Two Cents Plus Tax
Episode Fourteen: “White Boy Summer”
Transcript has been lightly edited for readability.
(theme song plays)
K: I’m Krystal.
C: I’m Caitlin.
K: And this is …
K & C: Two Cents Plus Tax!
C: Hey Krystal.
K: Hey, Caitlin.
C: How are you?
K: I am okay. I’m (laughs) trying to be chill about the fact that we’re not in a long weekend anymore.
C: I know.
K: Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend and it was so nice to know that like, oh I don’t have to cram everything I wanna do or watch into Saturday or Sunday, because I also have Monday off, but that’s not true this weekend, so we’ll see.
C: No. It’s only two days.
K: I know. Last weekend was actually—at my job, we actually even also got the Friday off, so we had like a four-day weekend—
C: (whispering) Dang!
K: I know. And I’m just kinda like, you can’t tease us with those kinds of things, like (laughs) it’s not right to sort of give us this fake sense of what it would be like if we worked four days a week instead of five.
C: Work is the biggest scam. I think we’ve said that before, but it really is. Work is the biggest scam.
K: It truly … nothing about it is good.
C: And I’m not a fan of that scam.
K: (laughs) Yeah, this is the only scam we don’t like and are not interested in.
K: Yeah, no. It’s terrible. I’m really interested in seeing like over the next five or six years post- … I don’t even know. Not post-pandemic, but post- the first stages we’ve kinda just been in, what work looks like for everyone.
K: Cuz it’s clearly gonna be super different, and hopefully a little less terrible, but I mean, who knows? Other things might get worse (laughs) so …
C: I don’t know! (laughs)
K: You know? I mean other things about working might get worse.
K: But yeah, how are you?
C: I am doing okay. I’m grateful it’s Saturday. I’m grateful to be here with you. We—Toshio is missing, we should say.
C: We do not know where he is. We have not heard from him.
K: He’s MIA.
C: But we’re not concerned yet.
K: No. It’s quite early, so we have an idea of what’s goin on (laughs), but—
K: —so we’ll see if he pops up later in the recording.
C: Yeah. (laughs) We’ll see. So we have an interesting—I mean, we always have an interesting topic.
C: In my opinion. But this one … this one I’m excited about because this is something that I had wanted to talk about with you, and then one of our patrons, who supports our Patreon, Dr. O., also slid into our DMs on Instagram and suggested this this week.
C: And I said, now that the fans have spoken, we have to do it.
K: Right. Gotta give em what they want.
C: We have to. Cuz we do it for the fans. We do it for the IRS. So this week, we’re gonna be discussing hair!
K: Yeah! I mean, (laughing) we both have a lot to say about this, I’m sure, just from our respective, you know, experiences as—
C: Yeah! There’s so much to talk about with hair.
K: For sure.
C: Hair is so political. I mean, I caused major controversies in my junior high school with my hair—
K: Oh gosh.
C: I caused them to do a policy—well, maybe I shouldn’t take credit for it, (laughing) but I like to anyway.
C: Yeah, so hair … there’s a lot to discuss. I don’t even know where to start, to begin.
K: So I wanna know about this story, about your junior high, but like—
K: —maybe we should start like before that. So prior to that, when you were like much younger—
K: —like, your own hair? Did you have strong feelings about how it looked, or did you have other—another person in your life where you’re like, they have good hair and I want my hair to look like that? Generally how did you feel about it prior to this incident?
C: So back when I was about nine years old, I went through a very intense Sally Jessy Raphael lookalike phase—
K: No! (laughs)
C: —where I had the short hair. I did, and if I can … I’m sure I have some pictures. I’ll try and post some, but—
K: Oh my goodness.
C: I had red glasses; I had short hair.
K: No! (laughs)
C: And this was a big phase for me. I don’t know what caused it, and—
K: Did you like … it obviously wasn’t intentional, because—
K: I think part of it is just like, that was kind of the style at the time. Oversize glasses; short, kind of … not pixie-ish haircut—
C: Middle-aged lady hair. (laughs)
K: Yeah. It’s a very specific that look you saw a lot on … moms (laughing) in like 1993 or whatever.
C: And me. And nine-year-old girls.
C: I don’t know where it came from, and so that was definitely a … that was a formative fashion choice for me.
K: (laughs) It definitely was a choice.
C: Yeah. And then later, when I was—so, flash-forward to junior high school.
C: I was going through … I was goin through some things. And I was starting to discover like indie rock and punk rock, and so I was, you know, gonna do my hair. So I had an older sister—I still do. (laughs)
C: But she—
K: She still exists.
C: Yeah, so I think … you know, back at that time … god. Dating myself, but—you know, in the 90s, it was not like now, where you can just hop online and order—
C: —you know, Manic Panic or whatever. Especially not in Little Rock, Arkansas.
C: Like I think we got hair dye in Minneapolis when we were visiting my sister, which is another story.
C: But like, it was a journey to get hair dye. It was a decision; there was intention behind it.
C: So, you know, Sally’s Beauty Supply—shoutout to Sally’s.
K: Hey, shoutout to Sally’s!
C: Because my sister bleached my hair, and I have a very vivid memory, because my mother did not want me to dye my hair. My sister was—she bleached my hair, which, oh my god. Painful, and stinks, and all of that. But—
K: Wait, does it hurt to get your hair bleached? I guess it would hurt.
K: Oh! I didn’t know that.
C: Yes, yes. Oh, god. It does! It burns your scalp. But we can talk about that later, cuz like—
K: Well, yeah, I have other things I’ve experienced.
C: You’re a Black woman; I’m sure you have experienced things. So—
K: I can relate to that, yes. (laughs)
C: Exactly. So yeah, bleach definitely can burn, and anyway, you have to do that—strip all the (laughs) nutrients out of your hair so it will take the dye. My sister’s dying my hair purple. My mom walks by and sees my sister dying my hair and gives me this death glare.
C: Silent; does not say anything to me; and then keeps it moving. I was just like, whoa, like she’s so mad at me.
C: But that was the start of it. And so then I went to school. Eighth grade, you know, I have this new hairdo; it’s just—
C: —you know, it’s wild. This purple color, and … and that whole year, it was like every single color.
C: And then the next year, they implemented this policy, which is absurd, and there’s no way you can actually do this, but they were like, you know, no wild colors. You’re not allowed to do this. So that was like a big thing. And then of course now, it’s like, who doesn’t dye their hair? It’s just—it is not a big deal.
K: I mean, me. I’m like the only person who doesn’t. But yeah—
C: Have you ever dyed your hair?
K: Nope. Never. Not once.
C: What about styles?
K: I mean, I’ve definitely had a lot of different looks, but for some reason I just never was interested in dying it.
C: What kind of styles have you experimented with with your hair?
K: I mean, it’s funny. When you were talking about like … how your hair was when you were a kid (laughs) vs. like the significant change in high school—for me, when I think about my hair as a kid, I think a lot of Black girls go through sort of the (clears throat)—they go through the transition, right? You’re a kid; you’re very little; your hair’s just whatever it is. You’re not doing anything to it to like necessarily change the texture. And then you get a little bit older, and one of the things I feel like is just a rite of passage for young girls is getting your hair straightened.
K: Young Black girls. And not just like with … you know, people are probably imagining like a flat iron or something. I’m talking about a hot comb. Like a[n] old-school hot comb—
C: Yeah. The relaxer?
K: Well, it’s like—so the hot comb is like the—
C: I’m ignorant. I’ll admit, I am very ignorant. So I’m just gonna say that.
K: No, lemme explain it. So the hot comb—it’s the first stage. The hot comb is the first stage of like your straightening experience.Because pretty much every Black woman—or at least at the time, you know, when I was growing up in like [the] 80’s and 90’s—it was very expected that at some point in your life you would just relax your hair or straighten it, you know, in some way. And so when you’re a kid, you sort of go through the stages of that happening, like when you’re very little, you don’t really do anything to it. And then when you’re a little bit older, you sort of get to the physical straightening, which like, you or someone in your family or someone at a beauty shop or whatever, would use a hot comb. And a hot comb—google it if you’ve never seen one (laughs)—but it basically looks like a heavy comb made of metal, and you put it on the stove.
K: You put it on the stove, and it gets really hot, and then you use it to comb through your hair and straighten it without chemicals. And so when I was a kid (clears throat), my grandma—my mom’s mom—would always like do my hair, straighten my hair, with a hot comb. And if you’ve ever had your hair straightened with a hot comb, you … like, it’s such a unique experience. Anyone who has had it done and is listening to this knows exactly what I mean. It’s not like getting your hair straightened with a flat iron, where you’re just kinda like going through and there’s no real fear of anything dangerous happening to you. You have a super hot piece of metal and it’s coming very close to like—
K: —your skin in various ways, so like (laughs) whenever you are getting it done and you’re a kid, you’re just constantly sitting there with like all your muscles tightened, like “Please don’t burn my neck. Please don’t burn my ear. (laughing) Please don’t burn my forehead!” Because it just always—and it always happens anyway.
K: Like you always come out of it with like, some little mark on the back of your neck, or on the top of your ear, or whatever. And you’re—whoever’s doing it is always adamant that like, they’re not gonna burn you! You’re gonna be fine.
