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Atoke’s Morning Banter: Let’s Just Get This Hair Done In Silence

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Have you ever had one of those random bursts of decisions? The kind that you don’t plan for – you just wake up on Saturday morning and think ‘I want to braid my hair.’ No reason. No motivation. Just do it.

So, after almost 4 years of abstaining from any kind of painful manipulation of my hair, I decided to give braids a try. I knew it was going to be a long day, so I went armed with my Kindle, mp3 player and mobile phone… all fully charged to help the time fly past as speedily as possible.

I left the hair braider’s house with my devices fully charged – I didn’t get a chance to use them. The woman talked, and talked, and talked, and talked, and talked, and talked, and talked, and… Okay I’m sure you get the point now. The gist was diverse, random and UNSOLICITED. Stories of her encounters with dubious Nigerians, how she met and married her husband, how she had her first child, how she came from Africa when she was a teenager, and so on. In all of this I kept thinking… “would it be rude if I put my earphones in?” Reading a book was now out of the question as I was given the task of giving her the extensions. There really was no way out of it.

Being out of the hair braiding/weaving scene for so long, I’d completely forgotten that one of the elements of a salon visit is the unsolicited gist that emanates therefrom.

When I was in UNILAG, there was a section, behind D Block Moremi Hall, allocated to hair braiders, make up artists and nail technicians. Fancy names for “Iya Sikiru/Iya Ahmed, Aunty Ayo & ‘Awon Fix Your Nayks’.. Deciding to go down there to get your hair and nails done meant you were ready for them to either talk your ear off, or have them weigh in on your phone conversations. Unsolicited gist was the hallmark of that place. The thing about those places is that people who talk on the phone, or entertain ‘guests’ at the salon unwittingly provide gist for the hair dressers to add to their ‘cupboard’.

It’s comforting to know that this talking syndrome isn’t solely a ‘woman’ thing. Barber shops are reportedly the home of all sorts of funny stories. I recently watched an episode of New Girl where Nicholas was shopping for a new barber. He didn’t really want to go to Winston’s barber because of all the surrounding talk.
. Women have been made to believe that they’re the gender that is particularly chatty. A visit to the barber’s shop will tell you otherwise.

Being chatty in itself is not a bad thing; however, there has to be a nice and polite way to say “I really don’t want to hear about how you bought new washing machine. Can we just get my hair done in silence?”

This unsolicited talk happens with taxi drivers too; but with them you can just slip your earphones in – music or no music – and you’re immune from the unwanted chatter about where you’re going and where you’re from and how long you’re going to be away for.

Someone said that the chatting helps them get through the task as quickly as possible. For the hairdresser, she doesn’t think she is doing anything wrong because the chore is tedious and having someone to talk to helps. The question then becomes, how does one draw the line at being humane -listening patiently, and suffering in silence.  Personally, I don’t think talking once in a while is bad; the problem arises when you start telling me about real personal stuff. This usually makes me uncomfortable. Even worse when you chime in on my phone call.  It’s bad enough that you listened to a call I had no choice but to take in your presence, but please don’t opine on the subject you eavesdropped on. Also, please don’t chuckle while listening to my phone call. I’m not cracking jokes for your entertainment.

In all of this, there are some people who prefer chatty hairstylists. A friend once complained that a lady once made her hair and didn’t speak through the entire session. She found it really weird.

Different strokes, folks.

Are you team Bring On The Random Talk? Or are you team Let’s Just Get Through This Ride in Silence? What’s the weirdest unsolicited gist you have heard? On Saturday, my friend was in an elevator when one guy got in and said “My dad is ill.” She said it was so random – it took a few minutes for her to gather her thoughts to respond “I’m sorry”.

Have a fantastic week ahead! Let’s kick ass this week okay?
Oh it’s Julian’s birthday today… She’s the hardworking, zero-hair-having, Amazon who makes sure BN clients are kept happy. We love you our Omo Pupa :p

Another birthday shout out to our resident Crase-Columnist! Isio… Scorpios just rock. True story!

Peace, love & crunchy bran flakes.

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.

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