Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coming to Terms With Firing My Hair Stylist

It looked good, swung right, and made me smile just by glancing at it. I was ecstatic.


That's right. I'd found a hair stylist who could do my hair just right. After tons of research online, I settled on a style called tree braids. I'd never known anyone who wore them but I thought they were cute, and always one to set my own trend, I went for it. A few hours more research later, I found a salon near my home.

At that salon was a hair stylist who did the damn thing when it came to my hair. So much so that I referred countless people to that salon for the same style. It's safe to say that I'm far from the only person I know wearing tree braids any more since I started rocking them last summer.

Problem was, the hair stylist I loved worked for a backwards-@ssed salon owner. Want to make an appointment? Don't count on it being easy. The process went a little something like this: A week prior to the appointment I wanted to schedule, I'd call the salon owner--who required that all appointments go through him, via his cellphone. He might answer, he might not. If you left a message, he might call you back or you might have to harass him to get a return call. He also requested that you call him back the day before the appointment to confirm. Then, when you make that day-before call to confirm, he informs you that he then has to call the hair stylist to see if she can make it. [Why the h#ll didn't you do that before, fool?] Then, a few hours later, he eventually calls back to confirm the appointment.

Sound painful? It was. And I did this every 6-8 weeks from August 2009 through January 2010. Then I got fed up. One day this month, when I called the salon owner to confirm my appointment--and he told me he'd have to call me back after talking with the hair stylist--I decided to get back on my research grind to find another hair salon.

Didn't take long. I'd done some preliminary research already and knew who else did tree braids in my area. There's a particular way I like them done that is different from the way most places do them, so after confirming the new salon could hook me up, I made an appointment there. It was that easy. One phone call, appointment confirmed. WHALA! 

So when the owner of the first salon finally called me back (over two hours later) to confirm my appointment, I told him I was canceling. And I told him why. In a nice way (I swear I was polite and cordial), I told him that his scheduling process is jacked up and (because of that and his tendency to be rude to customers when they call) had driven me and all of my referrals away from patronizing his business. He seemed to take it well... at first.

But apparently he had second thoughts. And that got me to thinking, maybe I should've read this advice or this advice about breaking up with your hair stylist before I spoke with him. Ah, hindsight.

Witness the voicemail he left me about a half hour after our phone conversation. [Full background: In addition to patronizing his business and referring my sister and friends, I also started a Facebook fan page for the salon at his request. But when I asked him to answer questions via e-mail from people who asked about pricing of various styles on the fan page, he couldn't be bothered.]

Play this in your head in the most smart-@ssed, irritated voice you can muster:

This is Salon Owner. I wanted to call you back and let you know I fully understand your position. This is my business model. And I work and the braiders do have to go through me because I still have to run this business and they don't go there and sit. I made it convenient for them as well so they don't just go there and sit. And I know I'm losing my customers to the braiders. There are not too many braiders who do tree braids. I know that I lose some of my customers to the braiders. There are not too many people in this area that do tree braids very well. When I'm not there I notice that I lose customers to some of the braiders. And it's highly possible that I've lost you and your sister to Hair Stylist and I wouldn't tell her that either. But I have nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. This is the way I run this business model. I'm also very disappointed in those who would come to the shop and then move themselves into working with my braiders, and that is very disappointing as well because I work very hard to try to get customers in there. I had to go out and get a job and that's one of the reasons I haven't been responsive to facebook. I can't be responding to everything on facebook. I'm disappointed and I know that you're going to Hair Stylist, and Hair Stylist has to deal with that. So that's my message to you. If you care to call back, fine."

[*Names have been changed because I decided not to put Salon Owner on full blast, even though he is an @sshole deserves it.]

So in other words, dude is accusing me of stealing his stylist? The thing is, I did NOT do that, but Lawd knows I would if I could. But sadly, I don't have Hair Stylist's number. Later that evening, I got a long, rambling, unprofessional e-mail from the salon owner basically making the same points. #FAIL.

Anyhow, the new salon I went to is great. Takes a bit longer to do tree braids because they're smaller, but I've been told they look better. They have lots of braiders available for walk-ins at all times, and that = Lots of business. They stay busy. And it's much easier to make an appointment.

TALK BACK: Have you ever had to fire your hair stylist? How did it go?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You, Girl, Are the Cure for Trifling

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

Have the one or two weed heads, thugs (real or imagined), or aspiring music artists or producers--who managed to slip through the cracks during a bad breakup--told you, "If I had a woman like you, I'd stay focused"?


"I'd get a job and keep one."

"I'd stop selling and/or smoking weed."

"I'd stop running these streets."

"I'd move out my mama's house...and stay with you."

"I'd go to/finish school."

Admit it. You've heard this or some variation. Don't fake. Take a minute, go back, way back, and you know there is one of these guys in your past. It may have been the guy with the killer smile who "sells real estate" but can't seem to explain to you what an ARM is.

Tell the truth, the aspiring rapper who sold you your furniture had a great body, and since he broke you off with the discount (see FabFem 's blog post about perks for pretty girls) for that gorgeous mahogany chaise, you listened to the mix tape he also threw in for free (street value $5) and got drinks when he got off. Hell, you may have even kicked him out of your house around 3 a.m. this morning, so you could get some rest before you went to work this morning.

Go ahead and laugh, because you have either slept with or endured at least a movie or an IHOP breakfast sampler with this man.

We don't judge you.

