If any woman ever needed a hype man, it'd be me. Someone to wait impatiently for the sliding glass doors of my local Whole Foods to open, then BUST in yelling, "Saaalt Nnnn' Pepaaa's here!" as I brought up the rear rocking a hairdo so reminiscent of a late 80s rap girl you could hear the rhymes emanating from my very pores.
And it goes a little something like this: "How the fuck did I end up with this foolishness on my head?"
After a peculiar turn of events mixed with passivity, on Monday I ended up with a style that was one part Pepa, one part Tina Turner in Mad Max and the rest was anybody's guess. It was a follicular Chimera.
Here's what had happened. After executing an epic bachelorette weekend in Miami as the best maid of honor on earth, I arrived in Washington late Sunday night with weak everything. Arms, legs and brain. Totally forgetting that the next day I was scheduled to speak at an event about black folks and love.
The following morning, I woke up with a mane. Jane hates the word "mane." So much so that when I joined this rag tag crew of writer women a missive went out from Jane that read among other things, "Don’t use words like 'tresses' or 'mane.' Make sure you use words that sound like how you would actually speak them." But y'all, it WAS a mane. Remember my hair has gone back to Africa (or wherever it's from originally), so sleeping on it without applying the necessary juices and berries was a bad choice.
Panicked because my stylist doesn't work on Mondays, I emailed a friend who I vaguely remember having a natural style I thought was "cute" two summers ago. Her lady doesn't work on Mondays either, but she referred me to yet another lady who might be able to do my hair at her house in Maryland.
Two trains and one bus later I was knocking on her front door. After sending her naked 7-year-old son to his room, she showed me a slide show of styles and told me to pick one. None of them looked like what I remember my friend looking like, but I figured it was the lighting.
So I cheerfully pointed to what appeared to be a mix between twists, corn rows and spiral curls, hoping that she'd read my mind, which was screaming, "Just put a hat on!" Then she banished a second naked child and got to work.
Two Lifetime movies later I looked like this.
"Why did you let her do that to you?" demanded my boyfriend through fits of laughter.
"I didn't!" I protested, knowing full well that I did. As soon as she made her first part I knew I was in over my head -- literally. But what was I supposed to do? Just walk out? That would've been rude.
"So instead you're gonna walk around looking like you're about to try out for a Yo! MTV Raps video?" Yes.
I rushed home and took a good look at myself in the mirror.
No, this was definitely not me. I don't do dramatic side sweeps or geometric crop circles, but I didn't have time to do anything about it. My first thought was, again, HAT! But there were none in the condo besides my boyfriend's and I figured I'd look even nuttier with an oversized Kansas City ball cap on with my Michael Kors sheath dress.
So I DIYed a few mild adjustments, took another hard look and said, "Fuck it."
And you know what? The world kept spinning on its axis. The White House did not implode. Bunnies were still cute and men still honked. No one but me knew that my hair was anything other than normal. Not even the people who go to my stylist and ask for "The Helena Andrews" cut I've come to be known for in my tiny corner of you care.
"Stop pointing to it. Everyone knows you're talking about your head," whispered my boyfriend when I found him in the crowd after the event, immediately doing wild charades about what was going on north of my eyebrows.
Two days later I met him at a fancy Italian spot with "the hair" (as it's now affectionately known in our house) still intact. Shaking his head, he looked at me and smiled: "Thank god you're pretty." But I know it has nothing to do with that. It was all about the "Fuck it." All about the fact that I just rocked out with my coif out, not giving a care.
Will "the hair" stick around? Um, no. But it might make a comeback when I feel like channeling a little Salt N Pepa and pushing the envelope.