Are now this long:
|Dreadlocks in Central Park in the fall|
|Dreadlocks on a dragon boat in China|
I had dreadlocks for my wedding.
I had dreadlocks for the last family picture.
I've had dreadlocks for the last two years of school pictures.
I've gotten used to getting the looks at the water park, the grocery store, the train station, etc. I've gotten used to being approached with questions about my dreads by people all over. from the DMV to the streets of New York. Strangers treat me differently, that's for sure. The guy at the carwash asked if I smoke weed, so did the teenagers on the train. The cute mother of two at Home Depot made a hallucinogen joke. But most of the questions are about the dreads themselves. How did I get them? What do they feel like? Can I wash them?
I love my dreadlocks. I love the way they look, the way I have an untamable mane of hair that takes zero effort to do, looks fantastic in the woods, out of rivers, after 12-hour plane rides, and after driving down the freeway with the windows open. It can rain, snow, sleet, or hail, and my hair will look the same. I like that they are an instant conversation starter. I love the way my students think I am somehow magically a better teacher because I have cool hair.
But I also hate my dreadlocks. I hate that they feel like having 100 wool ropes attached to my head, always slightly scratchy. At night, I have to carefully pull my woolen mop over to one side, and rearrange it every time I roll over. If my husband wants to cuddle, I have strategically arrange my head and locks to avoid asking to him to cuddle his face into a wool sweater. Dreadlocks are not cuddly. Not even a little bit. The other day Allie gave me a hug and exclaimed, "Your hair is so..." I nodded excitedly, expecting her to comment on how much my hair had grown, but she surprised me. "Scratchy!" she finished. I hate that my hair still will not admit defeat, but continues diligently through every day and night to try and escape the knots, emerging as loose hair in bits and swarms between dread clean-up appointments. It drives me nuts that my hair is continually getting caught on any piece of jewelry I wear on my neck or ears. The only time it's not getting caught is if my hair is in a ponytail, but my dreadlocked ponytail is so prodigious that I am unable to lean my head back in the car, but must sit hunched forward. I can, after two years, finally put my hair up in a bun, but it's a fifteen minute process to get everything just right, and gives me a headache if I wear it very long.
Over Christmas break, in a desperate fit of needing to change something, I convinced my long-suffereing, dreadlock-tolerating husband to dye my hair. It took HOURS to coat each individual dreadlock. In the end, the dreads did not absorb very much dye, and my hair was only slightly redder than when I began. I think I might try bangs next, but I am beginning to question my commitment to the dreadlock hairstyle. It has all the advantages and disadvantages of a normal hairstyle, but more dramatically. It is dramatically easier to take care of, but it's very resilience to change and outside influence means that it resists styling, and, to some extent, cleaning.
There are times when having dreadlocks is freeing. I can camp and hike for days, and my hair looks like it did on day one. I can walk in the rain, jump in rivers, and have all sorts of adventures without worrying about my hair. However, dreadlocks come with their own "can'ts." I can't walk through a thicket without snagging my hair. I can't wear some of my coats because of the Velcro on the collars. I can't shower just before I go to bed because my hair takes about five hours to dry in the winter, and my pillow will be damp all night if I do. I can't take a quick dip in a pool, because I'm worried that my dreads will trap the chlorine in the center and damage my hair. I worry about dirt and slimy things getting in my hair and working their way to the center of the dreads, where they will stay forever. Gross. My hairstyle is impervious, but I only have about two and a half ways to wear it.
So where does this leave me? My dreadlocks get longer and more awesome with every passing month, which alternately makes me delighted and horrified. Longer means more of these things! More scratchy stuff to deal with! How on earth will I style it when there is more? Good grief! But they look. so. cool. And I've put two years into them, and I will probably never do dreads again after this.
Should I keep them until they grow to head-turning, fantastic lengths, or chop them off to a pixie cut?
|The Old Pixie|
|But then I'd have to grow it out all over again.|