But I can bet that every one of these guys will tell you, "I'm not perfect, but girl, If I had a woman like you, I'd straighten up."

So there it is, even after being raised by somebody, somewhere and walking this earth as a grown man making his own bad decisions, somehow YOU will be the catalyst that's going to get him on the straight and narrow.

Allow me to share with you one of the highest compliments I once received from this type of man: "Girl, you'd make a good stepmom to my kids."


After hearing that, I had to start making some promises of my own, like, never to drink again, never to give out my number at gas stations or Chinese buffets, or fast food restaurants, no matter how bad the breakup or how low my self esteem at the time.

Believe it or not, young men aren't even the biggest offenders. Some of these men may be well into their 30s, still talking such foolishness. Some may even be fathers themselves and are STILL talking this foolishness.

Case in point:

A young man I met a long time ago told me that given the opportunity, he could see himself putting an end to his thuggish ways (which included still having one foot in the drug-selling community). He'd leave the game and live a good, clean life with me by his side.

I had to laugh and shake my head because this guy had a small child. Wise beyond my years, I gave a response that I'm proud of to this day: "If you have a child, and you love this child, it shouldn 't take me, someone you barely know, to motivate you to do better. Your child--that came from you--should be motivation enough."

Apparently he liked it, too, because after thanking me for keeping it real, he declared my brutal honesty was further proof that I was the kind of woman he needed after all.

At that moment, I grabbed my purse, and I told him I wished him luck on his road to redemption, but that I couldn't join him. I gathered my safety buddy/wingwoman (who was entertaining his friend) and we left.

TALK BACK: Has a bad boy ever said that you are what he needs to change his ways? Did you try? 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sex On Your Period: Yay or Nay?

By: Guest Blogger NINA LOVEHALL

Rumor has it that neosoul crooner/sex symbol Maxwell sent female concertgoers into a frenzy last year when he declared during his sensual set, "I don't care if it's that time of the month. We can put towels down."

Pick your collective jaws up off the ground. Even if you are against it, there was a time you probably considered it, just once: "I mean, I'm real light right now anyway..."

If I've pulled your card, simmer down, we're all grown. You aren't a dirty freak if you do it, want to do it or considered it that one time when you were real "light." As I get older, I'm noticing more men and women aren't as vehemently against the idea as when we were younger. I've been in a couple of conversations-- sober and not-- where both sexes have taken Maxwell's stance and even suggested putting down dark-colored sheets in addition to the towel to cut down on potential embarrassment.

But there is still a strong contingent who say the love tunnel is temporarily shut down to all traffic during that time of the month.

It's no secret that women tend to get real randy in the days before, during and after their cycle, and biology backs that up. Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, author of the book, What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex, tells readers that if they feel comfortable with it, by all means let Aunt Flo join in on the fun. If you aren't completely convinced, Dr. Hutcherson explains the benefits of freakin' while you're leakin', which may include easing of cramps and migraines. In addition to breaking out the towel underneath your bum, she also suggests using a diaphragm or cervical cap to "decrease the amount of blood that escapes during sex."

Hutcherson says that some positions may be uncomfortable during that time of the month, and even oral sex is fair game. And, she says, some men actually like the taste of iron in the blood. (I've never heard this one. In fact, I've been told that men prefer that you give them a warning and give them the option of not heading down there.) Hutcherson warns that if your man takes the dive, he should not blow air into your vagina, because that air can actually travel through your lungs and affect your heart, causing an air embolism.

Never fear to my ladies who'd rather sit this one out until Flo has left the building. I'm not mad at you. Dr. Hutcherson says that even if you don't want to go all the way, getting close and cuddling during that time can release some healthy endorphins that will relieve pain. Everybody wins.

TALK BACK: Do you think that having sex while on your period is nasty?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is Free Stuff Part of Being a Woman?

Call it the gift and the curse of being a woman. You smile, look pretty, and men give you free stuff. The downside: They flirt--and may even ask for a date.

Case in point: I go to two restaurants where I rarely pay for my food. In both cases, men who work there give me my food for free. In one case, the manager has been comping my food for about eight years. In the other case, a bartender has been giving me free stuff for roughly a year or two.

I didn't ask either of these men to do this. In fact, both have rebuffed me when I pull out cash to pay. "Your money is no good here," they say, or, "Don't worry. I got you."

Whatever, I say to myself, no need to fight them to pay money I don't have to.

But that doesn't mean there isn't a price. In one case, the manager who comps my food is way older--I'd guess in his 60s--and he blatantly flirts with me. I am pretty certain he knows I'm not interested because it never goes further than his saying slick stuff to me when I'm in the restaurant. Last weekend, he told me he was glad I came to the restaurant alone and not with a date--because he doesn't like to see me with dates. "I don't like those guys," he told me. [Note to self: I knew one day I'd be glad  I took my exes who were 6'10 and 6'4, respectively, into said restaurant to pick up food. Obviously, they left an impression. :-)]

WTF. Speechless, I just took my free food and rolled out.

But this man also bought me a dozen pink roses when I graduated from college several years ago. He said they were from the restaurant staff. My daddy--probably just a few years older than him--was none too happy.

Besides free food, off the top of my head, I've gotten free car maintenance, cable service, home repair, and party admission from guys I barely know (or don't know at all), just by showing up and smiling sweetly. The common thread? I never ask for free stuff. Guys just offer. The whole damsel in distress idea, maybe?

TALK BACK: Have you ever gotten free stuff just because you're a woman? Tell us about it.