I think that picture just gave it away, but I'll still spell it out.
You see, if you ever had the
No, it doesn't matter what hairstyle you actually ended up doing or whether you chose to do didi (french braids) or weaving. The process was the same. I already hinted at it here, but here it is in its full glory:
Your mother or father or relative dropped you off at the market and told the hairstylist what style to braid your hair into. Or maybe you got to decide. Or maybe your school already called the hairstyle for you for that week. Doesn't matter. Same result, i.e. you have to get your hair done.
The hair stylist, who was a market woman, not just because she was literally in the market, but also because she probably also sold other items at her stall in addition to braiding hair, agreed, and if there was no one there before you, she would point to an apoti (small stool).
Now, I shall rant about the apoti. Don't worry, I'll still rant about the one thing nobody misses in a bit. But let's dwell on the apoti for a bit, shall we? Good.
The apoti, as I have mentioned, is a small wooden stool. Now, I am not sure who makes the apoti, but I am very sure the only trait necessary for a person to make an apoti, apart from the requisite carpentry skills, is a certain degree of miserliness. Yes, miserliness. Or else, how else do you explain why the apoti is so small (even for a child) and so close to the ground, and no matter how short or long your legs are, they get cramped from sitting on the said apoti. Yes, indeed. Only a miserly carpenter, one who hoards the wood for making apoti so he can make 10 apotis (or 50 chewing sticks) with the same amount of wood he should invest in one good apoti would ...
Okay, I'm done with the apoti bit.
Back to our hair braider.
Now, after sitting your delicate little bum on the apoti, she (the hair braider) positions you for ... the hair braiding, of course. And this is where it gets interesting.
You see, regardless of what hairstyle you choose, the hair braider will pick the same position to braid your hair, i.e. she will turn your head so that you are facing her, and then she will plant your head right between her ...
Oh Lord! I can't even say it.
*wailing loudly at the horrible mental picture*
Just look at the picture for clarification. It has spoken more than a thousand words. But I will still add my own.
It may take a minute of positioning, but oh my goodness, it will hit you right smack in the face. No, not the folds of her wrapper. No, that would be a delightful kindness. Ehn ehn!
I am referring to the smell ... Stench, is more like it, emanating from the place where the market woman has placed your head.
What smell you ask? Okay, I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with kiwi, but it's not a fruit. Let's see, what else? Oh yes, it's yellow and ... I think you get the picture. Yes, indeed, you will get more than a whiff of that post-wiwi* smell.
And that, my friends, is what no one, no girl, no woman misses about braiding her hair in the market. I would hope she doesn't miss it. Or else. Okay, she can't miss it, period!
I will admit that those women are very skilled, especially with didi. But abeg, the price is too high. No, not the price of braiding. Believe me, it's cheaper in the market than in a salon. But the price of enduring that nasty smell for minutes, hours ... Too costly. I pass.
Now, I am not sure what horrors young boys faced at the barber's shop, but being a woman who was once a little girl (duh!) I can only speak for myself. And other young girls who had to go through this emmm ... ordeal, week after week. Or until they decided to start braiding their hair in salons. Or at home. Or with those Hausa/Fulani women who can do very tiny braids. Or learnt to braid their hair themselves.
So, that's the answer I was looking for. I wonder what you had in mind when you saw that title. Oya, confess, you had this on your mind too, ba? Abeg, don't give me that look! You weren't thinking of the ilarun (wooden comb) or chart of hairstyles. Or were you? Did you ever braid your hair in the market? Salon, perhaps? Please share your own story!
*Image Credit: Flickr
*Wiwi = Urine