The stylist/client relationship can be many things. They can mimic a therapist-client relationship, the people may enjoy a friendship as BFF’s, they may be friends who swap information in-shop, but don’t hang otherwise, or they can be very business like in nature.

You know which category yours falls into. All but the latter, present the opportunity for emotional fallout if the hair bonding ends. Most of us share more freely when we are comfortable. What works better than a relaxing scalp massage to loosen one up? Well there are a couple of things. My point is a good shampoo opens us up to sharing. At least it does for me. My relationship with a few of my stylist (when I had them) were solid.

When I left Watsene (LePertege) and Pete (Rose’s) , I did so, along with a face-to-face conversation. They deserved it. Both were about the business of doing hair and top-notch professionals. Watsene (a sister), and Pete a male (white) kept my fade so tight, brothers were impressed. I told her I was starting locs and would be moving on. I don’t remember if I said the words, “hair journey” at that stage. Same with Pete. I posed as a hair model for him and we became good friends. After I started my locs I continued to see him for eyebrow maintenance, until he relocated to Florida.

When Pete left, he set up a replacement. It was not the same experience. Where Pete kept a meticulous schedule. His station always neat and he always on time, the new guy was the opposite. He was living the life as a master barber who forgot about his clients. Arrogant, rude, late, bad breathe. Oh how I missed Pete. I was never bumped. He was always on time and I understood if I were more than ten minutes late, I could expect my spot to be taken. No muss. No fuss.

I had to fire the new guy he lacked the maturity and professionalism I required do business. My only regret, is not telling him to tighten up on his oral hygiene. All up in close with the clippers, breathing dragon breath. I didn’t grant him the courtesy of a face to face break up, I just stopped going.

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Another person I had to fire was a tough cookie. She’d been in the business of perms for decades and stayed on top of weave styles and techniques. She overcharged and had attitude. Our breaking point was the weave coming defused a day after my $80 hair style. She got mad when I told her I was going natural. No more appointments for her. She was not supportive and became visibly upset at my decision about MY hair. Her prices fluctuated with her mood that never sat well with me.

These were stylist-client-business-relationships that I had to let go of. After being treated so well by Watsene and Pete it was hard to find others who juggled the balls of professionalism,stylist, friend, and confidant with so much grace.

You know when your hair is not getting healthier,  and you are spending time and money with the same person. If you have outgrown the experience and you aren’t getting what you need out of your relationship with the person who tends your locs, it is time to move on. Doing so frees you up to pursue the hair journey and your story.

In a win-win breakup we are able to come back as friends. Lets hope this is the case for you and someone who has spent time in your head. Oh yeah, it’s relevant.

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About The Author

C. Imani Williams, is a freelance writer and social justice activist. She works to bring about awareness and positive change. Imani's writing has appeared in Black Fem Lit Magazine, Alt. Variety, Teen Girl Talk Magazine, Diva Gossip, Hello Shopper, Geleyi and various other publications. Imani, holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction writing from Antioch University. The Detroit, Michigan native resides in So. California, where she greets the sun with a smile.

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