K: And it’s just like, no, it’s never fine. There’s always some incident. So like (clears throat) that was like a phase in my life. Probably when I was [in] like, you know, third, fourth grade.
K: And then, once you become a little bit older, you start to actually straighten your hair using chemical relaxers. And there’s a whole—(laughs) there’s a whole conversation to be said about whether or not that’s a chill thing to do to a young child. You know, to sort of change their hair texture using these harsh chemicals.
K: But, you know, pretty much everybody I knew did that. And so probably when I was like maybe eleven or twelve, that’s when I started getting my hair like chemically relaxed. And if you’ve never seen a relaxer, they’re just like products you could buy at a drugstore or whatever. And they have different brands, and when you’re a kid, they have brands that are like specifically for kids.
C: Oh yeah, I remember those in the drugstore.
C: I can’t remember the name of it. The really popular one …
K: Yeah, the biggest one that I remember that probably a lot of people have had experience with is Just For Me—
K: —which is like such a creepy (laughs) brand name for a serious product—serious chemical product—but yeah, it’s basically like a relaxer is just like these two—like a base and then another thing, and you mix em together. And they’re pretty harsh, like Caitlin was mentioning about the bleach, and you basically just comb—you section out your hair, you comb it through, you put it onto your hair—on all of—you know, you go through all the sections and you put it all over your hair—and you just sit with it, and it chemically straightens your hair. And like Caitlin just mentioned with the bleach, it at a certain point starts to burn. And that’s how you know that it’s working.
C: Yeah. (laughs) Right.
K: Which is like, (laughs) so fucked up in so many ways.
C: I know.
K: You’re like, yes, it’s burning your scalp; that means it’s doing its job. Like that’s … that’s bad. You know? (laughs) We shouldn’t be torturing ourselves in that way. But like yeah, and then you go and you rinse it out, and then your hair is usually straightened. And you have to—not have to, but depending on who’s applying it and how well they do it, it can be (laughs) … you can have sections that are like less straight than others, and it’s a whole thing. But yeah, I did that for basically on and off my entire childhood, so probably from like eleven until I was like in college, (laughs) and then like very rarely when I was in college. But yeah, it’s a whole process that I feel like people have moved away from a lot, which I think is really good. Because one of the things about … you know, just like bleaching your hair, relaxing your hair is super damaging. (sniffs)
K: It makes your hair super dry and brittle and easy—you know, it can break really easily, and a lot of people come out of their childhood or adolescence with hair that’s super unhealthy and they’re just like, I don’t understand why. And it’s like, well, you’ve been literally putting these super harsh chemicals on it for like (laughs) a decade. Like that’s … you know, that’s why. But yeah, when I was a kid that was pretty much, you know, it was like [a] relaxer cycle. You’d do it every like six weeks or two months or whatever, and it was always like, oh god, not this again, (laughs) you know?
K: It was always like when mom would get one I’d be like ugh, no! I don’t want to. But then you’re just like, that’s … that’s the choice they make. They’re the parent. You can’t be like, no! I don’t want my hair relaxed! I mean, you probably could, but like what’s … they don’t have to listen to you. (laughs)
K: So yeah. Relaxing my hair was like a thing that—and at the time, I was just like—I didn’t want it done because like, I didn’t wanna deal with the whole process and the burning and whatever, but like I wasn’t anti-straightening my hair.
K: I was just like, well that’s the thing that you’re supposed to do, you know? I never ever questioned whether or not it was necessary, you know?
C: It’s so deeply ingrained in our culture like don’t wear your—
C: if you’re a Black woman, don’t wear your hair naturally.
K: Yeah, you don’t wanna go out with your hair (laughs) … you know. Nappy, as they say.
K: It just used to be considered a really bad thing. Which is so funny, because like my grandma, she’s not super old. My grandma had my mom when she was young; my mom had me when she was young. So my grandma was only like thirty-eight or something when I was born.
K: And she, you know, lived through the 60’s and was like a young woman in the 60’s and used to wear afros, and I’m just like, why the shift, you know? Because there was a significant shift in like the 70’s and 80’s away from that kind of like Black is Beautiful—
K: —big afro, kinda natural hair kinda thing, and it just—it really turned, and it turned hard. And I just—I never—I mean, I’m sure there’s research and whatnot done about why this particularly happened, but yeah it was just so interesting to me. Cuz like, the older women were always the ones who were the most adamant about like, your hair has to look … you know. “Presentable.”
K: Which meant, you know, not nappy; straight; had to be all combed nicely, like you just couldn’t … yeah. It’s just a very interesting kind of shift. And I mean, I think we’re seeing the opposite shift now, which is I think really healthy (laughs). But yeah it was just a thing. Everybody did it, just that’s what you do.
K: It was a part of your childhood. Yeah.
C: And you’re not doin that at all these days.
K: I have not had my hair straightened—I mean, we couldn’t—I kinda wanted to let you talk a little bit more, but like (laughs) I haven’t had my—once I got to college … well actually, once I got to high school, I sort of would alternate between having my hair straightened and having braids. Like I would wear braids a lot, so like you know, braids where you feed in braids. Where you have like hair … it’s not real hair. You could get real hair, but like (laughing) it’s a hair-like product that you get. You braid it into your existing hair and you just have long braids.
K: But people were calling it, in those days, extensions. But yeah, I used to alternate between having braids and just wearing my relaxed hair, and I did that for probably a really long time, even in college. And then when I was in graduate school was when I finally was like—because I was far away—like I could alternate between braids and natural hair, or you know, relaxed hair when I was in college because I still lived pretty close to my family—
K: So I would just like come home on a weekend and like my cousin would braid my hair for me. (laughs) You know, and I’d pay her.
C I love that
K: Oh, this is like a normal thing. I don’t—
C: No, I know it is! Like to me, it’s just—and again, I’m such the … I’m really showing I’m like, the white lady. But—
K: (laughs) No, I mean—
C: But it is such a …
K: It’s definitely like a cultural—
C: It’s such a huge cultural thing.
K: Yeah, for sure.
C: There’s such intimacy with that.
C: And it’s so special, like it’s … I mean, again. I don’t know. I’m sounding like a dipshit. But—
K: I mean, no, it’s true! Like—
C: I just think it’s really, like … it’s such a unique, awesome thing with Black culture that I certainly didn’t have with my family. You know.
K: It’s a really interesting skill because like (laughs) … this is probably not true, but this is how I feel. Every Black family has the people in the family who are like, the hair people.
K: Like they know how to do hair. You know? Whether it’s braiding; they know how to do like extensions, you know, or weaves; they know how to give haircuts; there’s always in each family like the people you go to. And my mom is not that person.
K: She’s never … (laughs) my mom is … the thing I say about my mom is she’s like really good at the emotional, psychological part of parenting, but all the like domestic stuff—
K: —she’s like, I hate it. Like I hate all of it. So she knows how to do just enough to like get by, but she’s not ever gonna become the person that’s like, oh I’m like Martha Stewart. She’s never gonna be that.
K: So she was not the hair person, so my aunt—the sister after her—she’s really good at braiding, and her daughter, who’s my cousin, is the one who’s really good braiding as well, and so I used to just go home and be like, Brittany can you braid my hair this weekend? And she’d be like, okay. (laughs) And I’d give her like, whatever, forty dollars or something. (laughs) Again, this is showing how long ago this was (laughs), cuz you could pay forty dollars to get your hair done—
C: Right. No.
K: —and she would just braid it. But yeah, every family, I feel like, has the people who like—every Black family has the people who are good at braiding. Or good at, you know, cutting hair, or doing weaves or whatever. But yeah, when I was in graduate school was when I—because I was in Boston, I didn’t know anyone, you know? (laughs) And it was like—to me, it was a crapshoot of like, do I go online and find someone to braid my hair, and like what if they do a bad job or I don’t like it or whatever? I just was very nervous about having anybody else like do anything to my hair, cuz I almost never had, so I was just like, you know what? I’m gonna go natural—
K: —which, you know. This is 2010, I guess? So it was kind of becoming like a bigger thing like on the internet, and so I was like, I’m gonna … but the thing about going natural is if you have had your hair relaxed, the thing about relaxer is you relax your whole head, right? But your hair is constantly growing.
K: So after a certain point, your—I think people who are not Black have this experience when they color their hair, but you know, your roots start to grow in, and if you color your hair, they grow in a different color than your other hair is, because it’s new, right? And so when your roots are growing and your hair is relaxed, the roots are very much not relaxed, and the ends are very straight. And so if you’re gonna go natural, you wanna cut off the part of your hair that’s straight, that’s affected by the chemicals, and just sort of start from scratch with the natural curl of your hair. And so what a lot of people do is they do what they call the big chop, where you cut off your relaxed hair and you just grow in your natural hair.
K: And so when I was in Boston in 2010, (laughs) I went to a shop and I looked it up online. I looked it up online and it had really good reviews, and I went to the shop and I was like, can you like … cut off my hair? (laughs) And they were like, uh, are you sure? And I was like, yeah, I think so. (laughs) I got it cut like down very, very, very short. Yeah, I don’t know! It was like maybe a quarter of an inch?
C: Short short!
K: All around. So I had like—I went from like having hair you could put in a ponytail—you know, that length of hair—to like a quarter inch of hair. (laughs)
K: And it was like such a dramatic change that like, my entire body felt different. I was like, is this what men feel like all the time?
