Long, dark, light, straight and curly locks are falling on the floor in barbershops all over the country, and it isn’t from the heads of men. It’s from women, who have recently been shaving over small sections of hair from their heads.The hairstyle women are experimenting with is the newly popular “side-shave” and its many variations. Most people in Trinidad call it the “Anya,” as 2011 Project Runway winner and local designer Anya Ayoung-Chee wore the style while on the television show. It’s also been called the “Fay Ann,” as during Carnival 2012, soca star Fay Ann Lyons came to fetes with her usual dread locks, except half of it had been shorn in a perfectly symmetrical line. “People here would say, ‘What do Fay Ann?’ and make critical comments about the hairstyle, whereas when I had it done in the States I only received compliments,” said Lyons when asked about her hairstyle.
Lyons’ cut has evolved since Carnival and most of her locks have been left on a barber’s floor, with the exception of a strip of well maintained hair at the centre and top of her head.
“It happened because I overslept for a show in New York and I didn’t have enough time to twist and neaten my hair so I went by Problem Child and we cut it,” Lyons said. “It’s turned out to be pretty convenient and very easy to maintain and it fits my personality because I have this sort of in-between, rocker-chick kind of style.” “I love it, I can go in the pool and not worry about having to do it. When Bunji (soca star Ian Alvarez, Lyons’ husband) goes to the barber about once a week, I go with him and get it done.” Though it was born out of necessity, Lyons says the hairstyle has become a part of her. “It helps to identify me.”
Lyons said she wasn’t surprised that the ‘side-shave’ was growing in popularity. “People here wait till the rest of the world doing something to say it is cool, but if it comes to a local artiste being daring the first question they ask is, ‘What was she thinking?’” The style has gained in popularity over the past year, so much so that some barbers see their female clients more than the males.
“Since earlier this year, I have done the style on more than 50 different women. A lot of women gravitate towards it because it makes a statement,” said Allister Shade, owner of Lessie’s barber shop in St. James. “A haircut like that says “I’m confident. Take notice of me.” “Some of the women get daring and do patterns within the shaved area and they maintain it, but I have seen some come back after a while and shave the whole thing off to do a different style.” Marketing manager Jeannette Clarke is one of the few women brave enough to have the ‘side-shave’ in a corporate setting. “My personality has always been outgoing, daring and outspoken and this hairstyle just complemented it,” Clarke said. “When dealing with clients they usually get the same first impressions and it’s almost never negative. “They see the hairstyle and see me as bold and confident and trust me, to be able to rock this hairstyle you have to have self-confidence,” she smiled. “And once I open my mouth and people realise I am intelligent as well, things run smoothly.”
Clarke tries not to be like anyone else and so her side-shave looks similar to an ocean’s gentle wave, instead of straight lines.
“My barber and I came up with the design and we usually keep things simple,” said Clarke. “One of the cool things is that I am 41 and no one ever believes that. The hairstyle has a lot to do with it.” Despite having, what is considered by most, a funky hairdo. Clarke wears power suits to work and rarely dresses casually to the office. This bold hairstyle may keep you young, make a statement and declare to the world that you are a bold, self-confident woman but I know that not everyone sees it that way. I, too, have surrendered to the appeal of the side-shave. One Sunday several months ago, morning I went to a barber, took a comb, separated my hair in a right angle on the side and said, “Shave here.” I have loved it ever since, but I have also had to put up with a lot of negative comments, like relatives asking me if I’d lost my mind or the mother of the guy I was interested in asking him why in the world I had done “that” to my head. Though it may seem different and bold now to shave of the side of your head, you might recall that 20 years ago, having dreadlocks was “different” and even frowned upon.