Today I did something that my pal SinRoo — you all remember her! — described as “hilariously white.” I went into a hair salon in downtown DC that was staffed entirely by African-American girls, and had an entirely African-American clientele, and asked them if they could give me highlights.

I will admit for a moment I wondered if perhaps I might be in the wrong salon. There were weaves and straightenings going on. But the voice inside my head chided me, telling me it was racist to believe that just because the entire salon was African-American, that they wouldn’t know how to deal with fluffy, straight white-girl hair. And so,  even in the face of the nervous glances around the salon when I made my request, I soldiered on, feeling proud of myself as I sat down and we all ripped on John McCain for 20 minutes.

I won’t get into the details of what happened in the next two hours. Let’s just say that while I asked for some bright blond around my face to cover the grey around my temples, I walked out with a sort of dark reddish-blond that merely served to make the grey around my temples even more noticeable. It also took my poor stylist, Annie, about an hour to blow-dry my hair. She was very apologetic and told me she had a hard time drying hair like mine, she just didn’t know how to handle it. Finally she asked me: “How do you do your hair every morning? It’s so light and fluffy and straight and soft, like down. Isn’t it hard to work with?” There was a silence as literally all the other stylists looked over to hear my answer. I replied: “Well, it’s the only hair I’ve ever had, but I do find it helps to put a thickening mousse in it. And you know, if you ever need to practice on hair like mine, I work right across  the street and I’ll come over any time for a free blow-dry.” The girls in the salon were excited by this, and one rushed to the reservation book to take down all my numbers. Apparently there is some kind of competition coming up, and they must know how to work on various types of hair.

However, tomorrow I am going to another salon and getting the bright blond I wanted. I couldn’t bring myself to tell poor Annie she really got it wrong. So if I go back for my free blow-drys, she’s going to know I had to go and get it fixed. Oh dear.

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