K: It was just very like … my head felt lighter; I felt like, you know, there was just so much less stuff I have to do in getting ready for the day, and like washing my hair took zero time.
K: You know. It was just such a like … it was such a freeing experience. But literally everybody that I knew in my program and (laughing) my family when I showed them were like, what the hell (laughs) did you just do?
K: And I was like, I think it’s gonna be fine. And they’re like, uh, okay. What can we do now? Like you already made the choice.
C: (laughs) Support you.
K: Yeah, exactly. (laughs) My grandma, she was not pleased (laughing) when I did that. Because again, like not only is … you know, hair is—it’s very important culturally, like having the right kind of hairstyle is also very important. You know, there’s the whole debate about “good hair” vs. “bad hair”—
K: —in the Black community, and you know. I don’t opt into that, which is why I totally had no problem cutting off my hair even though historically my family had always been like, oh you have such good hair, and I’m like, I don’t care. It’s just hair, you know what I mean? Like it’s … if it grows out of your head, it’s good, is how I think of it.
C: I thought about shaving my head before because I have cut it really really really short after dying it so many times and bleaching it where it’s just—I mean, once you bleach it, it’s dead.
K : Mm-hmm.
C: Well, I guess it’s already dead when it’s coming out of your head but like—
C: —it’s just dry. Like straw. So I have, you know, cut it really short, and I know that feeling of just like … it’s gone!
C: Like going back and … I haven’t had short hair in quite awhile. I have recently dyed it. Or I got … what do you call it? Highlights.
K: Oh yeah! Nice.
C: I got highlights done two weeks ago, so I’m blonder.
C: And I am loving it. Although it was like, I was there so long, and I have so much hair.
C: I have so much hair. It’s just annoying.
K: That’s how I feel.
C: (laughing) And like I remember one time on Twitter you were like … it was something about “If you ever had a white roommate, they leave their hair everywhere,”—
K: Oh my god. Yes.
C: —and I was like, you do not wanna be around me. Because this hair gets everywhere.
K: (laughs) That’s one of the reasons I love living alone now is like, I don’t have to deal with anybody else’s hair anywhere.
K: (laughs) It’s just so—cuz you’d be like, in the bathroom, in the kitchen—
C: Oh, yeah.
K: —like it doesn’t matter which room of the apartment you’re in. You’re like, how did this get here? This is my bedroom! Why is your hair over there?
C: Why is your hair in my pillow?
K: (laughs) Yeah.
C: Have you ever worn a wig?
K: No, but that’s also really popular right now.
C: I was kinda—
K: My sister wears a lot of wigs, and they’re like—
C: Does she?
K: Yes. They’re so cute.
C: I have kinda been thinking about getting into that.
K: I mean, it’s definitely … I think there’s a whole economy of hair stuff, you know, both for wigs and also for weaves, if you’re like plugged into social media. Yeah, there are whole like distributors and places that people buy from, they’re like this place is good and that place isn’t, and they have good deals or whatever. But I think that one of the reasons it’s hard to get into is cuz it’s expensive, (laughs) you know?
K: Because if you like … to get a wig that looks natural or realistic and not like, you know, terrible high school drama department, you know what I mean? (laughs)
C: (laughs) Yeah.
K: It’s a lot of money, and so I think that’s probably why people don’t get into it more, but yeah. I never have because I also kind of … it’s one of those things where you need space. (laughs) Cuz you need to store your wigs somewhere.
K: And like, again, I live in a studio apartment. Like there’s nowhere to put stuff, (laughs) so—
K: I just wouldn’t have anywhere to put them. But yeah, I never—I’ve never thought about it. I don’t know why.
C: I don’t know why I didn’t either!
K: I just feel like, again, it’s a lotta work.
C: Yeah. And it does—yeah. It does seem like a lotta work, and probably more energy than I’m willing to expend right now on wigs.
C: Like I could—I really need to be saving my money. I probably don’t need to be buying wigs and like making this my new hobby.
K: (laughs) It’s definitely big amongst Black women, and … I don’t know. I think I understand it because it like gives you that sort of freedom and flexibility to change your look really easily. Like when I was a kid and I was like (laughs) … one thing I hated so much of going back and forth between wearing my relaxed hair and wearing braids is like … white people literally do not know how to act when you change—are a Black person and you change your hairstyle.
K: Like they absolutely just flip out, and they cannot wrap their heads around the fact that like … you can do different things to your hair that they maybe can’t do to theirs.
C: Yeah. (laughs)
K: And it’s just so weird (laughs)—like, so many times, you know, you get your hair done over the weekend, get your braids in over the weekend, and then you go to school on Monday, and everybody’s like, “Oh my god! Your hair! It grew so long over the weekend!”
K: It’s just like, shut up! Like it’s not … like what is the prob[lem]—what is the fascination with it? I don’t understand. It’s just such a weird thing—
K: —that I don’t know why they can’t grasp that you can change your hair any kind of way you want, like anyone can, you know? (laughs) It’s not like, oh this thing that I’m doing, or Black people, Black women are doing with their hair, is like somehow un … you know, inaccessible for other people; it’s not. Like if you wanted go get braids over the weekend, you could do it too. You know? (laughs)
C: Don’t do that, white people. Don’t get braids.
K: No, don’t—
K: —but like, you could, you know? But yeah, it was just so annoying, every single time. Like … “Oh, your hair,” and like, “Is it your real hair? Is it not? Is it—”(sighs) It’s just like, so many ignorant questions. (laughs) You just have to field—or you still field—I’m sure you have to field them if you are a person who gets braids regularly or wears wigs regularly or whatever—
K: —like people just can’t (laughs) … they cannot wrap their minds around it and it’s just … it’s just really annoying.
C: I can only imagine.
C: And I do remember in junior high and high school—so like the schools I went to were majority Black.
K: Oh, good!
C: And at that point in time, I would say like for white people at that point in time, it wasn’t as much of a thing—
C: —like wigs and extensions and all that. So I wonder if there is … and I feel like I’ve never sounded whiter than I have on this fuckin podcast.
K: (laughs) I’m excited.
C: I just wanna apologize to everyone.
K: Don’t apologize! That’s your lived experience.
C: But I do wonder if there is a jealousy there with Black women being able—because I remember being in high school and like … so my friends, they’d have short hair and then they’d come in with braids, or like these beautiful hairdos, and it was like … that’s amazing! Like your—
K: (laughs) I do think—yeah.
C: —being versatile? I don’t remember saying that, but I’m like, I am jealous. I wanna have that, where you can have short hair, and you can have these beautiful—I would love to have braids. I would love—am I gonna do it? Of course I’m not.
C: Not my place! I’m not gonna do that. But like, box braids. I love box braids. I would die to have box braids!
K: They’re—yeah. Box braids are the best. They’re really fun.
C: So I do wonder—and again, some of my co-workers, like they have all these cute wigs and like, you know, I’m just like, ugh. I think maybe there is some jealousy!
K: I do think part of it is just like, yeah. It’s a cultural thing, and within Black culture there’s much more of an acceptance of like versatility, of changing your look. And that’s just a thing that you do, and it’s not like, oh it’s bad to have a short buzzed haircut today and then tomorrow you’re wearing a super long flowing wig. Like nobody’s gonna judge you (laughs) for that, you know?
K: It’s just this expectation that like … you know, everyone’s hair is versatile and can do a lot of other things to it. It’s just that some cultures, that’s more acceptable than others, and like … for some reason, I just don’t know, white people are not that chill with it, and (laughing) I don’t understand why—
C: We lose our minds.
K: It’s so weird! Like you could just—if you wanted to cut your hair and then wear a super long wig the next day, like … who cares? Why is it a bad thing? But yet it’s definitely like, I think part of the awe when people—white people—would see me with, you know, whatever, a ponytail on Friday and then on Monday, I had box braids; they’d be like … what? Part of it is just they don’t … they can’t imagine that for themselves and so they’re like, oh it’s weird that other people do this. (laughs) Like, I can’t imagine doing it, so it’s weird that other people can. Do you have a favorite … I was thinking about this last night. When I think of people who I think of have a style that I am like, oh that would be cool if I did that, and I’ve always admired it—
K: Do you have any kind of pop culture kind of like hairstyles that imprinted on you?
C: Pop culture icons?
K: Yeah. Cuz I have one that I’m just like, she never … she never misses. (laughs) But yeah.
C: Ooh! I wanna hear that. People … well, it varies. Christina Hendricks, I love.
K: Oh yeah.
C: I love a redhead. And I had my hair red for many, many years.
K: Oh, that would be fun!
C: So Christina Hendricks was one. Connie Britton has really beautiful hair.
K: Oh, white ladies love her hair. For sure. (laughs)
C: White ladies do love her hair. Again, I am a big fan of the braids, like Erykah Badu had this thing where she … I think it was in Guinness Book of World Records or something, where she had these tiny—like the tiniest—
C: —of tiny microbraids.
C: And they were … like seven feet long? I mean, something just outta control.
K: Oh, yeah. I remember this era. Yeah.
C: The tiniest of tinies. Yeah! And that—like I just love braids. I love braids.
