. A damn good job, in fact. And I think he'll do better the more practice he gets with me.
Looks like I found me a barber without needing to drive to the 'hood.

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Blogger Just12Finish said...

That's pretty funny. I have a similar problem - different race. I've been going to the same person for the past 12 years or so. Like you say ...

May 5, 2008 at 10:08 PM  

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