For Many Black Women, the Salon Is the Only Therapy We Can Afford

“What are we doing today?” my hairdresser asked, as she did many times before over the last two years. “I don't know,” I replied, like always. “Surprise me.”

Most of the time I feel high levels of guilt for coming to my hairdresser week after week without a style in mind. I always wonder if I’m making her job more difficult. But she never chastises me for it. Perhaps she understands I am so busy juggling the pressures of career development and parenthood that days pass where I don’t have a moment to think.

Or maybe she is aware that by the time I reach her chair, I’ve had a full two weeks of work, and my creative juices have been exhausted, leaving me without the capacity to come up with any styles. Whatever it is, her actions imply she understands, and by the time I leave our biweekly appointment, I feel like I’ve just left the therapist’s office.