K: (laughs) It just like—when you mentioned microbraids, I immediately just … a cold shiver went down my back. Because one of the things about braids, if you don’t know people who have had them and have never had them, they take so long to put them in and to take them out. And so this is why people—so most of the time when you get box braids or like any kind of box braids or feed-in braids where you’re using like extension—hair to extend the length—(laughing) it takes a long time. And so when you say like, oh I’m gonna go get my hair done, and getting your hair done means getting braids, that means you’re dedicating minimum like … eight hours to that process.
K: And if you’re talking about like microbraids, and they’re super long?
C: Oh my god. Days!
K: That’s probably gonna be like a couple days’ worth of like … and it’s one of those things that like, whenever I think back to when I used to have braids, I really liked the way they looked on me, and so I was like, well I would love to go back to that, but then I’m just like, no no no, I’m not sitting anywhere (laughing) for eight hours to get my hair done. Like I am past that point in my life, where I’m like—
K: —this is a thing that I will do regularly, and it … ugh, god. It’s one of the worst parts about having braids, is just like, once they’re in—and also too, you have to braid very tightly so that the hair that you’re feeding in doesn’t fall out or whatever, and so you get it done, which takes forever, and then for like a week after, your hair; your head; your scalp—it’s all so sore (laughing) that you’re just like, oh my god, why did I do this? Every time, and it never fails. But once that period is over, you … it’s kinda like having your period, you know, where you’re like, every time it’s newly terrible and you’re like—
K: —how did I forget this? How do I forget this every four weeks, that it’s like this?
C: I know.
K: But you keep going through it. That’s how it is when you have your hair braided. You block out the part of it that’s terrible, and you only focus on the part where you look really cute. (laughs)
C Yeah. (laughs)
K: But yeah, it’s because they’re—yeah, like you have to be so harsh with installing them, they last for a really long time. So you can get your hair braided and have it, you know, just wear those braids for three months or whatever. It’s really nice to be able to do that. But then you have to also take them out, and that takes forever, and it’s just like a whole process, and I—
C: It’s so much work.
K: It is! But like, to look cute, you know? I mean—
C: I know, suffer.
K: —it’s worth it. Yeah, you know, beauty is pain.
C: Who were you gonna say for good—
K: Well, so (laughs)—
C: —good examples of interesting hair?
K: This is the one that I sort of—not just hair, but also makeup, and I probably—I think I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, but to me, Missy Elliott is like … she’s the all-time top, Mount Rushmore of like … has never looked bad a day in her public life. (laughs)
K: Like I’ve never seen Missy Elliott’s hair not look absolutely perfect.
K: Like every strand in place. Like when she first started, or came on the scene, she had like really short hair and what we call like finger waves, which are basically … you relax your hair and you use like gel and other product to form the hair into loops, and it goes all around your head—just google finger waves. I’m not doing a good job of explaining it. (laughs) But because you use gel, which hardens, they just stay that—and you can put, like spray, other products on it to make them stay that shape. And it just looks so cute and good. When she had that style, when she first came out, I was like, ooh, I wanna cut my hair really short. (laughs) You know, I wanna cut my hair really short; get finger waves. And then she started growing it out, so where she had like a swoop, kind of like pixie cut—
K: —like in the later 90’s, and she was just—she always does really fun, interesting things to her hair, and I’ve never seen it look bad. I’m just like, how are you perfect? You’ve always like—you know, no misses. No skips, as the kids say. (laughs) Like it’s just, you know (laughs), just always looking so good. I don’t understand. But like to me, that’s like the icon of perfect hair, and makeup also.
C: That’s a good example. Cuz I’m trying to think of—I don’t remember her ever looking bad.
K: No! I’ve never seen a look where I’m like, I don’t know, maybe Missy, she missed with that one. Like never! It’s … it’s really hard to have that high of a batting average. You know? That’s—
C: I miss her, too.
K: She’s around! Like she’s—
C: Is she? Cuz I feel like you don’t hear much about—like she feels like she’s staying very much out of the public eye.
K: She’s done—she had that album, or it was like an EP, from like two years ago or maybe last year, that I really liked. It was called … I think it was called Icons, or Iconic, or … but yeah, it was—oh, Iconology is what it was called.
K: And it had like … five or six songs, like not a super long EP. And that was really good, but she hasn’t put out an album in like a really long time.
C: I know!
K: I think partially because she was dealing with some health problems, and so she wasn’t recording music. She was writing music (laughs), cuz she’s written like a million songs for everyone, but she was not recording music, and she only in the last ten years has started to get back into that, but she’s not put out an album in a really long time.
K: Which is sad for us, of people who like music that’s good. (laughs)
C: Right. (laughs)
K: Yeah. That’s my person, where I’m like, she’s never had a bad look. I’ve never seen it and be[en] like, I don’t know. It always works. She has I guess a really good team? I don’t know. But yeah. That’s my—
C: Yeah. I would say—she probably does. I mean, she can afford it. You know, another person who we’ve talked about before, and we’ll just kinda echo it exactly again, but Viola Davis.
K: Oh, yeah. She—and she too alternates between natural hair, wigs, other stuff, really well.
K: Which is something you didn’t use to see in Hollywood.
C: No. I feel like she—no. Like that is a very political decision that is—I applaud her for.
C: Like when she came out—I don’t know if it was the Oscars—
K: I think it was, yeah!
C: —that year, where she came out with the afro—
K: Wearing her natural hair, yup.
C: —and looked incredible!
K: So good.
C: I mean, we’ve said this before, but like, she always looks amazing.
C: And you found her stylist on Instagram.
C: So I started following her, cuz I’m like, yes!
C: But she always looks good.
C: But what about … bad hair?
K: Bad … mm.
C: And failures? Like I had a perm—
K: Oh no! (laughs)
C: —multiple times growing up. That was something that I definitely did. I also had a crimper. Remember crimpers?
K: Oh, no! Yes I do. (laughs)
C: Like, I don’t even know how to describe what a crimper even is.
K: Crimping is like the—it’s like the middle step between straight hair and a perm. It’s like kinda … but it’s not curly. It’s like kinked.
C: (groaning) Yeah.
K: You take the straight hair and you put a kink in it so has like a Z-ish kind of pattern. People, if you’re too young, google crimping.
C: (sighs) Yeah.
K: Or if you’re not young, and you know, and have trauma from it, you know what we’re talking about.
C: Yeah. I definitely had the perm—
K: Oh boy.
C: —and the oversize glasses.
K: Mm. Good look.
C: Blonde geek.
K: Good look.
C: And definitely did the crimper.
C: Are there certain hairstyles that you just … you’re not gonna go for them? On anyone?
K: Um … huh. That’s a good question. I’m trying to think. Like when you said perm, that sort of reminded me of another thing because there’s a difference in the way that term is used between Black people and white people. When Black people say perm, they actually mean relaxer. So you can hear, a lot of times, like oh, I had to go get a perm, she got a perm, whatever. If you’re Black and you’re saying that, or you hear Black people saying that, they don’t mean like a curly perm.
K: They mean the opposite—they’re getting the opposite done to their hair. They’re getting a chemical treatment that’s gonna straighten it, not a chemical treatment that’s gonna make it curly. So that’s a thing that I just was like, oh yeah I forgot that we all used to call them perms (laughs)—
C: Right. (laughs)
K: —all the time. But yeah, a hairstyle that I don’t think is … that I never, you know, that I think is bad. I don’t know! I don’t think I’ve ever really been like, oh, that’s something that no one should get. You know what that—it’s kinda the opposite, but remember a couple … remember. You know. You’ve been alive as long as I have. When that undercut style was happening that unfortunately became associated with like alt-right white people. (laughs) But like, that’s what—
C: Eye-level hair?
K: No … I don’t know who has it that I can—like no one has it anymore.
C: Like shaved underneath and then longer on top?
K: Yeah. For guys, not the one for women. Cuz there’s one for women too. But like, the undercut where it’s like … I don’t know how to describe it. That is a look that I think … on the right person it works, but on the wrong person it looks really awkward.
K: I mean, we talked about it, like … the mullet.
K: Like what are people doing? Why is that coming back again? It feels like every ten years somebody tries to bring back the mullet—
C: The mullet.
K: —and it’s just like, please don’t. (laughs) Like please stop doing it. It was not good in the 80’s, or 70’s and 80s; it’s not good now. I just don’t like it.
C: I guess I—yeah. I guess I don’t understand an ironic haircut.
K: Mm! Mm-hmm. That’s true.
C: I don’t understand it.
K: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
C: And I don’t have anything more—I mean, like literally I’m just like, explain it to me. Why?
K: Yeah. It’s … it’s weird. Especially because like hair, unlike clothes and makeup or whatever, it’s not something that—I mean I guess it could, if you just shave it all off or whatever. But it’s hard to … if you get an ironic haircut, you have to live with that haircut for awhile.
K: Right? Until your hair (laughs) grows out enough, so it’s like why would you wanna do that to yourself? Yeah. I don’t … I don’t get it either. Yeah. It’s not great. You know what? I just thought of one that I think is bad. And it’s not like a specific hair style, but it’s a person who I think has a bad haircut.
C: Ooh, I’ll have to google that cuz I don’t know. I think I’ve seen a photo, but—
K: It’s like—I don’t know how to explain it.
C: It is weird how much we talk about Demi Lovato when we don’t know anything about her.
