I sat watching the Mary Kay consultant hand my Gigi powder after cream after cleanser. I wasn’t offended when that woman looked up and told me that my face was probably two shades lighter than what it looked because I don’t wash it properly. Because honey and oil aren’t effective unlike whatever chemicals my stepmom had just finished using. I was respectful when my aunt (the beautician) decided to join in schooling me on the benefits of this bio-super cleansing, extra natural line of products. The reviews were through the roof. Look at Kristen’s skin! That’s all she uses! And her little friends too!! I didn’t part my lips when my aunt decided to go the “just because you have natural hair doesn’t mean you have to go to the extreme” route. And I didn’t go off when the rant continued on to me not wearing makeup.
“Everything that I do takes 10 minutes.”
“You need to at least wear a tinted moisturizer. Something to even out your skin tone.”
“You HAVE to wear more that lip stick, or you need to tone it down.”
Because I’m drawing all eyes to my lips with the absence of blush, eye shadow and mascara. I didn’t give them a speech about how I’m as far from high maintenance as the east is from the west. I was silent. But in my head, I was on my soapbox hot with the passion of a Hebrew Israelite at the Gallery Place Metro condemning heathen commuters. “Look here. I’m not going to put a bunch of gunk on my face unless it’s a special occasion, and I’ll enlist a professional. Nine times out of ten, I’m choosing flats over heels. I’m going to reinterpret the dress code for every event. My lip colors will always be loud. And you will deal.”
My boss called me into her office.
“Listen, I wanted to discuss your appearance for a minute. Now, don’t take this the wrong way because you’re always dressed so adorable, but sometimes it’s a little unprofessional. Like, what you have on today. You have such a cute little shape and some things just show it a little too much. Oh, and do you plan on keeping your hair like that? It’s a little much. There’s a lot going on.”
She gestured to my marley twists. I forgot about the disclaimer the lead to her insulting my teal straight-leg pants, flower print peplum blouse and Mary Jane wedges. Did this woman just come for my hair?! No. Ma’am.
“Sooooo are you saying that I can’t wear my hair in twists, because I didn’t read that in the handbook. I also didn’t see anything about braids. Do you have a problem with braids? That will be my next style. Oh, I’m pretty sure I had twists just like these when I was offered the position. Why didn’t you say anything then?”
End of conversation.
I sat in the chair, mirror in hand, repeating the same instructions. There was too much hair on my head and I wanted it gone. If it couldn’t be twisted, it had to get cut off. My barber was determined that my request was impossible. He’d have to part my hair; a part that would soon be lost, meaning that the solution was to fade my hair instead. NO. I sat there until he figured it out. While he cut, I fielded questions. Why don’t I grow my hair out? Had I at least considered a mohawk? Was I sure about this style? He finally got to the point.
“I just think that women that have nice hair should let it grow.”
Yea, because I paid him every two weeks for his opinion. A good thirty minutes. He cut. I checked and told him to go lower. He didn’t let me out of his chair without a disclaimer. If anyone inquired about my cut, I was to let them know that I have a vision and he had nothing to do with it. I made not to mention him to any of the people who approached me, not with questions or insults but compliments.
WHOO!!! They said be all you can be!!!