Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rethinking My Hatred of the Dreadlock

When I was a sophomore in college, I was taking a history course in this stifling little room in Fenton Hall. I really liked this history course, but there were two things that bothered me. The first was that the teacher insisted we sit in assigned seats that lined us up alphabetically. (I eventually forgave her this, though, because I loved to listen to her talk. She had an accent and the tendency to say things like tree! for three or spaghetteeess! for spaghetti. Adorable.)

The other thing I didn't quite like was the people I was forced to sit around, thanks to the curse of our last names. I especially didn't like the guy in front of me. He looked like Egon Spengler with dreadlocks. Really disgusting, dandruff-filled dreadlocks.

The desks in this room were set very close together, which meant that his long dreds dangled on my desk. Their ratty ends scraped across the pencil-holding spot on the desk. And when he tossed his hair--which he often did--a rain of dandruff and dirt fell down across my things. And he smelled. He smelled so bad. His hair smelled like pot, like dirty bathroom, like old socks, like sweat. So I spent a lot of the hour and a half of this class holding my breath and wondering why, why, why anyone would ever do this to himself. What was the attraction? What statement did the dred-wearer think he was making? Why was that important? Why did he have to smell so bad?

But recently I've begun to rethink my hatred of the dred. Why? Well, behold American Idol's Jason Castro:


Listen, I am still mildly disgusted by dreadlocks, but there is a part of me that is finding some sort of beauty in them. Not on the Egon Spengler look-alike but on Jason Castro. This is mostly likely because he is beautiful, and if you shaved his head, he would still have all that gorgeous bone structure and the world's best eyelashes and cheeks models would murder for.

And, sure, his interview tape from this week--you know, the one Seacrest throws to right before the contestants sing--discussed that his most embarassing moment was when he was on a date and one of his dreadlocks fell off his head, and, sure, that might've made me stare at the screen and say out loud to an empty apartment, "That's repulsive, Jason Castro," but he assured us it all worked out okay--he and the girl went on another date.

That is a strong girl. If that had been me on the date and part of my date's hair fell off, I might've had too many flashbacks to college, to Hippie Egon Spengler, to the way his dandruff and hair dust would speckle across my all my quizzes and exams, making a part of my stomach tumble over on itself, making it almost impossible to remember all the important historical dates I'd committed to memory.

Still, for Jason Castro, I'd be willing to endure a lot of things. I might have casually suggested we ask the waitress for a pair of shears that were surely housed somewhere back in the kitchen, and I might have just as casually suggested we go into the back alley and cut until all those things were curled on the pavement like the molted skin of a snake. But I probably would've been okay if Jason Castro smiled politely and said, "No thanks," and then laid a napkin on his lap and started in on his potato chowder. After all, I would know that at the end of the night I might have the chance to get up close to those eyelashes and cheeks and lips. And maybe--just maybe--there would be a chance he would ask me out again, fall in love with me, marry me, and spend a lifetime singing me this song whenever I asked:

(Ignore that last note. The rest was beauty.)


Jason said...

Wow. A lot of impressions there.

First--great choice on the Rufus Wainwright song. It's the only Wainwright song I know, but it's brilliant, and he didn't do a bad job with it.

Second--watching that clip just ruined my streak of never having intentionally watched a second of American Idol. I feel dirty.

Third--white people with dreadlocks (even this guy) look stupid. Most black people with dreadlocks look stupid, but there are some who can pull it off. And the smell? Nice. Head-rot.

Fourth--that interview clip before the singing reveals something of his mental capacity. He's either stoned out of his mind (and likely smells just like your Egon Spengler) or he's a moron. Since he was bright enough to pick "Hallelujah," I'm guessing he's just baked.

That's all for me being judgemental and petty for now. I need to go listen to some Rufus Wainwright.

Jason said...

Whoops. That's a Leonard Cohen song. I'm going to have to find that version now. I really like the Wainwright version, though.

Jess said...

I like the Jeff Buckley version of that song. Pretty, pretty, pretty.

Also, I'm sorry I ruined your streak of staying clear of American Idol. I pretty much love all the stuff you hate. I'm so sorry I expose you to those things! :)

Jason said...

No need to apologize. How could I fuel my rants if nobody exposed me to this stuff.

I rant, therefore I am.

I like that Buckley version, too. And the John Cale version, and even the one by the Norwegian guys.

In fact, my least favorite version of the song is Leonard Cohen's. Go figure.

Joshua said...

this guy is a huge weiner, and I'm sure he doesn't have a huge weiner.
All he's trying to do is look as open minded as possible by appealing to every possibly social group known to man.
First with the dreads, as if to say "I'm hippy, and I would live in a co-op if I weren't rich." He's also filthy rich, probably, which means that if he comes to Buffalo, he'll be mingling with the other rich whities at Buffalo Country Club.
In addition, he is gay - as evidenced by his ability to match clothes and sing like a girl.
And finally, "Castro"? Phhh.. hablas espanol, weiner boy?

And Jess, if your intentions are eventually to meet this Castro fellow and end it with Ross, you need to tell him now so he can start his search for a new future-wife.

I appreciate you