Women are often left with the responsibility of fixing their daughters’ hair, but these devoted fathers are changing the game.
Annis Waugh thought she’d only get a handful of sign-ups when she decided to host a hair-braiding class for dads. But to her surprise, the slots were quickly filled as dozens of men added their names to the list.
Annis, from St. Albans, England, owns Braid Maidens. She has been teaching hair-braiding classes for almost a year, and she noticed a trend.
Although she has never advertised her lessons to be for women only, no men were signing up for her classes.
Annis agreed to offer hair-braiding tutorials for parents as part of a fundraiser for a local elementary school. She did not want to exclude the men, so she decided to hold one class specifically for dads, calling it the “Beards and Braids” event.
To her astonishment, the class sold out faster than the one for mothers.
Annis decided to host a dads-only session to create an environment where “everyone is in the same boat, and they’re all learning at the same basic level.”
Annis didn’t want men who had never fixed their daughter’s hair to be discouraged from joining, and she figured that it might be less intimidating for them to participate if the course was designed specifically for them.
Many men don’t sport long hair themselves, and it’s not common for boys and male teens to practice braiding hair, so it’s quite understandable if they haven’t learned the skill.
“I was really nervous before the class,” Annis admitted. She wondered whether the men actually wanted to take the class or if they were merely “under duress because their partners put them up to it.”
Annis thought the event would be awkward, but she was proven wrong.
“I needn’t have worried because straight away they were into it,” she said.
The two-hour session on February 23 involved eight dads who were eager to learn the craft that has been traditionally the territory of women.
“They were concentrating so hard,” Annis recalled. “They were really into it and really wanted to do well at it.”
The class started with a lesson on brushing, ponytails, and how to manage different hair types and textures. Afterward, Annis moved on to braids and covered everything they should know, including how to form traditional and fishtail braids. She ended the session by teaching them a princess-style updo.
The men, who were “super engaged and really enthusiastic learners,” practiced the different techniques on plastic heads.
The event was filled with laughter, but the men fell silent whenever it was time to do the braids themselves.
“The concentration levels were through the roof,” Annis said.
In fact, some of them didn’t stop until their braids were perfect.
“One guy was brushing out a really good braid and said there wasn’t enough tension at the top,” Annis said. “They took it seriously, and they were there to learn a new skill to use on their kids.”
The braiding class for dads challenged Annis’ own biases and showcased that anyone can learn how to style hair with proper guidance.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a 10-year-old girl, a 35-year-old woman or a 45-year-old man. There is no reason why it should be weird for a dad to do his child’s hair. Why should that be strange?” she said.
John Hardern, one of the dads who participated in the class, has become responsible for getting his four long-haired daughters ready for school several mornings per week since his wife recently went back to work.
He often braids their hair in the mornings when time permits. So far, he has done side braids, fishtails, and french braids.
“It shouldn’t just be one gender doing stuff like this,” John said. “The more we do and share the load, the better is it for my daughters.”
Annis’ workshop was such a massive hit that she now has a waiting list of 45 dads.
“Every day, I get messages saying ‘Please teach me.’ I think it’s going to become a very regular fixture,” she said.
Annis has scheduled four sessions in June and July for fathers who want to learn hair-braiding. You may follow Braid Maidens on Facebook and Instagram.
See the men in action below:
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