K: I know! As people who don’t know anything about her, it’s like she constantly comes up. But it’s like … you know how in the 90’s, there was the like Caesar-ish, where—
K: —like they had those little wisps of hair coming forward in the front? And it’s just really—
C: Oh, I see.
K: It’s not good. It’s not a good haircut.
K: I’m sorry, Demi.
C: Again, it’s not … that is not a good haircut. I don’t like that either.
K: It’s not good. (laughs) I think she has the wrong face shape for it. I don’t know. I do like her face shape though, but I do not like the haircut. I’m sorry. I mean, do we have to mention the Rachel? Do we have to talk about that?
C: No. We don’t have to.
K: Okay, good. Cuz I don’t get it. (laughs) I mean, it was a fine—it was fine. I just didn’t understand why everyone flipped out about it.
C: I don’t know! The 90’s were so weird.
K: It just looked like hair! Yeah.
C The 90’s were a weird, weird time.
K: Also I didn’t watch Friends—
K: —so maybe it was the combination of the obsession with the show made a lotta people think like, this is what I want to look like? But I just was never into the show, so maybe that sort of contributes to my disinterest in the haircut. But yeah. What else about hair? Good hair, I mean … we kinda touched on the way that in the Black community, hair is sort of divided into “good”—meaning like straighter sort of looser curl, long; whereas anything that is the opposite of that has sort of been thought of as “bad” hair. And I think we’re getting away from that with sort of the move towards natural hair. And when I say natural, I mean like … you know, people with kinky curly hair sort of not using chemical products to straighten it or change the texture of their hair. And I think we’re moving away from that in a way, but I think we still—we being Black people; the Black community (laughs)—I think there’s still a lot emphasis on the right kinds of curl pattern. Like even if you have natural hair, which is much more common now, people want it to be the natural hair that’s like … where it’s very springy, and you have like loose kinda tendrils, and it’s like … my hair’s never gonna look like that, and so there’s no point in me buying all these products to like, you know, help whip my curl pattern into shape. Like my curl pattern is what it is. I’m not gonna put five creams and a spritz on it to (laughs) sort of make it look like something it’s not. So that’s something that still is a concern on ??? you see it a lot in the natural hair community of like, you know, people with certain kinds of curl patterns getting … I don’t wanna say prominence, but their sort of look being sort of the coveted look, right? The prized look. The look that’s like … everyone should try to aspire to. And it’s like, I don’t … I’m not gonna do that, cuz that’s not how my hair is. (laughs) So.
C: I just finished—this book just came out, The Other Black Girl—
K: Mm. I haven’t heard of it.
C: —and it’s a thriller. Well, that’s what it’s being—so, okay.
C: It’s kind of … it’s being marketed as this thriller. And it … I guess it is. It’s had a lot of money behind it, pushing it as—and it’s interesting, cuz like, as you mentioned on a prior episode, literally everything now is like, the Get Out, you know, scenario—
C: So this is another one where they’re like, Get Out meets The Stepford Wives meets blah blah blah. And I hate —
K: Ohh. Oh, it says—I literally just googled it. It says Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada.
C: The Devil Wears Prada. Right.
C: I had seen that this book was gonna come out like six months ago, and I think I mentioned before, I read a lotta thrillers.
C: I love em. I love a mystery. So this book came out and I just finished it, and it kind of is about literally everything that we’re talkin about today—
K: (laughing) Mm-hmm.
C: —where it’s like this younger—and I—I’m still thinking about the book. Again, I just finished it, so that’s not unusual. But I … I did enjoy it. I liked it.
K: The author—I guess I don’t know, cuz I don’t read that many thrillers. Is the author like—
C: It’s her debut.
K: Oh, okay. I was gonna say, is she someone who’s like established already, cuz like—
C: No. No.
K: —[inaudible] explain it. Okay.
C: So this is her debut. There is a lot I did enjoy about the book. It just felt … parts of it felt uneven. I felt like the pacing was off, and I felt like what she was trying to accomplish, like the idea behind it, I’m like, I love the idea, but I didn’t necessarily love the execution.
C: Now, I am the outlier. This is getting a lot of good buzz; people are loving it, and I would want—I wanna hear more about what Black people, especially Black women, have to say about it.
K: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
C: Cuz frankly, my … my opinion is irrelevant.
C: I’m like … I love a lot of what she was saying. Absolutely. It was just some of the writing—to me, I’m like, I don’t understand what some of—like who is this character, then? Like we never really find out who this person is, and I wanna know.
C: But anyway. So go read the book and then let us know what you think, cuz I will be curious what people have to say. But there’s a lot about hair; a lot of takedown of the publishing industry; you know, racist workplaces—
C: —and competition between Black women. Like being the only Black woman in your office, and then this other Black woman comes, and then this woman starts getting these notes kind of threatening her, and … there was interesting things about it; I just felt like sometimes it was just like kinda going on a little bit and there was a lull.
C: At the very end it really picks up, and you’re like, okay. So I guess to me, it was just like, it was uneven, but definitely worth reading.
K: Yeah. I imagine, just reading—from listening to your description of it and just reading that first sentence of like what the book is about, I imagine it’s like playing on the experience of being like the only Black person in a workplace, or even in any kind of situation, whether it’s social or professional or what have you, and then having another person come into that—another Black person—(laughs) come into that space—
K: —and sort of having to navigate like … cuz in one—in some way, it is like, terrible (laughing) to be the only person—
K: —of a type in any kinda workplace. Like it’s really annoying, and it can be very isolating, and yeah. It can just—you can feel very alone in the experience. But also, some people, in a weird way, tend to enjoy that, like they like being the only one of a type, and I wonder if it’s sort of playing on that sort of idea of like not wanting another Black person to horn in on the territory you’ve carved out as like, “the good Black person” that everyone kind of likes and enjoys, and you don’t want this other Black person to come in and spoil what you’ve carved out or built. Or like to sort of affect what your group, workplace, whatever—their notions of Black people, because obviously a lot of times you’re working to sort of dispel negative opinions or whatever about Black people, and then someone else comes in and they (laughs) kind of harbor some of those like negative, or what you perceive as negative behaviors or characteristics, and you’re like, no! Don’t come in here ruining it for me. Like I’ve—
K: (laughing) You know, I’ve made it so that like I’m fitting in in the way that I can. I wonder how much of it is like … kind of plays on that, but maybe I’m just like—
C: Well, it’s basically like this girl … to me, also I think one of the issues that I had was I felt very old reading it.
C: I felt like, this is more targeted toward much younger people, and I think that—
K: Like people in their twenties? (laughs)
C: Yeah. So I think for me, that was like one of the big—bigger issues. And it’s very pop culture-heavy with references.
C: Which is fine, like obviously. I’m into it. But at the same time, I was like, I feel very old reading this.
C: But I would be interested to hear what you have to say.
C: Because again, I’m like, my … my opinions are kind of irrelevant, and who cares what I have to think or say about this? Like I was like, maybe I’m just a bit old reading this.
K: I think also too, thrillers are so—at least for me, as somebody who doesn’t read a lot of them, who has—I think you kind of rubbed off on me, cuz I’ve read (laughs) … I’ve read like two or three in a row and I’m just like, this is not usually what I go for.
K: But I think for me they tend to be very hit-or-miss, because of the … you know, we’ve all seen movies; we’ve all read books; we know how plots usually sort of proceed, and so I think a lotta times when you’re reading a thriller, you have a general idea of A) how you expect it to go; and B) how you want it to go. And so when the actual experience doesn’t match either of those things, it’s kinda like, mm. Or when the execution is just not great, it can be kind of disappointing. This is how I felt about that book a couple of weeks ago that I talked about, When No One Is Watching—
K: —where it’s kinda like Get Out meets gentrification or whatever. And that book was like very good up until probably the end, where I feel like they just—the author completely just rushed through a lot of the explanation of like … you know, nefarious plot or whatever (laughs)—
K: —and I just felt like, okay … I guess. I guess. You know? (laughs) And you get to the end and you’re like, hmm. Alright. Like some of the stuff in there was very well-observed and real.
K: People do need to understand like, this is a[n] exaggeration of what is happening to Black people and people of color all over the country, being pushed out of their neighborhoods, you know? But it was just kind of like (sighs) I don’t know if that ended the way that I kind of … I don’t know, would have liked it to. Or maybe thought it should have, you know, considering the lead-up. But yeah, I don’t know. I’m just not a really good thriller reader, because I’m just kind of always like, alright, this better A) surprise me; or B) be clever enough (laughs) to make sense at the end. I don’t know.
K: I’ve been reading so many thrillers. I gotta get back to my normal, depressing literary fiction (laughs), like that’s what I need to get back to.
K: But yeah. I don’t know, hair is such a … it’s such a fraught topic in the Black community, and I just find it really interesting that other people don’t really … I think probably the closest that other—another sort of ethnic or racial group kind of deals with is like … I think Jewish women have a lot of—
K: —feelings about their hair. And, you know, a lot of—it sort of affects—you know, there’s a lot of opinions about what is acceptable in terms of hair and how it should look and be. But yeah, I don’t know. It’s such an interesting—especially because everyone has it, so like (laughs) I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal that it has to look a specific way, because it’s not going to. Everyone’s hair is different, just like everyone’s body is different. It’s just how it is.
