I’m Amish

Kiddo#2 went on a week-long trip with her cousins, and she’s learned we’re Amish.

I should have realized long before now, but I guess I was too busy reading books on my ereader to notice how I’ve rejected technology. Maybe I’ll go watch some youtube videos about the Amish in order to fully embrace the culture I never knew I had.

What happened is this: my daughter turned down the offer to blow-dry her hair.

I don’t own a hair dryer. I don’t like them. I hate the noise. I hate the weight of them. I hate the heat on my face. I hate the fact that no matter how I do it, my hair never looks any different if it’s blow-dried versus air-dried. Plus, I’ve never gotten past the idea that those glowing coils in the mouth of the dryer are going to spontaneously erupt in flames and incinerate me in my own personal hand-held flame thrower of cosmetic doom.

Therefore when my last hair dryer went bust about fifteen years ago, I never replaced it.

My mother blow-dried my daughter’s hair last year (I believe the past tense, according to my high school best friend Joanne, is blew-drew) and she didn’t like it any more than I do. So when her aunt made the offer, she said no.

And my brother said, “You know, you can do whatever you like at home. You can throw chicken bones over your shoulder if you like. But here, we’re a little less Amish.”

My Patient Husband said, “It’s because you don’t own a cell phone.”

(I do own a cell phone. I pay $.25 per call as if I’m hauling my own personal pay phone, and if you dial the number, my voicemail says, “This number is never answered and this voicemail is never listened-to. Please call my home number or send me an email.”)

He added, “And our television isn’t hooked up to cable or satellite.”

Yeah, but we get DVDs from the library, and we’re currently downloading episodes of Doctor Who from iTunes. Do the Amish do that?

But I bake my own bread sometimes. And I knit socks. Last month, I learned to use a canner.

It must be true. I’m Amish. And my first thought was, “I have to blog about this.”


  1. Marie

    I’ve never understood why anyone would spend 20 minutes blow-drying her hair, when she could go eat breakfast and read the newspaper for the same 20 minutes while the hair dried on its own.
    I’ve made exceptions when it was cold enough outside the hair would freeze while waiting for a bus, but that hasn’t been an issue for me in years.

    1. philangelus

      In all fairness, it did kind of make sense in the Big 80s when a blow-dryer was necessary in order to properly shellack one’s hair into a gianormous helmet of gel and hair spray.

  2. frank4man@comcast.net

    hee hee

  3. Lee

    Not to mention, for me anyway, my blow-dried (blew-drew?) hair always seems more flyaway and less manageable than air-dried.

    1. philangelus

      Or “blown-drone”? Now that you mention it, I think I vaguely remember that as well.

  4. Normandie Ward Fischer

    And, ladies, as we age (says my hair-cutter gal) our hair grows more brittle. Period. So, anything at all I can do to preserve this poor mop that I have, I will do. Which puts me squarely in the no-blow drying camp.

    I think, though, that we may need a new branding. We do drive cars and we do watch DVDs. My daughter can’t believe that I won’t get a smart phone or text (which my cheapie is capable of doing, but it’s become a point of rebellion) and that a pay as you go plan works perfectly and saves me tons of money. I don’t want my phone to tell me where to go or know where I am, thank you very much–it’s bad enough that the Internet tracks us.

    Glad to know I’m not alone in the no blown-drone hair camp.

    1. philangelus

      That’s true too — my hair pretty much stopped growing after Kiddo#4 was born. Or rather, it slowed way down. It’s grown maybe four or five inches in two years? Healthy hair is supposed to grow an inch every two months. I can’t afford what’s still there to get brittle.

      So what are we? We’re not Amish or Plain Folk, but at the same time, we don’t think ultra-connectivity and high-tech is always the way to go. Is there room for us in this world?

  5. Sara Ann

    Ha! Our family is watching Doctor Who this summer, too. Also, BBC Merlin and IT Crowd. We have to preview IT Crowd tho as most episodes are not okay for the 11 year old and some not okay for the 15 year old. However, since it is the essense of nerdom, we laugh pretty hard, identifying a little too much. My goal this summer has been to have my children return to school with a British accent.

