Hola mi gente,
I came across the following poem by novelist, poet/ spoken word performer, Maggie Estep. Unfortunately, Maggie left us too early at the young age of 50. While the poem is on the surface a sad (and hilarious) tale of beauty salon trip gone awry, underneath it’s exterior, there are themes that run the gamut from identity, economic oppression, stripping and sisterhood, and well… just read it.
Bad Day at the Beauty Salon
I was a 20 year old unemployed receptionist with
dyed orange dreadlocks sprouting out of my skull.
I needed a job, but first,
I needed a haircut.
So I head for this beauty salon on Avenue B.
I’m gonna get a hairdo.
I’m gonna look just like those hot Spanish haircut models, become brown
and bodacious, grow some 7 inch fingernails painted bitch red and rake
them down the chalkboard of the job market’s soul.
So I go in the beauty salon.
This beautiful Puerto Rican girl in tight white spandex and a push-up bra
sits me down and starts chopping my hair:
“Girlfriend,” she says, “what the hell you got growing outta
your head there, what is that, hair implants? Yuck, you want me to touch
that shit, whadya got in there, sandwiches?”
I just go: “I’m sorry.”
She starts snipping my carefully cultivated Johnny Lydon post-Pistols hairdo.
My foul little dreadlocks are flying around all over the place but I’m
not looking in the mirror cause I just don’t want to know.
“So what’s your name anyway?” My stylist demands then.
“Maggie? Well, that’s an okay name, but my name is Suzy.”
“Yeah so it ain’t just Suzy S.
Y, I spell it S.
E, the extra
“e” is for extra Suzee.”
I nod emphatically.
Suzee tells me when she’s not busy chopping hair, she works as an exotic
dancer at night to support her boyfriend named Rocco.
Suzee loves Rocco,
she loves him so much she’s got her eyes closed as she describes him:
“6 foot 2, 193 pounds and, girlfriend, his arms so big and long they
wrap around me twice like I’m a little Suzee sandwich.”
Little Suzee Sandwich is rapt, she blindly snips and clips at my poor punk
She snips and clips and snips and clips, she pauses, I look in the
mirror: “Holy shit, I’m bald.”
“Holy shit, baby, you’re bald.”
Suzee says, finally opening her
eyes and then gasping.
All I’ve got left is little post-nuke clumps of orange fuzz.
And I’ll never
get a receptionist job now.
But Suzy waves her manicured finger in my face: “Don’t you worry,
baby, I’m gonna get you a job at the dancing club.”
“Baby, let me tell you, the boys are gonna like a bald go go dancer.”
That said, she whips out some clippers, shaves my head smooth and insists
I’m gonna love getting naked for a living.
None of this sounds like my idea of a good time, but I’m broke and I’m
bald so I go home and get my best panties.
Suzee lends me some 6 inch pumps,
paints my lips bright red, and gives me 7 shots of Jack Daniels to relax
8pm that night I take the stage.
and by god,
HOLY SHIT I’M NAKED IN A ROOM FULL OF STRANGERS THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE
RECURRING NIGHTMARES WE ALL HAVE ABOUT BEING BUTT NAKED IN PUBLIC, I AM
NAKED, I DON’T KNOW THESE PEOPLE, THIS REALLY SUCKS.
A few guys feel sorry for me and risk getting their hands bitten off by
sticking dollars in my garter belt.
My disheveled pubic hairs stand at
full attention, ready to poke the guys’ eyes out if they get too close.
Then I notice this bald guy in the audience, I’ve got a new empathy for
bald people, I figure maybe it works both ways, maybe this guy will stick
10 bucks in my garter.
I saunter over.
I’m teetering around unrhythmically, I’m the surliest, unsexiest dancer
that ever go-go across this hemisphere.
The bald guy looks down into his
beer, he’d much rather look at that than at my pubic mound which has now
formed into one vicious spike so it looks like I’ve got a unicorn in my
I stand there weaving through the air.
The strobe light is illuminating my pubic unicorn.
Madonna’s song Borderline
is pumping through the club’s speaker system for the 5th time tonight:
“BORDERLINE BORDERLINE BORDERLINE/LOVE ME TIL I JUST CAN’T SEE.”
And suddenly, I start to wonder: What does that mean anyway?
“LOVE ME TIL I JUST CAN’T SEE”
Screw me so much my eyes pop out, I go blind, end up walking down 2nd Avenue
crazy, horny, naked and blind? What?
There’s a glitch in the tape and it starts to skip.
I stumble and twist my ankle.
My g-string rides between my buttcheeks making
me twitch with pain.
My head starts spinning, my knees wobble, I go down
on all fours and puke all over the bald guy’s lap.
So there I am.
Butt naked on all fours.
But before I have time to regain
my composure, the strip club manager comes over, points his smarmy strip
club manager finger at me and goes:
“You’re bald, you’re drunk, you can’t dance and you’re fired.”
I stand up.
“Oh yeah, well you stink like a sneaker, pal.”
I peel off one
of my pumps and throw it in the direction of his fat head then I get the
hell out of there.
A few days later I run into Suzee on Avenue A.
Turns out she got fired
for getting me a job there in the first place.
But she was completely undaunted,
she dragged me up to this wig store on 14th Street, bought me a mouse brown
shag wig, then got us both telemarketing jobs on Wall Street.
And I never went to a beauty salon again.
— Maggie Estep (1963 – 2014)
* * *
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…
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