C: Toshio has entered the waiting room. Should we let him in?
K: I can’t—I can’t see him, so (laughs) …
C: Oh yeah, your screen is black again.
K: My screen is black! Freaking computer.
C: (sighs) Oh, boy.
Toshio: Hi. Sorry. I just fucked up your flow.
C: (laughing) No, that’s okay. Krystal’s screen is black, so she can’t see you.
K: So the flow was messed up a long time ago (laughs), so …
C: So we talked about—I don’t know. We talked about lotsa things.
K: Talked about our own hair journeys; we talked about different sorta people in pop culture who we think have good hair—or not good hair, but like good hairstyles; that their hair always looks cool. We talked about kinda bad hair. We talked about Demi Lovato again—
K: —which, I’m sorry; I think her haircut is bad. I’m sorry, Demi! But yeah, I’m tryna think of what else we could touch on. (sniffs)
T: I agree with you on that Demi Lovato.
K: It’s really weird, right? Like the first time I saw it, like I was telling Caitlin, I thought it was like her bangs were just weird, and I was like, oh it’s weird that her bangs are like … then I was like, oh no! (laughing) The whole haircut is short, and that’s how it looks in the front!
T: It’s just bangs.
K: It’s … it’s not good. I’m sorry. (laughs)
C: (laughs) Just bangs.
T: I mean, yeah. Someone was telling me about … The Wolf?
C: What’s “The Wolf”?
T: I guess it’s like … a quarantine haircut—
T: —that you can kind of do at home.
K: Oh no. No one should do that. (laughs)
T: Yeah. It’s … it’s a Gen Z thing.
K: Oh, yeah. We’re too old for it.
T: So I … I obviously do not know.
K: (laughs) Quarantine: The Wolf haircut. What is it? Is it just like … is it a shag? Or what is the like—
T: So CNN asks Wolf Cuts: Gen Z’s answer to the mullet hairstyle?
K: Oh, no. We did talkk about the mullet and how it’s bad. (laughs)
K: And people keep trying to bring it back.
T: I asked if it was just like a spin on the Lisa Rinna.
K: Oh, it is like a shag! Okay. I see what it’s tryna give. I mean, okay.
K: It’s fine. (laughs)
T: I don’t know. I was hanging out with like a fourteen-year-old at a garage sale last weekend.
K: (laughs) Of course. Of course. As you do. Yeah.
T: So, you know. I gotta inquire as to what the latest and greatest is.
K: Wow, I did not even know this was a thing. I am so outta the loop. I gotta talk to my teens.
C: I know. I’ve never heard of it.
K: (laughing) I had not either.
T: Yeah, The Wolf haircut.
K: (laughs) Yeah. That’s why we’re here again. Welcome to the late 80’s, early 90’s.
C: Well, do you think we should do Two Cents, No Tax? Or no?
K: Yeah! I think we could always revisit hair. There’s plenty more to say.
C: I feel—I know. Okay.
C: Well, I did come up—did you come up with any for him?
K: I have two.
C: Okay, cool. So, Toshio. You’re up.
T: Oh wow, okay! Nice.
C: Yeah! You’re up this week, baby.
T: I’m … I feel like I’m getting featured so often, and it’s amazing!
C: Well, as you should! As you should. We’re the tricky trio.
K & T: (laugh)
C: So now it’s time for Two Cents, No Tax, where we’re gonna give you a few topics and get your TLDR take on some topics.
C: So, let me see. What’s a—okay. I guess for the first one, I would like to get your Two Cents, No Tax on scary movies.
T: Love them!
T: Years ago I got over the need to sleep with the light on—
T: —after watching … just anything.
K & C: (laugh)
T: I guess the scariest movie I’ve ever seen … natural next question—
C: Yeah. That’s a good one.
T: —would be It, the miniseries that came out in the 90’s
K: Mm-hmm. In the 90’s, yeah.
C: Oh, yeah. Clowns, dude.
T: Clowns, kids … I was that age during that time.
T: I saw the second one and it didn’t … or the more recent one, and it did not terrify me one bit.
T: But yeah. It kept me up at night a lot. Yeah. I love them, though. It’s like a roller coaster ride for the mind.
C: (laughs) I love scary movies too.
K: I am the odd man out here. I hate them.
C: Do you?
K: I do not like to be scared. (laughs) Like, to me … it’s weird, cuz there are like the scary movies that are specifically scary—like horror-ish kind of movies that I’m just like, no. But then there are other movies that I also find scary that I don’t think other people would … for example, (laughs) the two that I’m thinking of that I just like—they’re very upsetting to me are American Psycho—did you guys ever see that? With Christian Bale? And like—
C: I—oh. Yeah.
K: I find that movie so upsetting. I remember watching it at like … I think I was in high school and I was at my grandma’s, and my grandma and grandpa went off to the casino to gamble, and I was there at their house by myself. And I was like, I’m gonna watch this movie cuz it’s supposed to be cool! And so I tried to watch it. I’m in their bed with the lights off, the door closed, and I start watching it, and I’m like, maybe I’ll turn the light on! (laughs) Like maybe I don’t wanna have the light off right now.
K: And then so I’m watching it more, and you know, he’s getting more into like the murder—
K: —and then I’m like, you know what? Maybe I also will open this door, because I don’t like being cooped up in here. You never know what might happen. Yeah, I just find that movie very upsetting—
K: —and also, No Country for Old Men.
K: Two movies where I’m just like, this is a lot for me emotionally. I just find that character really scary! Like that … what is it? That Anton Sugar character—
K: —that … oh, I can’t think of his name!
C: I know. I can’t think of anyone’s name today.
K: It was literally just in my head, and then it just completely went out. But like that character—
C: Penelope Cruz and—
K: Her husband; his name is—
C: Javier Bardem.
K: Javier Bardem. Yes. That character was just very upsetting to me. The fact that he just has this code that he lives by that makes him kill people but like no one else can know what it is (laughs), so you might just get killed by him because you somehow went against his code, but you don’t know why or how. I don’t know. It’s just a very upsetting kind of like … it made me think of serial killers and how they just make these choices and people just are affected by em or whatever. Yeah, I can’t do scary movies. (laughs) I’m like …
K: I’m too—I’m too sensitive.
T: The first one—I mean, yeah, American Psycho—well, I’d read the book because the author—Chuck Palahniuk? Is that right?
C: No, it’s Bret Easton Ellis, I think.
K: No, it’s Bret Easton Ellis, yeah.
T: Oh, right. That gay.
C: Yeah. (laughs)
T: I’d read—yeah. I don’t know, I was like into his stuff—
K: Well, Chuck Palahniuk [is] also gay, so I mean … not—you know.
T: I did not know. I just knew he was from Portland.
K: Oh, you didn’t know that? Aw, fun.
T: (sighs) Big Portland author when we were living there—
C: Living there, yeah.
T: —Caitlin and I. But I even went to see him go do a reading. But that’s not who wrote the book.
K & C: (laugh)
T: But yeah, Bret Easton Ellis … I read Less Than Zero; like a lot of other, you know, rich teens with like … non-problems?
K: A lot of money and no time—yeah, a lot of time to do whatever? Yeah. Mm-hmm.
T: (laughs) Yeah. But it does feel like American Psycho is like the resulting adult of that kind of teen—
K: Right. What they turn into, exactly. Yeah. Yep yep yep.
T: It seemed like the most realistic of his … of his other books and his writing—
K: This is why I found it upsetting!
K: Cuz I’m like, what—we don’t think that there are rich dudes who are out there just like doing all kinds of dangerous and harmful stuff to people? Like, they exist.
K: They’re definitely out there. (laughs) Absolutely.
T: They are bored; they’re rich AF.
C: They’ve got cocaine.
T: They got cocaine.
K: (laughs) They’ve got Phil Collins. They got—
T: Mm-hmm. (laughing) Exactly.
K: Just … it’s too much.
T: Yeah. It’s too real.
K: Yeah. Yeah, okay, so my … speaking of—it’s funny that you mentioned scary movies, Caitlin, because it kind of tangentially relates to one of my Two Cents, No Tax topics for Toshio: Chris Evans. How do you feel about him?
T: Eye candy.
T: I haven’t seen any of the superhero movie that he’s been in, so I can’t—
C: Is that Captain America?
K & T: Yes.
C: Okay. And Knives Out sweater guy?
K: Yes. Yes, Knives Out sweater guy.
T: Oh yeah! Yeah. He was good.
K: The guy who gave his hand to Regina King when she won her Oscar, walked her onto the stage. Yeah.
C: Oh, I didn’t know that.
T: Wow! They let him on the—
K: No, he was in the—he was in the crowd, like sitting next to her in the same row—
T: Oh, okay.
K: —and she was having issues with her dress, and he was like, oh, you know, here, I’ll walk you up so you don’t have like … you don’t trip or whatever.
T: How did he get in the same aisle as Regina King?
K: That’s—I … I mean, I—the Marvel movies are very popular!
T: That’s true. That is true.
K: It’s very weird. (laughs) He was in the front row at the Oscars, like why?
C: Oh, and he—he accidentally posted a photo of his penis.
K: Oh, yes. That was a big deal. I recall that happening, like—
T: Oh, right.
K: —on his Instagram story. Yeah.
T: Yeah, yeah yeah.
