My hair is... special.
It is extremely curly, extremely thick, and I have enough of it to carpet a small house. When I was in grade school, my nickname was 'Fro. In high school, from the beginning of October through November 1, complete strangers would stop me on the street to compliment me on my Cher costume. If I ever shaved my head for cancer fundraising, there would be enough densely fibrous material on the barbershop floor to provide full, luxurious wigs to an even dozen chemotherapy patients.
For long months now - years, more like - my hair and I have regarded each other with the watchful distrust of enemy nations in a position of mutually assured destruction. I don't fuck with my hair, and it doesn't fuck with me, because if either of us started anything, shit would get ugly real fast. I just toss it back in a ponytail every day (or maybe I twist it up into a bun, if I'm feeling fancy), and in return, it refrains from going all wild-and-frizzy-afro on me. Getting it cut has historically been traumatic for everyone involved - I had some really
bad haircuts when I was a kid - so even now that I'm an adult, I find it just about impossible to trust anyone to do a good job on it.
But in defense of my paranoia, it's pretty much impossible to find anyone capable
of doing a good job on it in the first place. As I said, it's special. It is not the typical wavy dark curl that might be expected from my English/Scottish ancestry. Nor, however, is it, well, African-Canadian in nature - it does not respond at all well to any of the various "For Women of Colour!" products I have tried in curiosity or desperation over the years. If anything, I would say it most closely resembles the hair of my old Jewish Eastern European neighbour in type and texture.
Now, to the point of my ramble: I need a goddamned haircut. It is just too thick to manage right now. I can't wear it down, because as soon as it dries, it fluffs out into attack mode like the fur on a scared cat's tail. I also have neither the time nor the inclination to get into advanced tactics like running a straightening iron over it for an hour every morning. I want to find a good hair stylist, somebody who knows their way around a Jewfro, and I want them to clear out the dense undergrowth and trim off the split ends and generally leave me with something I can run some light product through after stepping out of the shower, then leave the hell alone for the rest of the day.
The stylist will be able to make specific suggestions about the cut, once she sees my hair. The question is, how the hell do I find a good stylist? I just moved to this town in September, so I've only really gotten to know a few of my classmates. And none of the people I've gotten to know have thick, curly hair, so I can't really ask them for recommendations. Are there any tips to finding a good stylist? Do they have, I don't know, portfolios or anything ridiculous like that? Should I try to find one who has curly hair herself? Should I wander the streets asking random ringletted passers-by for advice? Would I be better off seeking somebody who specializes in ethnic hair, or would that be ridiculous? Help me, H/A!