Waves… By Any Means Necessary


I take real good care of my hair. In fact, I’ve cut my own hair since I was in the 11th grade and have only been to the barbershop twice since 1988. I’ve invested a good amount of money in professional clippers over the years to keep my cuts tight, but only through training my hair through brushing have I been able to maintain the waves. Over the years, I’ve used a variety of hair greases and pomades from Murray’s to Nu Nile to Sportin’ Waves to maintain them. However, there used to be a time when I didn’t have waves. A time when I used to look at cats and admire the smooth look of their hair. I so desperately wanted to have waves and I was willing to do anything to get them. This is a true story.


If I recall there was an older dude named Anthony who attended the same church as I did. He had a sister my age, but I always noticed how slick his waves were. I mean, they were like you saw in the ads in the Ebony magazine. One day I conjured up enough nerve to ask him how to got his waves. He just told me that you had to keep brushing your hair and they would come. So what did I do do the next few days? Yep, I brushed my hair. I carried a brush with me wherever I went. I brushed my hair when I was watching TV, I brushed my hair on the bus, I brushed my hair when I walked to the 7-Eleven to play video games, I brushed my hair constantly.


After a few days, I didn’t notice a change and I got frustrated. I opened up the Yellow Pages in search of a barber or salon that could do the trick. There is was… Brenda Lee’s Hairstylists. The ad clearly said “we do permanent waves”. I was cised (hyped for the non-DC folks), I knew I was gonna have me some waves. I called the salon and the voice the picked up sounded like a white lady. I said to her “How much for permanent waves?” and she answered back “Fifty five dollars”. Good Lawd, that was a lot of money for a kid in 7th grade with no job. For the next 2 hours I called various salons and barbershops and inquired about permanent waves. None of them gave me the answer I wanted.


That afternoon as I rode my bike down to the Safeway to get some candy and ice cream, I came upon the perfect solution. I spent about an hour in the aisle containing the beauty and hair products and eventually settled on a small red can of Dax Wave and Groom. I had seen that one in Ebony magazine and the guys in their ad had the smoothest waves ever. I pulled out a few dollars that I had saved up and made the purchase. I was so happy, I probably started to hyperventilate as I walked back home. I then went into the beauty supply store and bought a doo rag. I had seen my cousin Q-Tip in Carolina wear one and he had waves too, so it had to be good for me to have one if I wanted waves.



That night before I went to bed I was determined to have some waves when I woke up. So I put a small amount of grease on my palm and massaged it into my hair. I threw the doo rag on and went to sleep. Got up the next morning, ripped the doo rag off and nothing had changed. My hair still looked the same. I did this for 3 straight nights to no avail. I began to get more frustrated and figured to myself that maybe I wasn’t using enough grease. So that evening before I went to bed, I emptied the entire of Dax Wave & Groom can onto my hair and into my scalp. From there I brushed my hair for about an hour and then put the doo rag on. Wrong move. I woke up the next morning, snatched off the doo rag and uggggggggggh, what the hell!!!!!???. Being that I had used almost an entire can of grease, that stuff had stuck to my hair and now my head looked like a cupcake with too much vanilla icing. I couldn’t even brush it, it was so thick. Now keep in mind, I didn’t have a ‘Fro or nothing, but my hair wasn’t that short either. I began to comb it and the grease began to come out onto the comb. But even that wasn’t enough to undo the damage that I had done. This was not something that I could undo myself, I needed mom to help. However, I hesitated to open the bathroom door to show my her.


When I finally opened the door, I don’t recall exactly what she said but the look was one that said “look at this foolishness”. She did her best to assist me in the combing the grease out process to no avail. So she did the only thing left to do. Mom grabbed a butter knife from the drawer in the kitchen and proceeded to scrape as much grease from my hair as she could. By this time, I was supposed to have been on the bus for school. But because of my desperate attempt to have waves, the morning was spent trying to get all of that grease from my hair. It was so bad that when my head was placed under the running water in the tub, the water just beaded off. When that process failed, out came the trusty People’s Drugstore hair clippers and the scissors. Not only was I not gonna have waves, but I was gonna be bald or very close to it. Little by little each strand of hair hit the floor. I had patches all over my head… it was terrible. The crazy thing is that even with my hair cut short, my scalp still was greasy. That was one hell of a morning. I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. That definitely goes in the top five of one of the dumbest things I did as a kid.

