last summer, i waited in line for about six hours on cold pavement for tickets to the revival of HAIR in central park. it was well worth the wait–an outdoor stage, amazing cast and music, enthusiastic audience, breathtaking, hilarious, poignant show, culminating in an ending finale during which the audience was invited to dance and sing along on stage to “let the sun shine”. it was magical, especially for ‘no day but today’ bohemian hippies at heart like myself.
it’s opening on broadway very soon (if it hasn’t already) and trust me when i say this is going to be one of the first things i see when i get back to the US. i’ve even made a desktop background that illustrates how much i’m looking forward to this.
yes, that is really a picture of me with jonathan groff, although it wasn’t taken after his performance in hair. unfortunately, i wasn’t able to see him in hair although i COULD HAVE (i won’t get into this, since i have since forgiven christian, my wonderful but at times horribly scatterbrained best friend) but instead saw him in spring awakening, which i adore on a completely different level. he was kind enough to let us in his dressing room and we talked for about an hour–he gave us starburst and whoopie pies and showed us his dying stuffed goat that still feebly sang “a little goatherd” from the sound of music. …yes, i am still swooning, is it that obvious?
anyhow. staying true to the spirit of hair–gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair…Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen–i decided that for my next hairstyle i would get long twists, both because i wanted a change from the norm and i would have more to work with on my upcoming trips. i looked around bristol for a good black hairstylist with unsatisfactory resuls. i had one salon recommended to me, but immediately upon entering i encountered two employees, one aging receptionist and a male stylist who…well, let’s just say he was true to the ‘male hairstylist’ stereotype (a fellow yank, too!). both were absolutely flabbergasted with my request, but they gamely insisted that i return with the kind of hair i wanted to use. i agreed but knew i would never step foot back in that shop. london it was.
nicole needed a dye job, so we made the two hour train ride together one brisk saturday morning. after arriving at the elephant and castle tube stop, we rushed around trying to find some food in the dubiously dubbed “shopping center”, both of us already dangerously late for our appointments. when she got back on the tube to find her salon, i spent a good half hour trying to locate the right bus, then realizing NO bus driver was willing to give me change so i’d have to break my fiver, found a convenienve store and bought a pack of gum, and finally boarded a bus. there was more confusion when i got off at the wrong stop, then had to walk through a 30,000 mile-long street market (alright, maybe it wasn’t that long…) before finding bobby’s, or as i had come to think of it by that point, mecca.
it was a very small shop. filled with loudly chattering customers, a baby or two toddling around with someone’s cell phone, a TV blaring in the corner, the smell of hair grease and hot combs permeating the air, and loud african, jamaican, and french accents intermingling as soon as i stepped in. in short, i felt strangely at home.
again, i had a hard time explaining exactly what i wanted. apparently, there are multiple names for what i thought was the same thing–case in point, i wanted “long kinky twists”, and to them, this was a ridiculous oxymoron, since “kinky twists” mean only the short twists. that confusion combined with the fact that they had trouble understanding my american accent made for a rather embarrassing and trying 15 minutes, but i left the shop 8 hours later satisfied, hungry, and with a slight headache. again, just like home.
and i received many compliments on my new hair, which always feels good.