…when first we practice making dreadlocks? Hmm. No. That just does not have the same ring.
To no one’s surprise, I am no Sir Walter Scott. Then again, this post is not exactly Marmion. No, it was born of far humbler fare.
It all started because I saw that a friend of mine had put up a post on Facebook about dreadlocks. Apparently, she had seen what she had described as “a dreadlock comb-over.” I was intrigued, amused, and slightly aghast. Not that long ago, I had dreadlocks. It is very likely that I shall have them again in the near future. Furthermore, I have recently discovered the need to use Rogaine on the crown of my head. It works well enough that a casual observer would not immediately notice, and when my hair was long enough to pull back in a ponytail, absolutely no one was the wiser. Still, baldness and dreadlocks. The combination is of relevance to me, and I could not help but inquire further.
I asked my friend the extent of the baldness. I found myself hoping that his state was far more advanced than my own. Inwardly, my self-confidence shrivelled like a college student’s bank account over vacation. To my great relief, she replied that he was like a dreadlocked Homer Simpson, no hair on top, everything on the sides and back.
I would have left it at that, but later, one of her other friends wrote back stating that dreadlocks were disgusting at the best of times. What?!
Obviously, I was not amused. Still, I attempted to give him the benefit of the doubt. It was possible that he was simply ill-informed. Many people seem to think that dreadlocks imply uncleanliness. They think that people with dreadlocks must not wash their hair. That people with dreadlocks put disgusting things into their hair. That dreadlocks are unsanitary and unhealthy. The fact that there are people who actually are that way does not help the stereotype.
I wore dreadlocks for years. I washed my hair two to three times a week under normal circumstances. More, when necessary. I found that dreadlocks actually need to be clean to tangle correctly. Furthermore, washing them in the summer and then not squeezing out the water kept my head cooler than when I had long undreaded hair. It was like having a cool towel over my head!
I explained all of this to the commenter. Not all at once. I wrote the basics first. He would respond. I countered. The next thing I knew, the two of us had written over twenty comments on her post.
I felt a bit guilty for hijacking her cute little post. I will have to be better in the future. On the other hand, at least now there is one more person in the world who understands that dreadlocks are not necessarily a sign of bad hygiene.
One down, a few zillion to go!