Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Braids ‘R’ Us


I MUST confess that by last autumn I was becoming a little jaded at the failure of any bank to offer interest rates good enough to provide a living to a rat, and by the less-than-convincing performance of the stock markets.

You will tell me I should have done the sensible thing and used my meagre savings as a down payment on a Lamborghini. But I didn’t. Instead I decided to back a hard-working friend who wanted to launch a business.

You will tell me I should have foreseen that 2020 would not be a good year to start up a chain of hairdressers and nail bars. All I can say is that climate scientists have been prophesying imminent doom for 35 years and nothing bad has happened yet.

All right, I should have known the Government would turn into a middle-aged fat lady, standing on a chair, holding her hems and screaming at the sight of a mouse, or in this case a virus rare enough to excite Professor Neil Ferguson. But hindsight isn’t going to help now. If I’m going to get my money back, we have to restart this business, and it will need an edge.

There’s going to be a new USP. We’re going to specialise in bobs intended for middle-aged women with enough resources to pay the high prices we will charge for our special service.

Managers will be instantly available to deal with any complaints, which will be met with concern and speedy rectification.

Other styles will be available. Any young client may have braids, and black clients may have their hair straightened.

We know this policy is controversial and we expect criticism. There will be those who say this is shameful capitalist exploitation of cultural assimilation.

But I say most of the customers we are targeting will be too confused by their unconscious racism to take much notice. Most of them will have been educated between the 1970s and the 1990s, when they were given books at school teaching them not be racists, and they cannot understand why the equality they were taught has now itself become racist.

Frankly, our customers will not understand why, if it’s all right for their sons to declare that they have become daughters, it is not all right for their daughters to wear braids.

We will do our best to help them. Instead of chicklit novels, we will provide a BLM-approved reading list which will direct clients to understand their privilege.

Music will feature recordings familiar to the generation we hope to attract, specially overdubbed to avoid causing any customer to feel hurt. All Beatles songs will come with a spoken preamble warning that they contain cultural assimilation, and offensive use of pronouns will be eliminated, along with all gender bias. Starting with They Love You, They Said They Said, and I Wanna Be Your Trans.

Some trans women may still feel unsafe in our salons. To alleviate this, we intend to set up a free counselling service in which Relate-trained experts will explain to them how they are fully entitled and equipped to make love to themselves.

There will be no videos. Too much risk of offence. Can you imagine the anguish if BLM were to discover that we were showing Trading Places? The one in which white comedian Dan Aykroyd blacks up to play a white man who has blacked up? No wonder Sky says this film has outdated attitudes, language and cultural depictions which may cause offence. Eddie Murphy, how could you?

I did suggest that we show The Battle of Algiers on a permanent loop, but some of the staff felt it might be too advanced for the client base. 

We have now come to a compromise, in which customers will be empowered by taking a cue from a film about a slave revolt. Only the catchphrase will be slightly altered, so that when asked to identify examples of racism in the salon, they will stand up in turn and declare: ‘I am Karen.’

Every bob will come with a free T-shirt saying ‘I am Karen’. If I can persuade TCW to part with that nice picture of a smiling secretary sitting at an ancient typewriter to use on it, then we have a business model.

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