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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

on dreaded hair

So I now have dreads. More or less. I say that because I have a ton of frizz sticking out all over my head and right now, frankly, I feel more ridiculous than hip, cool and carefree. (Although I really was liking them when I put in a scarf, as in the pic below)

Seriously, when they are down I look like the crazy lady in Dances with Wolves. Nice huh?

Supposedly this is all part of the stages of dread-age though. And within a few weeks they should be lovely and nice.

Unfortunately, I am impatient.


Totally questioning this decision.

I am also realizing I am going to be getting a lot of “why-would-you-do-that-to-your-gorgeous-hair” comments. So I need to come up with something other than….why not?

And really the answer to the why is “why not?”

I sit at home with my babies and blog and write and take walks in the sunshine.

I have this long hair I never wear down because to do so annoys me. I really get annoyed washing it and dealing with it. I would cut it off but short hair is even more a PITA. I once had short hair. It was terrible. I had to style it. Like with gel and crap. I don’t do that. So really if I can get past this hump of frizziness and what-not I think this will be the perfect hairstyle for me for right now.

It is also a phase of life thing.

see the whole Dances with Wolves thing?
I was telling my mom and sisters the other day that to fully put in the dreads feels like stepping over the line into hippy crunchy mama-ness. Stepping into it and claiming it, as it were.

And yet I hesitate.

For one thing I worry I am not “cool” enough for dreads. I do not listen to hip cool music. (I listen to Raffi and whatever my kid is into – which lately is a strange obsession with Green Day) I do not have a plethora of tattoos (one, a dainty little vine, perfectly acceptable in any Anne Taylor store). I do not have extreme political views. I do not belly dance. I do not wear crystals.

I like pretty things. Like delicate necklaces and pretty bags and nice shoes and nicely decorated homes. I like shaving my legs. I also like things like classical music and opera. I read celebrity gossip columns and US Weekly. I also like reading the New Yorker. I wear hooded sweatshirts. I wear mascara (on occasion). I like Jcrew clothes. Can you do that and have dreads? I don’t know.

As far as my “qualifications” Hmm. There is the artsy thing. I have never claimed to be artsy. Aside from a four year stint playing the violin I am not terribly musical. I am not paint-y artistic. On our little girls getaway I was walking with friends in one of the oldest and most beautiful artsy communities in the country – Rockport MA. I see these little studios overlooking the glittery ocean and think “I want to be that person” but then I realize, it’s a change of perspective. My canvas is a laptop, as it were. So, ok. I am “artsy” I guess.

And then there is the whole kombucha brewing/bread baking/baby wearing/breastfeeding/homebirthing thing. (Have I a mentioned the home birth thing? Oh yes, oh yes I did. It was amazing.)

So there is that.

But really, does one need this sort of checklist? Its just hair, after all. For some reason though it seems to say things to people. Why? Of course there is the history of the dreadlock hairstyle. The spiritual and political connotations of Rastafarianism etc. But it is odd to me that I will be stepping over some sort of invisible social line with this hair.

frizz! ack! holding baby sicko girl.
In short, I think what I love the best about the prospect is this – the shedding of preconceived notions of what beauty is, and who “gets” to wear dreads, for that matter. I am me. Hairstyle aside.

It will be interesting to see. Will I be treated differently? Will they even LET me in Anne Taylor?

Eh. Who knows.

I like it. So. I am gonna roll with it.

And perhaps see a dreadlock hair specialist.


Ok. Back to the sick-o babies. One of whom is burying a “dead dog” in the playdoh, the other of whom is eating it. Oops.


  1. It's an unfortunate, human trait to put people into into boxes and label them--like Who Can Wear Dreads and Who Can Shop at Ann Taylor and Who Qualifies as an Artist. You're not boxable. You can peel the labels off all those boxes and stick them on yourself willy-nilly and go about your un-boxed life--you can be everything, or you can be none of those, whatever you want. And I applaud you for having the courage to do so.

    (And I almost fell of the kitchen chair laughing at the Dances w Wolves reference.)

    ps--LOVE the headscarf look. Gorgeous. :-)

  2. thanks tracy. my only commenter. EEK. i was thinking do they look awful and no one wants to say??
    i am so violently self-absorbed today. but, at least i admit it :)

  3. i like it. embrace it. besides pretty sure you are not an icon for us little ones for sticking it to the man (or society) and doing what you want.

  4. love!!! they look amazing, pretty girl. :)

  5. Hi there. :)

    For what it's worth, my son started dreading his hair when he was about 15 (he's 22 now). What I told him then, and it still holds - it's your hair - do what you like, and if you don't like it, cut it off.

    Sure, I thought it was a shame to "ruin" such beautiful, curly locks as he had - but it's his hair. And he's still got - and still loves - them.

    The only person you need to please is yourself.

    (PS - I had waist-length hair for years. And years. It is a bit of a pain. I hacked it off and donated it to the cancer kids. Now I'm trying to get it back to the point where I can do nothing with it again(i.e., stick it in a braid and forget about it). I hate putting stuff in my hair too. Maybe I should have gone the dreadlock route.)

  6. TL-that is just what i did with my long hair too. for ages. periodically i would cut it off and then, horrified, grow it out again. this seems like a new way to have hassle free long hair, other than the bun route, my go-to hairstyle.

  7. Hi! My dreads are six months old now. I LOVE them! I was stuck between two ladies in their sixties at a retirement party a few weeks ago and they began quizzing me, in confidential tones; "What have you DONE to your hair?" Then came "Can you wash it?", "Can you brush it?" and, "Why did you do it?" When I replied that it was because I disliked combing it, yet still wanted long hair, they were visibly shocked. I tried to explain that I liked the idea of letting my hair go, but I think I lost them! :)
    Your hair is such a beautiful colour and your dreads are well on their way!

  8. erin! thanks for the visit! i loved visiting your blog...and too funny about the questions...i have had similiar discussions :)
    things are looking up since this post. friz under control, well, a bit. HA HA.
    i will post more pics soon.

  9. When do we get to see an update on your hair? Or did I miss it?

  10. ha daja! its there somewhere...
    i think this is the latest

  11. You are beautiful!!! Just found you from wslw blog and I have to say I need to read more! I had dreads for 5 months and loved every minute of it, it's probably the longest time I've ever done something. I'm a constant changer.

  12. lynne - why thank you! what a sweet thing to say! and thanks for reading...


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