Monday, June 23, 2014

Cutting the Dreads: a difficult decision and a step-by-step process

I started this post last summer, but somehow the majority of it was accidentally deleted, so I got discouraged and hadn't finished it until now.

Several months ago, my husband, daughter, and I went to Minnesota to visit family. Before coming home, we made a special trip north to visit the great-grandparents and get the haircut. I have been putting off this blog post, mostly because I am still having trouble with the idea that the dreads are gone for good, but also because I have just been so busy lately.

The decision to cut the dreads was not an easy one, especially for me. I had never known my husband before dreads. When I met him, he told me that he wanted to grow his dreads out until he could get them back into a ponytail, at least. Initially, I wasn't attached to the dreads. I thought about running my fingers through his silky soft hair, instead of spending hours weaving loose hairs into the coarse ropes. Over the course of the next three years, I became accustomed to seeing him with dreads and I became rather fond of his hair. If you know me, you know that am not one to make drastic changes without careful consideration, and this was no exception. In March, my husband made some off-hand comment to introduce the idea...something like, "How long are you thinking we'll keep the dreads?" I remember being somewhat shocked. "Um, you said you thought we'd keep them until you could get them into a ponytail, and then you said you wanted to have them until our kids could remember you with dreads. Have you changed your mind?" He thought for a few minutes and said, "I don't know. I think I am over it...but obviously I am not going to make a decision like that without you on board."

He went on to say that he missed scratching his head and wearing baseball caps. He missed being able to fit into helmets properly for snowmobiling and snowboarding. He didn't like how long it was taking to dry dreadlocks after a shower, which was a problem since his occupation includes plowing snow. I said I would think about it. It took a few months before I decided that it was going to be okay with me if he wanted to be done with the dreads. I still had doubts when we made plans with his cousin, who agreed to cut them, and as we drove to her salon, my stomach was in knots. We left the baby with family, since I thought it might be traumatic to see the dreads being cut and falling on the floor. Who knows what a 1-year-old might think? Oh, and the majority of the family didn't know that he was even considering losing the dreads, so it was a surprise for them!


Here is my handsome husband, ready for his haircut. After verifying that we were sure that cutting the dreads was what we wanted to do, she started cutting them off, one by one, from the back. She offered to let me cut a few, but I really didn't want to. I admit it, I was cringing. Seeing them fall to the floor was difficult for me, but there was no turning back at that point. Rumor has it that if you want to keep post-dread hair long(ish), you can cut the dreads to about four inches and comb it out with conditioner, but we wanted his hair short, so we didn't try that method.






Pretty soon, there were 87 dreads on the floor, and only two to go. All over his head, there were little tufts of hair sticking up. Having never seen my husband without dreads, I was suddenly very apprehensive. This was NOT what I had pictured.





She started combing out the tufts, one by one. His hair looked scraggly and coarse, not silky and smooth, as he had assured me it would be. She washed it out, and it started to look a little better. He looked totally different. Somehow, cutting the dreads seemed to make him look a lot younger, in my opinion. She started cutting his hair as only a professional can, talking and laughing the whole time. I am so glad that she was the one to cut them off. She washed one more time before she styled his hair on his drastically different new hairdo.



There were some pretty great reactions to his new look, but my favorite came from our daughter. This was her face as he walked through the door. She didn't know what to think. It took her maybe three seconds before she said, "Daddy!" and after that, she was fine. 

I do enjoy being able to run my fingers through his hair, and not having them rub up against the side of my face at night when they end up on my pillow. 

I also miss them. When I see pictures, I get all nostalgic. But hey, I get to practice giving boy haircuts now. This is the video tutorial I used to learn how to cut his hair. 

I know some people were curious about hair after dreads, so I hope that the pictures helped you visualize the process. It has been almost a year now since the cutting of the dreadlocks, and he has no plans of having dreads again. On a side note, I found that people were very honest after the dreads were gone. Some admitted to hating them, and some said that they missed them. It is interesting to me how strong opinions about dreads can be. Then again, I hated them before I met my husband, I grew attached to him in the dreads, and now I miss them when they are gone. That is just the way life goes, isn't it?

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