Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Weekend at Julie D's

Y'all just wish you could have been there this weekend when the Darwins descended in force upon the homestead of Julie D.

Before we descended on Julie, though, we descended upon the Irish Fest, and I have a question for those in the know: what is the rationale behind the bizarre way that Irish dancers curl their hair? Here's a photo from the website of one of the groups we saw.

These ladies are actually wearing wigs, but why? Why is this a desired look for Irish dancers? I found the hair very distracting, to be honest.

Aside from that, the Fest was fun. We saw a few shows, ate authentic Irish food like barbequed chicken salad on a fried tortilla, and watched a bagpipe group perform in full regalia. The girls got free wooden whistles (which, mercifully, have already broken). We strolled past rows of vendors selling leather shoes and wooden swords, and gazed respectfully at the Irish wolfhounds. And when young attention spans had reached their limits, we set out for Julie D's.

And now the scoop you've all been waiting for: Julie D is as cool as her blog, and then some. She and her husband Tom are hospitable and friendly and wonderfully conversant, and they possess a pair of the most child-friendly large dogs I've ever met. (The girls were quite upset that we couldn't take the dogs home with us.) As you would expect, her house is full of books. Dinner was delicious -- Julie is quite the cook. And most important of all, Julie and Tom are the sort of people who remember what it was like to have toddlers. Oh, gentle readers, this is a rare fine quality in a person. Anyone who can smile benignly as over-excited and then over-tired children charge through her house and bellow at the dogs and cough through the night is a friend to be treasured. Amen.

(Confidential to Rick Lugari: wouldn't you like to know what we said about you?)

18 comments:

Jay Anderson said...

Rick should take comfort in knowing that at least you talked about him. I mean, the guy hasn't blogged (apart from updating Amateur Catholic on behalf of the rest of us B-Team slugs who don't contribute squat), in over a year, and he's still the life of the party.

;)

Love2Learn Mom said...

I've always been opposed to wigs for Irish dancers, but those are by far the worst wigs I have EVER seen!

Glad you had a good time. We have a fabulous annual Irish Fest here in Milwaukee - I understand it's the biggest Irish Fest in the world - yes that includes Ireland! :)

Tim said...

Ahh, the wigs. Some of them, if done right, can look okay but I agree that the photo above is just about the worst group of wigs I've ever seen.

My daughter has been dancing for 14+ years (she teaches it now) and has a number of wigs. One is such a mess it has been christened "The Beast" and would travel to competitions only to be shown off as a kind of trophy or to be loaned out to someone who forgot their wig. "The Beast" would make sure they never forgot their wig again.

As to the reasoning, I always figured it was the end product of dancers feeling they have to keep taking things up a notch to compete and wig makers more than happy to notch things up for them and both being too close to the subject to realize how ridiculous things have gotten. But that's just my theory.

That's my theory for the dresses, too, which imho are way over the top. Needless to say, my daughter doesn't agree.

Julie D. said...

We talked about you too, Jay! :-D

Mrs. Darwin ... you are much too kind! We loved every second and only needed more time to really delve into sci-fi more properly!

MomLady said...

My daughter did Irish dance during high school. None of the dancers at the competitions we attended wore wigs, but they all curled their hair to achieve the regulation uber-curly look. My daughter had thick waist length black hair and we attempted the curling process exactly once.

The curlers are long foam spikes. You have to spritz a strand of hair with special non-aerosol hairspray and roll it around the spike until it's up against the scalp. Then you poke the pointy end of the spike through a hole in the blunt end. You wear these for about 24 hours before the competition. Many dancers don't take them off until right before they dance so you see lots of girls wandering around who look like their heads have been infested with vampire snails from outer space.

I think that one of the most ludicrous sights I ever saw was a small Chinese competitor whose hair had been forcibly formatted into a halo of supposedly Irish ringlets.

At subsequent competitions I told my daughter that she could jolly well dance with her beautiful straight waist length hair. And if I do say so myself, she looked gorgeous. (I don't know if she got points knocked off for it though.)

--MomLady

P.S. Preparing the curls was apparently a bonding experience for some of the girls though. They'd all get together and watch a couple of movies while their mothers did their hair.

Rick Lugari said...

LOL, MrsD. I can't imagine what was said...or maybe I can and am happier in denial, but either way, it couldn't be any worse than what Rhonda might say. ;)

mrsdarwin said...

Actually, we all said that you were a funny guy and that we missed your blogging. So not everything said behind your back is unkind!

Jay Anderson said...

"We talked about you too, Jay! :-D"

I'm afraid to ask.

As for the ringlets issue, I once went to hear world renown Irish dancer Jean Butler speak (of course, I was lookin' more than I was listenin'), and she remarked how ridiculous she thought the whole curled hair thing was.

Rick Lugari said...

Awww, that's so sweet...I think. Actually though, I have a little blogger-meet envy. One of these days...

Jay Anderson said...

Hey Rick, Cedar Point opens up pretty soon. I'm game for a blogger-meet if you are.

Rick Lugari said...

Sounds good to me, Jay.

melanie b said...

Ah the North Texas Irish Festival, a fixture of my college years. Fond memories of misspent youth....

I never did figure out the curled hair thing, though. Or the dresses.

I was kinda hoping a comment here might shed some light on the subject. I guess it's just one of those mysteries.

MrsDarwin said...

Exactly, Melanie. I was surfing google this morning looking for any reference to WHY this is the standard hairstyle. Look: I have Irish ancestry, and my hair curls. If I spent enough time on it, I could get it to do that freaky ringlet thing, and it would even hold mostly by itself. But why would I want to? It's a disturbing look. And there are plenty of Irish girls with straight hair. I just don't see why it should be standard. There was plenty of variation in the dresses we saw; why not the hair?

I did think the dresses are odd as well.

Drunkenferret said...

Gah! Those wigs hurt my eyes!

Yes, Mrs. D, you are absolutly right about the hair. It is also annoying when they are dancing, and the hair bobs up and down with a mind of it's own! I could get my hair to do that, but why would I want to? I thought'fros were out of style?

Fidei Defensor said...

Darwins, Love2Learn Mom is on to something, you guys ought to make your way to Wisconsin this summer!

CMinor said...

Sombody once explained to me that the wigs were required because all the dancers in competition were expected to have curly red hair in order to "look" Irish. That wouldn't explain the group in the picture, though. And those are appalling-looking wigs.

I was also told that the dresses were a competition requirement. My theory is that somebody high-level in competitive Irish dancing has a brother in the costume business!

barbfromcincy said...

I read somewhere that back in the 20's and 30's, the Irish Americans would have Irish dancing after Mass on Sundays. The girls would already be in their Sunday best, and the hairstyle of the days was curls (remember Shirley Temple?) and that some people think the fancy dresses and the curly hair started with that...possible, I guess..
Hope you have a blessed day...

Anonymous said...

The curls are hideous. The comments here are some of the best I've seen on the subject.

Maybe someone on the various feis commissions are makeing money on the sale of the wigs.

The comment on taking things up a notch would lead one to believe that this competition will soon be based on who can afford the the best (most expensive) outfits and wigs and not on the skills of the dancers.

It's a good thing the male dancers don't have to buy into this expense yet.

I wonder how many kids have to drop out when they can no longer "take it up a notch".