C: Yeah. And he has a gay brother—
T: I mean … is he gay?
C: —who’s an actor. No, his brother is gay.
T: I know, but is he gay?
K & T: (laugh)
C: I think … I mean, I know he’s … he dated Jenny Slate for awhile.
T: Is he ???—
K: Oh, I love that pairing! Yeah.
C: Yeah, so eye candy …
T: Beyond that, I mean the last movie that I remember seeing him in was Cellular, where—
K: Oh my god! (laughs)
C: I do not know that.
T: It was a question—
K: Is Katie Holmes in that movie? I feel like she is.
T: I … maybe she’s the love interest. I feel like the—so it’s—is it Rebecca Romijn, or … no, it’s—
K: It’s someone—
T: Somebody whose career was really on the outs, and then it was like a question—
K: It’s Kim Basinger.
T: Yes, thank you. Rebecca Romijn, Kim Basinger. Sorry.
K: Jessica Biel, not Katie Holmes. That’s the other person. Yeah. What a combo, that movie Cellular. (laughs)
C & T: (laughs)
K: That came out in 2004!
K: You haven’t seen him in a movie in seventeen years. That’s amazing.
C: You haven’t seen Knives Out?
T: Yeah! No, I actually did. I did. I forgot his character, and it’s watchable, and there’s—
C: It’s fine. It was okay.
K: It’s fine. This is a thing I never understood.
C: It wasn’t a wonderful movie.
K: People were obsessed with it—
T: So into it.
K: —and it was like, I watched it and I was like, it’s just okay.
C: It was okay. Yeah.
K: It wasn’t bad, it just was not amazing.
T: And that was pre-COVID.
C: Yeah! It was.
K: I know. It’s very weird. It really set my expectations, you know. Anyways. Chris—okay. Yeah, he definitely is good to look at. Maybe his politics aren’t … the best. They’re not terrible.
T: Ooh! I … I don’t know about his politics.
C: I don’t either!
K: He’s just a super big like centrist dude.
K: Which is better than being right-wing—
T: I mean, he is Captain America.
K & C: Yeah.
K: So I mean, what do you expect, yeah? He’s a big liberal.
T: He’s no Gal Gadot.
T: Oh, god.
C: I know.
C: Toshio, what do you think of … hmm. Taylor Swift?
K: Ooh, this is a good one. (laughs)
T: Taylor Swift. Hmm … I mean, there’s just been so many versions of Taylor. I don’t know who’s who; what’s what; up and down—
C: Who is she?
K: (laughs) I love this answer so much.
T: —and it could have been the following year when she redeemed herself, so to speak, by giving a performance that really slapped. And everyone bought the whole like, she didn’t have her tea that night story.
T: But (laughs) so … oh yeah. I started talking about Mariah Carey and I forgot about Taylor Swift!
K & C: (laugh)
T: So I guess that gives you a little (laughs)—
K: That’s the correct move, yes.
C: Yeah. You’re right.
T: But no … hmm. I think … so the reason that I brought that up is because one of those years, Taylor Swift—I thought it was like a pretty … to use language of that year, probably, it was a boss move. She, instead of appearing at the New Year’s Eve musical … she didn’t do a number—she just had them premiere one of her music videos—
T: —which was like first single off of whatever album … I was like, wow, you have Mariah Carey here out in the cold—
T: —not gettin her tea, and Taylor is so famous right now that all she has to do is … she didn’t have to press play.
T: She just …
C: She can’t be bothered to be there in person.
T: No. Her assistant’s assistant handed over a copy of … or, you know, Dropboxed a copy of her …
T: What was it? What was the video where she’s like in the woods? Maybe she’s like playing like a—
K: I have never, never seen a Taylor Swift video, so I don’t know—
T: (sighs) Yeah, I mean—
C: She did have a song called “Out of the Woods,” I think.
T: Oh, right! Yeah, yeah yeah.
C: So she probably was in some woods.
T: Yeah. I think she—it was like [an] ethereal phase. Maybe she’s still in that phase. I know she put out a lot of albums during quarantine—
T: I just don’t want your—this—your podcast to be taken down by all of the—
K: Oh, they can come at me. I’m fine with it. (laughs) Like I don’t care.
C & T: (laugh)
T: Like the Muskies. Actually, I don’t know the Elon Musk people are called, but that’s—
K: I mean, Muskies—probably right, to be honest. I’m sure those dudes—
K: The Grimies! (laughs) Grimies and Muskies.
T: (laughs) The Swifties!
K Okay, my last one is—I feel like you’re gonna have [an] opinion about this, or like maybe strong opinions just cuz you’re a West Coaster like me, but how do you feel about the ocean?
T: I live so close to it.
C: Frank Ocean!
K: (laughs) No, we’re not doing that! We can do that at a different time. I would like to, though. But like just, you know. The Pacific Ocean. Or Atlantic, or whichever.
C: What about Indian Ocean?
K: Yeah, have you ever—
T: Well, I live so close to the o[cean]—I live like … I could walk there.
K: Yeah. Tight. (laughs)
T: And yet, I am almost never there.
K: I know! (laughs)
T: It’s cold in San Francisco!
T: And it’s also like … (sighs) I am always the one to bring it down a few notches—
T: —but I recently learned that not only do we have the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—
K: Oh, mm-hmm.
T: —you know. Everyone knows about that one. But there’s six … there’s six total like … kind of—not as big as that one; the Pacific one has definitely gotten the most play in the press. It gets all the attention. But there’s like, because of currents and stuff—
T: —there’s these huge plastic islands in the Indian Ocean.
K: Oh, okay.
T: There’s like a couple in the Pacific. There’s a couple in the Atlantic, I wanna say—
K: Oh, I thought you were saying the Pacific Ocean itself had six. I was like, that is a huge problem (laughs) because the other ones probably have as many!
K: But you mean they’re like spread out. Okay. That’s still bad, but like, yeah.
T: Yeah. I think it’s still … it’s still almost as bad. Except—I was just talking about this the other day—getting washed up onto a desert isle—
T: Were we talking about this?
C: I don’t think so.
K: (laughing) Oh yeah.
T: —on the Discovery Channel.
T: Where they—yeah. He gets dropped in the middle of nowhere and he’s gotta survive.
T: On nothin!
K: Like why … do that?
T: But that plastic netting; it lasts forever, and it’s great to catch fish with.
C: So that’s how you’re gonna survive?
K: Well, I mean, I learned this from the movies; from the movie Castaway. But yes.
T: Ooh! Okay.
C: Ooh, I’ve never seen that. If you can believe it.
K: It’s such a weird movie! I don’t … I only saw it like in the last year or so, like during the pandemic. It was on HBO a lot, and I was like, I’m just gonna watch this, because it has a cultural imprint with like Wilson and everything.
K: So I was like, I’m gonna watch this movie. It’s not what I thought. Like I thought that him being the castaway or whatever—I thought that was like a small part of the movie. It’s like such a—it’s like most of the movie.
K: It’s very like … I don’t know, there’s something about it … it’s become one of those movies that like, whenever I see that it’s on, I just watch it, cuz I’m just fascinated by the creation of it. (laughs) Like how Tom Hanks really did this movie where it’s just him in a loincloth and wild hair. (laughs) It’s just like … for six months or whatever. It’s such a weird movie, and the ending is very strange. I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about it; if I love it or hate it; but I have to watch it every time it’s on. It’s such a … and it’s like Helen Hunt sort of at her like … she was doing a really—she had a really good run from like mid—
T: Oh, yeah. Twister?
K: —or early 90’s to mid—2000’s. Yup. Twister; this; what is it—As Good As It Gets. Like she was doin—
T: Mm-hmm! Shoutout to that movie.
K: —she was doing great. Also, Chris Noth is in it for like a little bit, which I was like—
C: Weird! That is a weird cast.
K: It’s such a … it’s such an interesting movie. Jenifer Lewis, you know, the Black actress—
C: Oh, the Black godmother. Or the godmother of Black Hollywood.
K: —she’s in it for one scene! Yeah. It’s such a strange movie. (laughs) I don’t know. I would like to know your opinion on it if and when you watch it, cuz I’m kind of obsessed with it.
C: Maybe we should all do a group viewing of Castaway.
K: But the thing about it is like, it’s such a movie where there’s … I don’t know. I felt this about No Country For Old Men, but like there’s so much of it where there’s just no one speaking.
K: It’s a very contemplative movie, because like … it’s just him doin stuff! Onscreen, you know? He’s not talking to anyone; no one’s talking to him; there’s no music. Like it’s just a very … the experience of watching it is very kind of … yeah. I don’t know. I’m shocked that A) it got made; and B) that people are like, we’re nominating everyone who was involved in this movie for an Oscar. Like … (laughing) wow. The 2000’s were wild. (laughs)
K: Tom Hanks had so much heat.
T: Yeah, he was top of the … top of his game. And now it’s—he’s the mantle has gone to Chet.
K: (laughing) No, it hasn’t!
K: Not if I have anything to say about it.
C: Oh, Chet Hanks.
K: God. Chet Haze, you mean.
C: Chet Haze. I’m sorry.
C: It’s white boy summer already.
K: Oh, no! It is. Everyone stay inside.
C: Oh, Chet Haze. You cannot have the name Chet and be a good person.
