Picture this. It’s late afternoon in Swindon (yes, another one of the no man’s land, heaven forsaken towns Bristol Uni likes to send it’s medical students to), and you’re waiting in the staff room with a couple other med students for handover. For those of you who don’t watch Holby City, handover is when the doctors and senior nurses who’ve been doing the previous shift tell the doctors and nurses who are doing the next shift about what’s been happening on the ward. Although I’m pretty sure they don’t show handovers in Holby City, because apparently it’s just one continual reel of doctors and nurses attempting to impregnate each other and getting called in front of HR for their shenanigans. I don’t watch it because it makes medicine look more interesting that it actually is, and trust me, when you’ve spent a whole day being drained of life in a GP surgery you’ll realise that most middle aged male GP’s are not doing modelling as their side hustle, hence the idea of them frolicking in the medicine cupboard is slightly nauseating. But they do do wonderful jobs in their community, I should add.
So, it’s been a fairly typical paediatric placement day in Swindon. Wake up late, say a prayer, try to load Pop Pilates youtube video and epically fail because internet is cack, pretend to do self designed semi-workout, congratulate self on 5 minute pseudo workout, feel a bit pious at your own healthiness, eat breakfast, return to damp smelling bedroom, read a Paediatric textbook for a few minutes, then finally decide to sod it all and watch back to back episodes of Come Dine with me until afternoon handover. (Disclaimer: Some of what I write is slightly exaggerated. All medical students have to satisfactorily achieve required levels of competence before they qualify. Just for those of you who might get smart ideas about to the Daily Mail on NHS money being used to fund trash TV habits)
So, back to handover. There I was slumped in a chair in the corner of the staff room, waiting for the important people to arrive, and bemoaning the thought of two hours spent reassuring over anxious parents that, no, although I am a student, I cannot kill your precious darlings with the sole use of a stethoscope, when I realised that I still had my hoodie on. Swindon, like any other place forsaken by all that is good and right in the world, is perishingly cold. Now obviously, I couldn’t be taken seriously as an individual with my ‘handover hoodie’ attire, so like any normal person, I proceeded to take it off. But as my elbow did the cursory stretch-out-one-side-of-jumper move, it dawned on me that something on my head could well impede this endeavour. My Afro wig.
You see, I was going through a bit of an experimental phase with my hair, and was also in a lazy phase where I just couldn’t be bothered to do my hair at all. I’ve been natural all my life (for people not familiar with curly hair, that means I’ve never chemically straightened it), done afros, twists, braids, extension braids, frohawks etc. So I’d bought this afro wig called La’Jay (manufacturer’s name, not mine). There’s actually no apostrophe, but I feel like if you’re going to give a wig a ghetto name, you should just go all the way with it and add the correct symbols. Anyway, La’Jay was perched rather precariously on my head and I realised that there was a high possibility that she could be swooped off along with my jumper, revealing a collection of badly done braids that would leave me looking like an extra from Roots. So I did what any intelligent woman would do, and excused myself to find a quiet corner behind a filing cabinet where no one could see me. Bad move. Nowhere is private in a hospital, nowhere.
I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the few moments of oxygen deprivation that usually occur when you have a big head and the neck of the jumper won’t fit round it. I attempted to remove my jumper – I felt La’jay quiver and slither, (guys, she was fighting to stay on) and eventually slide roughly 7 centimetres from one side of my head to the other, leaving her dangling pathetically from one of the 5 giant braids I’d done. In the midst of this my hand got stuck in the jumper leaving me panting like an asthmatic chimpanzee, glasses pressed into my eyeballs, wig hanging on by a thread and 3 braids sticking into the air, almost as if to salute my ratchetness. Did I mention that all this was attempted squatting behind a a filing cabinet in the ‘hovering over a dirty loo seat’ position? At this very moment, one of the doctors decided to walk by. It all happened in slow motion. She looked at me….I squinted out of the side of my glasses that wasn’t misted up from my pseudo asthma attack, and then she gazed at La’Jay and the 3 braids standing at attention, in wonderment and fear. All this happened in about 3 seconds as she quickly collected herself and pretended not to notice.
What I failed to mention, is that this wig looked absolutely redunkulous. Like, seriously, I do not know what I was thinking. It had brown highlights – I don’t have brown highlights in my hair. The main point of this post actually, was to have a little rant about how many ridiculous looking weaves and wigs I’ve seen over the past few weeks, but I got carried away with the story. What I don’t understand is how wearing fake hair became such a normal part of our culture? And I don’t just mean black folk – I went into the hair shop last week and their were at least 2 white girls buying weave. The majority of them don’t even look good. I mean, black people wearing straight bond wigs with straight faces.Like, this is not a joke for them, they are actually living life in their Gwyneth Paltrow wig. White people only wear afro wigs if they’re trying to be funny. Isn’t that saying something? My story is here to tell you that that stuff can be dangerous. I almost cut of my breathing and gave a senior colleague a heart attack. Let that be a lesson to you. What do you guys think about the wig and weave culture? Has it gone too far?