Why I will NOT do your hair

Back in the good old days when I had a full head of long, happy, mature locs, I used to do my own hair. I had my locs started by a loctician, but I quickly figured out how to wash and retwist them myself ($65 every two weeks is one helluva incentive to figure it out). It's not rocket science and locticians aren't doing anything fancy in a basic loc grooming appointment. I would reserve my trips to the loctician for color and trims, and maybe the occasional special occasion style. After awhile I started to figure out how to do more than just retwisting and loc grooming. I read discussion forums and watched YouTube tutorials (Shawnta715 has some good ones) and just started playing in my locs. Roller sets, crinkles, flat twists, up-dos....I taught myself to do all that. Because my hair was hardly ever worn straight down the way most people are used to seeing locs, I would get tons of compliments with people asking who my stylist was. They were astounded when I said I did my own hair.

And then the dreaded (no pun intended) question would inevitably follow from any guy (and a few women) who himself had locs: "Can you do my hair??" I've always seen it as a lame attempt at a pick up line, but even if it's not and you really just want need someone to do your hair, the answer is still the same: NO.

And here is why:

1. I don't KNOW you!! I'm not about to be all up in your house or have you all up in mine doing your hair! I don't know what sinister plans you may have for me at your place, or whether you'd believe that the lame pick up line actually worked and assume that I'd accept payment in sexual favors. I'm really not cool with just anybody knowing where I live either. I have stranger danger, and that's just.....no. McGruff the Crime Dog would be disappointed.

2. Whatever you're gonna pay me isn't worth it. There's an element of economies of scale with stylists. They are getting $50+ per head all day, every day. They have all their supplies there and ready to go. And in bulk. I would have to take time to go to your house (but see #1), bring all my products (because obviously if you are needing someone else to do your hair, you don't have much by way of your own), and work with some ill equipped bath tub or shower (I have a WaterPik.... it's great, but still not a shampoo bowl), which is way more time and hassle than the average stylist who is set up to do hair. Add to that the fact that you will probably want a hook-up on the price, and after all that $40 just wouldn't be worth my time.

3. I only deal with the dirt of people I love. Being that you don't know how to groom your own hair, I would be willing to guess that it doesn't get done as regularly as it should. And by regularly, in my world that's once a week to every 1.5 weeks. Washed, oiled, retwisted, everything. I have a 15 year old son who plays football and lives with his dad, so I've seen (and smelled) what neglected locs are like (as much as I'm on him about doing his own hair regularly). I will get down and dirty and use some elbow grease (and clarifying shampoo) to get all the dirt and buildup out of my kids' hair, but I birthed them and have been dealing with their disgustingness for 15 years (diapers, puke, sweaty uniforms, etc.) Yours.... um, not so much.

4. Doing hair is kind of.... well.... intimate. My weakness.... the thing that will have my knees weak and, um.... well yea..... is for someone to play in my hair. There is nothing like a good scalp massage. Stylists are different because they tend to be very business-like with their hands (i.e. heavy handed) even though it still feels good. But when I do hair, I have to get a little more involved in the process because this isn't just another day at the office for me. First of all, think about washing.... I don't know too many people with a shampoo bowl in their house (except for my friend's momma who still did curls for those who just couldn't let go), which means that I have to be leaned over the tub scrubbing locs (because, see # 3 above, it probably needs it). I'm not too comfortable with having my DDs hanging 5 inches above your head for 20 minutes while I wash your hair (even though you might be). Plus it makes my back hurt, so add that to # 2 above. Then the retwisting..... keep in mind I've been doing my kids' locs for 5 years, and for 5 years my goal has been to cause the least amount of pain (i.e. crying) as possible. No matter how frustrated I get, doing their hair has always been approached as a labor of love. And for that reason I only do the hair of people I care about, because I really have no other motivation.

5. There's a mirror image problem. This particularly is an issue when doing styles (which are most often requested by women). Styling my locs with my hands above my head while looking in a mirror is a totally different thing from doing a style with someone sitting in front of me. My hands, arms and eyes are used to seeing and feeling my hair in a certain way. The different approach is disorienting and it just doesn't come out the same. I can throw some flat twists in my hair in 5 minutes, but doing the same thing to my daughter's locs takes a bit more effort. I would hate for someone to come to me thinking they are gonna get the same style they see on my head and end up with some travesty of a style instead.

So what's the lesson here, loved ones? Just because a person has locs does not mean we do locs. Stylists chose that profession for a reason, and on the flip side I did not choose it for a reason. So if you ask if I can do your hair and I hesitate or outright say no (my usual response is "I only do my and my kids' hair... that's enough"), don't take it personal. Unless you are my friend-- and a good friend at that-- do not ask me to do your hair. And even in that case, see # 4 above.

Really, what everyone with locs should do is learn how to do them yourself. It's not mission impossible. Locticians aren't doing anything magical up there. Twist and clip, that's basically all it is (maybe I'll give you a step-by-step blog post later). I did the equivalent of throwing my son in the swimming pool by refusing to do his hair again until he learned how to do it himself, and eventually he did (and I agreed to do his hair for him again, but now he can keep it up in between seeing me). In this economy it would behoove you to take an evening, pull up a YouTube tutorial and just try it. That way when you have that extra sweaty workout, or walk through that raging dust storm, or want to go swimming, you don't have to wait til your next appointment and drop $75 to get your hair back looking right. Then eventually random people in the mall will be asking you to do their hair, too.

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