K: His name is actually Chester.
C: Yeah. And he chooses to go by Chet.
K: Yeah! (laughs) It’s bad. It’s a bad name. I’m sorry.
C: It’s so bad.
K: I like Rita Wilson, but like, don’t name your kid Chester. That’s horrible.
C: I know.
T: Is he the one who did “I Love College”?
K: No. That was—I know what you’re talking about. That like white rapper … no. It was someone else.
K: I think it was a … I’m gonna say he was like from Yale or something? Asher Roth. That was that guy.
T: Yes. Thank you, thank you. I mean … I mean, none of—we should … you know. Scrape that from our brains.
K: Not trying to say that all white rappers are interchangeable, but they are. (laughs)
C: Yeah. (laughs)
T: Yeah. Chet Hanx with an “x.”
K: Yes! Exactly!
T: I love that.
K: No! It’s the worst! (laughs)
K: He’s so … he’s so like the perfect character to mock, cuz …it’s not really mean. No one’s really, you know. He’s not really done anything that’s like—or I think he actually has. I think he has like a … he and his ex had a very contentious relationship, so like—
C: Oh. (sighs)
K: —I think there may be some stuff there, but like that’s good cuz we should make fun of him then. You know? To me, I’m like, well, that’s fine. You deserve to be roasted publicly. (laughs)
C: Yeah. I think it’s fine.
K: Like, that’s good.
C: Your name is Chet.
K: So, the ocean. I don’t know how we got here, but (laughs) we got to Chet Hanks somehow—
C: We went from the ocean to Chet Hanks!
K: I don’t know, man.
C & T: (laugh)
K: We did it. I’m proud of us.
C: (laughs) Oh, man. That was a good Two Cents, No Tax.
K: It really was.
T: Thank you!
K: Thank you for popping in, Toshio. (laughs)
K: I’m glad you showed up.
T: Thanks for showing up to our—
K: Scheduled (laughs) …
T: —planned date! (laughs)
C: (laughs) Well, I’ve already kind of talked about what I was up to this week, which was reading that book The Other Black Girl which, again—I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on it, what they think.
K: I didn’t really watch much new stuff. I talked about Hacks before—
T: Mm. Yeah.
K: —watched those recent episodes that just came out.
T: Caught up.
K: Yeah. I have been trying to work my way through Shrill, which we talked about. I saw you talking about it on social media, Caitlin, which … I’m not surprised that that’s sort of how—that you have the opinion you have about like sort of the resolution or ending of the show—
C: Another thing that I don’t love. Another thing that I really wanted to like.
C: That’s the thing. It’s like I feel like my expectations of things have been way higher.
K: That’s exactly the—I feel so happy that you felt that way though, because I felt really in the minority of being like, everyone really loves this show! Am I just not getting it? (laughs)
K: That’s how I feel about this book! I’m like, everyone loves it—
C: —and I am kind of on the fence about it, and I’m like, maybe there’s just stuff I’m missing.
C: And that’s definitely … with Shrill I was just like, I didn’t like the arc. I didn’t like the charac[ters]—I didn’t like the guy who played like her love interest; I thought that was a weird choice.
K & T: Mm-hmm.
C: I didn’t like her as a person; I didn’t like the origin story stuff—
K: Thank you! (laughs)
C: —like all of the stuff that was just like … none of this … I don’t like this. I don’t like it.
K: I think people are reacting to the show in a way that their—their response to the show is more about their feelings about representation—
K: —not … and they’re not responding to the actual content of the show. Like they’re not responding to the characterization or the plot developments or the writing. Cuz to me, those things are obviously mediocre. None of them are good, but everyone’s so pumped on it, and I’m like, they’re just happy because there’s a woman on the show who’s fat and she’s the main character—
K: —and she’s getting to do stuff. And I’m like, that’s valuable, I guess, but like (laughs) you don’t necessarily have to love a show just because it’s representation; it’s representing you know, a minoritized group or whatever. If it’s not doing a good job, I think it’s good to say that. (laughs)
K: But I feel like sometimes people don’t want to because they’re like, well they’ll never make another show about this kind of group if we don’t say that this thing is good! But I’m like, I’m not gonna pretend that something is good just because someone in it has not gotten the job—you know, the opportunity—to be the lead before. Like that’s not … I don’t know. I feel like that’s patronizing.
K: But yeah, I just—I’m makin my way through it, so hopefully I’ll finish it at some point—
K: —but I’m not like … I don’t love it. Someone on Twitter was like, oh it feels like such a warm … I’m gonna miss this warm show. It was such a warm, loveable—and I’m like, what show are you watching? (laughs) It doesn’t—anyway.
C: That’s another one where I was like, I feel really old watching this.
K: (laughs) Yeah.
T: Also Portland, like done with Portland.
K: I was gonna say, it had a moment. And it came right on the tail-end of that moment. And so it now it’s kind of like—it feels a little bit out of step—
K: —with what’s happening right now, or what’s, you know, poppin right now. What else? Oh, I watched the first episode of Underground Railroad—
C: Oh, what do you think? I’ve been scared to watch it, cuz I read the book.
K: It’s (laughs) the first episode is … it’s a lot—
K: —and so that’s why I’ve only watched one (laughs), and everyone is—well, everything I’ve read about it, it’s like … it gets going really in the second episode, and so if you’re not hooked by the first one, keep going. But it’s—I mean, if you don’t know what the book is about, it’s basically—
C: Really light-hearted comedy.
K: Yes, you know. It’s just a chill one-hour watch about, you know, antebellum South or whatever. So yeah, it’s set on this woman Cora, who is a … an enslaved woman, and it’s essentially like an alternate history of America and sort of that imagines that the Underground Railroad wasn’t just a series of, you know, stops along these points where people sort of fled to on foot or whatever—that it actually imagines that the Underground Railroad was actually literal underground railroad that, you know, enslaved people used to get from the antebellum South to further places up North—
K: —where they could live freely. It’s a Colson Whitehead book that came out like a decade ago or something.
C: No, she did in fact think that it was a real railroad.
K: No, she didn’t.
C: She did.
T: Famously, yeah.
K: Oh, no!
C: Famously thought that the Underground Railroad was like an actual train.
K: A grownass woman thought that.
T: But maybe she was getting confused with the book.
K: Oh, no. Okay, well that’s depressing.
K: But in this book, it’s a—you know, like I said it’s an alternate history based on a book that was written by Colson , and it won a Pulitzer; it was a huge deal. And the movie—the show—is directed by Barry Jenkins, so it looks like incredibly gorgeous. And the actress that plays Cora is like … I really like that they got like a darker-skinned woman. Again, I don’t wanna—like I just railed about representation, but I think it’s important to see varying shades of Blackness onscreen, and I really like her so far. But yeah, the first episode … it’s about slavery—
K: —so it’s gonna be like a lot, you know what I mean? So if you’re maybe not into a show like that or can’t handle it, I totally understand not checking it out, but I’m interested to see how it progresses. It’s I think ten episodes, and Amazon just dropped them all, so it’s not like a week-to-week thing. You can just … I don’t know why you would wanna binge this kind of show—
K: —but you could if you wanted to. Yeah, it’s really … it’s great so far. But yeah, the first episode was just a lot, where I was just like, I can’t do two in a row of this, (laughs) so I’m just gonna bounce and watch the new episode of Hacks. But yeah, it’s good. I’m interested to see how long it takes me to finish it, but yeah.
C: Awesome. Well I want to watch it, but I think I have to prepare myself.
K: Yeah. I will definitely … like I said, the first episode is a lot—
K: —so even if you’re going in, you’re gonna be like, okay. Well I was right (laughs) to be concerned.
C: Yeah, having read the book, it’s like—
K: Mm-hmm. It’s a brutal book.
C: Yes, it is. So … well, okay. I guess that’s all I have, unless you have any last thoughts on any of the myriad topics that we’ve discussed today.
K: Yeah, no! I don’t have anything else to add. I think this was a really productive—I got to work out a lot of my feelings about hair and say that I’m just lazy about it (laughs)—
K: —like it makes me … even talking about it makes me feel like, oh yeah, people do a lot of stuff to their hair! I just … I can’t be bothered. But yeah, I think it’s an interesting—it’s a rich vein, and there’s always—it’s one of those things that is very conducive to trends, so it’s always something to watch and keep your eye on, so I’m sure we’ll have stuff to say about it in the future.
C: Yeah. We’ll circle back.
T: I know. What’s the next Wolf?
C: What is the next Wolf?
K: (laughs) I know! We learned about the Wolf Cut. Like that’s—if nothing else, I got that outta this podcast episode, so you know. I feel like it was worth it.
C: Give us some money.
K: If you have the means.
K & C: If you have the means.
C: Don’t give us money if you don’t have any yourself.
K: Yeah. (laughs) Just listen for free. It’s fine.
C: Yeah. (laughs)
K: Yeah. Also, you know, if you have questions for us, we wanna do a Q & A episode sometime in the near future, so definitely shoot those on over to us via our email at TwoCentsPlusTaxPodcast@gmail.com or, you know, DM us on any of the various social media platforms. We’ll see it. We’ll log it. We’ll get to it eventually.
C: Yeah! Alright, well until next time. I’m gonna say goodbye.
K: Bye everyone!
(theme song plays)