Back in November 2017, I was lounging around with Catherine a friend of 9 yrs and our boyz crew in Kimana en route Tanzania in one of our road trips escapades, when I had a revelation that “I want to cut my hair short,” I said aloud to my friends while were in the shamba. “Like how short and why would you cut your hair?” one asked. “Like up to here…” illustrating the length that came just below the nape of my neck. But they didn’t think that I was serious. They talked in turns trying to make me realize how I was ‘bout to make a bad decision. How good my hair is, I look beautiful in it….blah….blah… I thought to myself they could be right, what if I missed my hair after cutting it short.
Deep down I knew I wanted to do it. When we got back in Nairobi, I told my sister about it, but her not having a too good hair according to the society standards ( I will be in trouble for this. After this post I will be looking for a hiding place) you can imagine the advice I got. Accustomed to my whims, she ignored me. She probably thought I’d get bored with the idea, realize that I love my long hair and let it go.
But I am impulsive to a certain point. A few hours later I called Kanini, my hairdresser of 6 yrs she operates in Fig Tree in Ngara and trust me, she is so good at what she does, I have referred all my friends to her and no one has ever been disappointed.
“Sasa Kanini, I need to make an appointment for a cut, utakuwa kesho?.” Usually, she responds with “ Poa sana Mary Kim. Wewe?”…….but this time it was different.
“Kunyoa tena! Kuwa serious, hiyo nywele yote!” She exclaimed from the other side of the phone.
*Extended pause, because at this point I was confused. All I want is a just a simple cut of “ My hair” but clearly everyone around me made it look like I was committing an atrocity. So, I listened for when I was supposed to go in, which never came anyway.*
She went on and on to tell me we can try different styles just that she was not buying the haircut part. I do understand her shock because this is not the first time I have pulled such a move on her, but previously we cut and colored it. But this time, it was difficult for her to cut it all.
“Oh, God. Do I really want to do this? I’ve been growing my hair out for a while now and I want to cut it short so I really need someone who is experienced with cutting long hair and I need someone who is nice. And cool.” But it has taken me a whole year.
At this time, my mum already knew what I was about to do. She loves my hair, I remember when I was young she would do my hair every weekend. But my tomboy tendencies ( mimi na kupanda miti were so close like askari na ka 50 bob) wouldn’t keep it clean. So she opted to cut it off. (What a relief I thought to myself) she expected me to cry but I didn’t. My dad hated long hair so he would chop my hair to boy short length. When my mama cut it, she said: “ the day you will learn how to take care of yourself you will grow your hair then.” She really looked forward to that day, till I was in class seven, she saw no sign of her first-born daughter growing her hair (as I write this part I’m in tears ‘cause of laughter. Sorry mama) so she took it upon herself and made it a personal project, all the way till high school. After which I cut it myself… 6 years later.
Looking back I can imagine how awkward strangers must have felt when they came up to me, saw me with my short hair and dressed in a white shirt and brown shorts, corduroys and not knowing what gender I was. Sort of like when you see a newborn baby dressed in orange or yellow. You ask the parents, “What’s its name?” But I don’t think mama got that.
After my O levels, I tried to get into the Bob hair phase the curse that had arrived and everyone was getting the “ Bob cut.” Caving to peer pressure, I too instructed my hairdresser to give me the Bob. Little did I realize that I had a round face. The Bob coiffure was a disaster and I vowed that I would never cut my hair again. Not until after my visit to Rwanda in 2014. Again, on another whim, I went to a random salon and the guy cut my hair into the shape of a nduthi’s helmet. That’s when I really vowed to never cut my hair short again. Until now.
Everyone found a way of convincing me not to cut it and since I’m an obedient child, I heed my mama’s advise.
Catherine had found a way of making me feel that I wasn’t really missing out on anything. So whenever we would go to the salon I would trim it just enough to leave the ponytail tied up. Which really looked good by the way. But most of the time I felt like it is out of control or I’m just not creative with it. Nevertheless, that’s how I have managed it the whole of this year. When Wednesday rolled around I knew what I needed to do, so I never told my sister, I mean that’s the only way for me to control info getting to my mama. I only informed two of my friends Tess and Soni, I knew there is no way they would snitch on me but it didn’t exempt them from advising me otherwise. But sis right here was so determined to get it done. Yesterday, I walked into the barber shop and immediately felt at ease. At this time, Kanini was already on board. Really cool huh?
“Ok so, you want to cut your hair to about here?” Her hands hovered above my cheeks..
“Yes. But not a Bob. I cannot have my hair be in a Bob, do you understand?
She laughed. “Got it. No Bobs.”
“Ok. I’m just going to sort of rough cut it.”
“ No problem.”
She put my hair into a ponytail and voila! *CHOP*
“Holy ****!” I exclaimed
I looked down and saw scattered pieces of my long dark cocoa hair all over the hard tiles floor. Oh dear God. What have I done? She had me turned away from the mirror and I constantly tried to strain my neck to see what she was doing and she constantly had to snap my head back into place.
“I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be a pain in the a**. It’s just…I just… ”
“Don’t worry I got this!” The confidence in her was on another level.
“Ok…but, please… I don’t want to look like I have a mushroom hat on.” I said in a shaky voice.
She laughed. “You’re funny.” She flung me around to face the mirror.
She asked “Well? What do you think!?”
“Wooow! I look amazing. It’s so chic!’ I clapped my hand over my mouth.
I reached out to the back of my head and all I felt was air. My hand had to travel a little further up to above my shoulders before I reached actual hair. She directed me to the washing area to clean it up. I have always heard stories of girls who cried after they cut their long hair short and always thought how stupid that sounded. I still don’t get the big deal. Immediately, I texted my sister, so if she wanted to tell mama, Maji yalishamwagika, and Soni who is still in disbelief to tell them that I had just chopped off four inches of my hair. Tess was excited, she is the YOLO type and she finally got that courage to get a nose piercing. Lol call me an Influencer.
My colleagues, on the other hand, gave me the “WHY” look before showering me with compliments of how good I look in my new style. But Prolyne and Nakaziba weren’t too happy. But they love how I look. Slay has a new name for me … Cutie. And I totally agree!
As of now, I haven’t talked to my mama about it, but I asked my sister to tell her. I imagine she is thrilled… HA! But I don’t want to be there to confirm this. I’m thankful for this shamba la mawe (Nairobi) because if I was in gishagi (shags) her being an African parent, I wouldn’t have missed a thermos, pans or a sufuria flying across me.
Also, I’m yet to see my mutu in my new hairstyle. He better likes it (hahaha)
I thank my stylist Kanini for dealing with me. And for my sister for her timely reporting.
Now, let’s paint red in confidence as my best friend would tell me.