There are seven fundamental types of catastrophes. Beauty is not one of them.
As I eventually figured out, there’s a distinct difference between beauty shops & salons. Ana worked at a unisex beauty shop. There were two stylist chairs for the women and two for the men, a wall length mirror behind the stylists chairs & wood paneling covered the walls. Hair posters and ads served as decor. There was a small bathroom with a tricky door. A wall with a pay phone. A tiny section with a table for the nail tech. Two shampoo bowls, four dryer chairs and a portable TV. Ana’s attention to detail depended upon which one of her “shows” was on television during my appointment.
Despite its small size, the shop was always busy. Never short on entertainment with colorful characters and mouth-dropping stories shared by one but heard by all. Local hustlers would drop in on Saturdays ready to peddle their wares – bags filled with cassette tapes, CD’s, incense, clothes, perfume….the works. Sometimes the TV was on silent while the radio played & conversation boomed. I always tried to get in as early as I could before all the distractions hit.
Ana was rarely on time, always armed with excuses, and never tired of trying to talk me into whatever style would leave me under the dryer the longest. I preferred simple blow outs & loose curls, as I have no patience for sitting under hair dryers, 20-30 minutes max before I become extremely restless and leg-twitching irritable. Due to the thickness of my hair, she knew it could take as long as an hour for it to dry completely under the dryer. When she was really running behind, and that’s a thinly veiled “when“, she’d ask me to run down the street to either pick up her lunch or pay her utility bill. True story.
But she was my hairstylist, her work was a hit or miss and her professionalism lacking. What other choices did I have? At 16, I could afford her relaxer rate of $55 every six weeks and the occasional bi-weekly blow-out. Despite all she lacked professionally, somehow she managed not to damage my hair, which was a huge win in my book.
That is, until I turned 18 & met a savvy new friend who changed my beauty world forever… more to come.
A few of my hairstyles under Ana’s care…