How to cut your dreadlocks: 4 easy steps

1. Buy a razor. I’ve tried borrowing. My friend from the writing program has an electric clippers. Just the razor, no attachment. He gave it to me in a gallon size ziplock bag. I took it out, turned it over in my hands. Heavier than I thought. I wanted to get the feel for it. I shaved my chin stubble. It became very short, but not invisible. I cleaned it very well. When he gave it to me, it was very clean. I am not good at returning borrowed things in their original condition. My sister lent me and Mouse a blender. So we could puree our butternut squash soup. The turmeric stained the blender cup yellow. The blender wasn’t actually my sister’s. We asked Siri how to take turmeric stain out. Bleach or oxyclean, google said. Both worked. Buy the razor is step one, because it’s a definite step in the direction of cutting. There is considerable psychological favoritism toward habit. We have a bias against change. Even the thought of changing my routine with mump (having other people hold her intermittently) starts hammers pounding my the low-to-middle part of my lungs. Anyway. yesterday I bought a razor for 12.99 from Walmart. There were pricier options. But I got the Anvil one with four attachments. Walmart makes me anxious.

2. Set, and setting are eminently important, I’ve read, during a psychedelic trip. Equally, are they important for a mane change. Put sage in the bathroom, with a lighter. Flick the lighter a few times. The bathroom is the best place to work. There is a mirror. And doors with locks. This should be a private ceremony. It’s YOUR hair. This is a ceremony, too. A practice funeral. Locks take time to grow. The likelihood that they’ll be reborn is low, but not impossible. The contemplation of one’s death is what will drive the dreadlockee to waffle back and forth for weeks, maybe months. For me, it’s been weeks. I’ve never been to Waffle House. I heard someone found glass in their chicken and gravy waffle. A friend’s father wrote a book. Says the number one thing he learned in life is that life is a series of traps. One trap gets you. Then you get out. Take a few steps. And another one whapps you, snares your leg. Step two, in addition to contemplating your dread death, is understanding that there will be no meaningful rebirth. Another trap awaits. You’ll dislike the shaved head, just as you dislike dreads.

3. Take photos. Get front photos, back photos. And then, you can really see the scrambling silly vanity of the whole enterprise. It crystalizes the state of your insecurity. My hair is me. It’s my hipness. It’s the reason I’m a convincing teacher. Take away my dreads, my tattoos, my piercings, and I’m nothing. I’m blank human. A robot. Photos are a fishing-line. They’re a hook in the cheek. A cheek-swab that you put in a vial and send in for DNA analysis. So you can figure out if you have the selfish gene or the bipolar gene or the cancer 2 gene. One in every two men will die from cancer. Did you know that? Take photos. Tell yourself your three-month-old daughter will want to see you with locks. Even though you know that’s unlikely to be true, given the amount of interest you hold for your fathers’ young adult hairdos. Take photos anyway. It’s nice to see clearly that you have no self control.

4. Take the orange scissors from the pen jar on the kitchen counter and lock yourself into the bathroom. Because the locks will jam the electric razor. Gotta scissor first. Scissor through one lock at a time. At the time of writing, I have not done step four yet. Contemplating step four is like poker. In the movie Rounders, Matt Damon says you play the people, not the cards. Study their tone, ticks, gestures, micro-expressions. The same is true with anxiety. The hair follicles are the cards. The kids in my English 1101 class, dudes at Dollar General who say raspect, little girls walking down the street holding their mom’s hand looking back saying that man has crazy hair….these are the people. If you check, you could stay here with this level of play. Or raise, call my raise, and go deeper. Because it certainly does go deeper. It’s never the dreads, the cards. And it’s never the people at the table. The English 1101 kids or Dollar General dudes are just masks the “people” are wearing. Maybe the real person is my dead mom. Or maybe it’s the voice inside my head. Or both. Or maybe there is no deeper person. And the English 1101 kids are the English 1101 kids. And that’s it.

P.S. Once they’re off, I don’t know what you do. I googled it. Donate. bury, burn, make art.

P.S.S. What value could this post possible bring you? Upon re-read, I don’t know. Peek inside my mania? My pain bets your pleasure? Understand there is no such thing as normal. That it’s just the mean of everyone’s maddening insanities.