My 8th grade yearbook photo. The first pic taken with waves in my hair.
(click the pic to see larger version with more detailed waves… lol)

19 thoughts on “Waves… By Any Means Necessary”

  1. Nice hair!

    I’m learning to take care of my hair without going to the salon.

    There’s no one who cares about your hair more than you do. That’s probably why yours looks so nice.

  2. Men do crazy stuff like this too???
    Good post.

    My hubby was a Sportin Waves man till he finally shaved all of it off this past year. Now he rocks the KOJAK…LOL

  3. And they say we women are anal about our hair. I’ve always said men are just as focused on hair as we are it’s just that we tend to have more of it. This was funnee!!! Awwwwwwww you were a handsome lil’ youngin!

  4. Difference is i can go every 3 weeks spend $25 and be set for another 3….ALot of dudes gotta go sometimes 1-2 times a week..barbers are making a killing…..

  5. Excellent post. Even though I can’t really relate. I mean, generally a hair dryer and a comb does the trick for me.

    But it’s nice to let the ladies know grooming is a BIG issue with men too. – Well done.

  6. LOL @ you and the waves! I bet you looked a mes with the hairgrease! Your waves look nice; very nice indeed.

    On another note: I love those Getty Images. I even smiled when I saw the one of T.O. I hope the Cowboys pull a good this season…

  7. Now that was funney for real! But you know what we have all been there. How about with me it was so much grease that the do rag was stuck to my head and woudln’t peel off. We had to almost scrub it off.

    Your post really brought back some memories.

  8. @ urban butterfly – Thanks. Sometimes I think I spend way too much time trying to perfect my hair though.

    @ BluJewel – ‘Preciate that. Oh, I’ve done other things as well. I’ll save those adventures for another blog entry.

    @ 1969 – I’ve never sat down and told this story to a bunch of guys, so I really have no clue if other brothers have done similar things.

    @ Royce’s Daughter – Funnee huh??? I suppose it was in so many ways. At that age I cared more about my hair, than I did girls. Thanks for the compliment.

    @ NegroPino – Yeah, barbers are making a killin’. That’s exactly why I’ve cut my own hair for close to 20 years.

    @ Phoenix – Okay, it’s not that funny. So the ladies have a ‘few’ years on us as far as hair concern goes. Better y’all, than us.

    @ Terry – Believe it or not, I’ve actually sat under a hair dryer before. That’s a S-Curl story for the ages though. I looked like one of the Five Heartbeats.

    @ JoJo D. – Thanks. It was a real big mess, trust me. I’ll never look at a can of grease the same.

    @ NSearchOfMe – That was indeed a classic story that I must share with my kids. God willing, I’ll be around long enough to share it with the grandkids as well.

    @ The Humanity Critic – Dreads??? I couldn’t do it. If I go 2 weeks without cutting my hair, something is wrong.

    @ Rahman – Stuck to your head??? Naw, I didn’t have it that bad. It’s good to know there’s another brother who’s had a similar experience.

    @ Ma – C’mon Ma, you don’t remember that???? I’ll never forget the look in your eyes that morning. I suppose that this was just one small incident in a series of my misadventures as a kid.

    @ The Stiltwalker – Uhhhhhhhhh… No!

    @ A woman on the move – Nope, brothas do spend time trying to get it all together too.

  9. Good story.
    I have a friend that still spends a considerable amount of time grooming his hair, and just about everything else.

    I never knew some brothers went through all that just for waves.

    Personally hitting up the barber 1-2 a week is a bit too much but some brother got to keep it razor-tight.

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