For those of you who may need a reminder, or for new dreadheads or enthusiasts who haven’t learned better yet, let’s review some etiquette.
1. Do not photograph someone without their permission, no matter how much you like their hair. I see a lot of photos floating around the internet with captions like “This girl had such cool hair so I followed her around the entire concert & snuck this photo! Sorry!!” Okay. That’s called stalking, & it isn’t cute- it’s CREEPY. If you like someone’s hair, just say so! Have you ever heard of someone not being pleased with a compliment? Chances are, they won’t bite off your head. They’ll probably just thank you & keep going…but hey, maybe it will even start a conversation & you’ll meet a really cool person. After you’ve spoken to them, ask if they would mind if you took a picture of them, & RESPECT WHATEVER ANSWER THEY GIVE YOU, even if it is a negative response! It is their hair, & their body- you have no right to violate them or make them uncomfortable. If they give you the go-ahead, have fun!
2. Do not touch someone’s dreads without their permission. Ever. Again- this is their hair, & their body. You can’t just walk around fondling strangers, you weirdo. Also, ask FIRST, & wait for an answer. Don’t grab someone’s dreads while asking if it’s okay. I don’t know why people do that all the time, but it isn’t acceptable. Furthermore (this actually happened to me, gross) it isn’t okay to use touching someone’s hair as an excuse to grope their breasts. I would’ve thought that went without saying. Sheesh.
3. If you get permission to touch someone’s dreads, don’t pull. This really should be a no-brainer, but a surprising number of people seem to think dreads are somehow not the same as “real” hair & forget that they are attached to someone’s scalp. Don’t pull or poke or prod or tangle your fingers in or (this actually happened to me, & it was totally creepy) reach in & rub their scalp. Interestingly enough, we can feel that, yeah. & it hurts and/or is weird. Don’t do it.
4. Try to resist asking offensive questions. Curiosity is fine, & most people don’t mind clarifying a few things for you. But the way you word things does make a difference. For example, saying “I’ve never seen hair like yours before. Is it harder to wash than loose hair?” is much less abrasive than “OMG do you like, wash it? Like, ever? OMG. Does it smell?” Also stay away from racial comments (“So, do you like, think you’re black or something? White dudes can’t have dreads.” or “So, that’s like, a weave, right? Black girls don’t have real long hair.”). Nobody thinks that’s cute or funny or appropriate, no matter what their skintone. If you say something like that & you get told to fuck off, you deserved it, so don’t act all wounded.
Many of these things aren’t exclusive to dreadlocks, either. A lot of people seem to think that the second someone looks the slightest bit alternative, they cease to be a human & they can just be touched, photographed, and/or abused at will. Think about this the next time you want to pounce someone with a mohawk, or pink hair, or try to touch someone’s tattoo.
Now I know quite frequently other dreadheads get a free pass on things that would be socially unacceptable for an undreaded person to do. But that varies greatly from person to person. So even if you have dreads & they have dreads, asking first is a good idea.
Please folks, be decent. ♥