    BTW, my hairdryer at times has erupted into flames. Your fears are not entirely ungrounded.

    1. philangelus

      my hairdryer at times has erupted into flames.


      More than once?


  6. Aldrea Alien

    I think I’ve used our hair-drier once in the past year, and someone else had to do it because I was so inept. And this lot goes to my waist, so air drying takes some time, but I prefer it. Less frizz.
    My mobile phone gets turned on once a week when I go into the city to get groceries, just in the off chance someone needs to urgently get hold of me.

    On the other hand, my internet is a choice of expensive satellite or dial-up where 10MB takes an hour (seriously). Meanwhile, my TV tells me about the cheap broadband I can’t have for another seven years.

  7. Ken Rolph

    How can you live without a hair dryer? It is my indispensable tool. We had the grandkids on the weekend. They got ice creams from the bottom freezer part of the fridge and left the door ajar. The wire shelves iced up. So I turned it off, put some towels in the bottom and waved the hair dryer inside it.

    My office chair had damaged the vinyl tiles next to my desk. I got some replacement tiles. The adhesive is heat sensitive, so I levered up an edge of a tile with a paint scraper and fired the hair dryer under it. Gradually I levered up the tiles that needed to be replaced.

    I can’t think of a limitation to the use of a hair dryer in the tool shed. Things need to be softened, expanded, dried, set. Jan even pinches it sometimes to use on her hair when she is late for work in the mornings.

    1. philangelus

      Well, um … I must be able to survive all these crises hairdryer-free because of God’s special blessings on the Amish…?

      1. Ken Rolph

        Obviously if you are Amish you will have a Coolgardie safe, and they are frost free!

  8. Tana Bevan

    The reactions from people when you mention you don’t own a microwave or television is comical. If you tell them you’ve never bought a television they will look at you like you are a strange and exotic creature from some place they have no desire to visit.

    1. philangelus

      We only bought our own television for the first time last summer, after we’d been married 17 years. The other two TVs we’ve owned were either bought for us as a gift or inherited from my grandmother. It was…an experience trying to research TVs and realizing how what I wanted differed from what apparently most people want.

      But yeah, people are like, “What do you DO?” Oh, I don’t know — screw around on the internet? Read books? Knit?

      I know people who’ve made a conscious decision never to own a microwave oven. It’s hardly unfathomable. 😉

  9. cricketB

    You can help me terrorize my hairdresser! It took a few years, but she no longer looks at me like I’m crazy when I say, “I can’t be bothered blowdrying it, so cut it short.” (She usually does just fine — except when I’m desperate for a change and forget that, unless the wielder has thousands of hours of practice, my hair looks better without the infernal machine.) We still have the cheapie I bought in 1986 for school.

    Mom has an industrial hot-air blower for assembling electronic parts. It melts solder in seconds. (Gotta love cottage industry. Dad designs bits that improve the performance of 1940-era Collins radios, affectionately known as boat-anchors because they were used on subs.)

    Google isn’t backing me up here, but I’m pretty sure some Mennonites groups used to consider fiction to be lying, so they wouldn’t write it.

    As for the cell phone? Mine’s 25c per minute, and about the same per text. (No, I’m not going to fight through their site to find what it is this month.) I activated the voicemail on my cellphone after sending a kid to school half-sick (partly “will probably perk up after an hour”, and, ((hangs head in shame)) partly “My day is full of things that will be a real pain to reschedule — yes, kid perked up just fine). My message is similar to yours, but if I know who is likely to be calling I can pull over and get the message rather than driving all the way home, although I suppose I could use the cell to check the home machine…)

    I’ve slowly accepted more cell-phone use, though since half the people I schedule things with need to change the schedule while I’m on the road. It’s much safer for my voice teacher to text me with changes than for me to turn on the internet in the morning!

    I wonder if Dr. Who visited the Amish?