Girl post – on the practicality of bonnets

The other day I was doing a bit of wall-painting, and had left my hair in a braided ponytail rather than bunning it. No disaster occurred, but the swinging brush-end definitely got a little closer to the wet paint than I’d like! Last time I did major painting was several years ago, and my hair is much longer now; I didn’t think through the logical consequences of that when I tossed on my painting clothes. And even if my hair were bunned, I still wouldn’t want to get any paint in it like I did last time – so I thought, I need a bonnet for this! – and also for gardening, to keep pollen and assorted dust out of my hair. Last summer I wouldn’t always wash it right away after doing short gardening stints, and my allergies don’t appreciate the great outdoors!

With more painting on the horizon, and spring gardening on its way, I got to thinking about colonial America and women wearing bonnets. Those gals were onto something, for sure! A bonnet keeps your hair out of your way, protects from flying dust, and hides any evidence of Bad Hair Day. The “protected from dust” is doubly important when hair is greasy or oiled (dirt magnet) and when that “dust” is likely to contain a high proportion of powdered manure particles. I may not have to deal with the latter in this neighborhood, but I’m highly allergic to pollen, and keeping it from settling in my hair during the time I’m outside mowing and/or digging in the dirt should help minimize spring hay fever!

So I’m not talkin’ ’bout fashion-plate bonnets, with fancy frills and whatnot. I figure I could probably sew my own simple bonnet from a costume pattern (famous last words) or ask my historical-dress seamstress cousin who sews her own dresses for reenactments for a recommended historically-accurate pattern, but since I’ll be doing painting and gardening in ratty jeans and old t-shirts rather than in Colonial Williamsburg attire, a colonial-style housework-bonnet would look… weird. And also that would be a lot of effort to put forth in order to have something specifically to get grungy and dirty. (Latex paint isn’t exactly historically authentic!)

I figured, wait, there’s more than one way to cover one’s hair – what about scarves? Scarves are easily obtainable and require no sewing skill on my part. I certainly don’t know how to attach one to my head so that it stays there, but there are plenty of women who wear scarves over their hair, so with the right-size scarf and YouTube instructional videos, I’ll be set! Maybe I’ll even be able to figure something out that’ll hold while I’m sleeping, reducing friction and flyaway tangles in the morning. Then I can teach my hypothetical daughters how to wrap their hair in scarves while doing messy chores, so they don’t have to go to their version of YouTube to learn. (I wonder when the covered-for-protection hair tradition was lost in my family tree. I don’t remember seeing either of my grandmothers wearing anything on their heads except in bad weather, and the only time Grandma would wrap our heads in anything as children was after bathtime, with towels to dry our hair.)


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