Getting your hair dry *and* being a good girlfriend?
August 22, 2016 3:45 AM   Subscribe

This might seem like a stupid question, but how do people who have hair that requires blowdrying and have to wake up before their partners manage that? Hair care product and/or relationship tips both welcome!

In my last LTR, my then-partner was really frustrated about being woken up by me blow-drying my hair in our non-ensuite bathroom, which was two closed doors, a wall, and 20 feet away from where he slept. Other people seem to have heat-styled hair and relationships that last - if you're one of them, how do you make that work? Do you wake up at the same time or after your partner? Do you have one of those Dyson hair dryers? Do you live somewhere with a bathroom far away from where your partner sleeps? Do you rely on blow-out bars and dry shampoo? Did you luck out with a heavy sleeper?

I get that this may seem totally ignorant, but I'm considering all the little things that wear down a relationship. As I start to date again and look towards a future where maybe I might cohabitate with someone, I don't want my hair care routine to contribute to our undoing.

I wish I could compromise on this and join Team Low-Maintenence, but that might be a no-go. I have an ethnic hair type that requires heat styling to look corporate-North-America-appropriate, so air-drying isn't really an option - I've tried, and I don't really look put together. I've rocked natural hair in the past, it's just not quite what I need at this stage of my life. The other alternative is sleeping with rollers in, which I tend to find uncomfortable and men tend to find un-sexy. I'm wary of building washing my hair at night into a routine because, again, I've gotten complaints from said ex about how much of my after-work time was taken up with solitary stuff otherwise, and I expect that other guys may be similarly irked. One has no idea how weird someone will get about these things a year or two down the line.

So, how do I navigate this one? This, like making time for exercise or counting calories, is a part of my self-care that improves my dating pool, but I'm concerned that the labour involved will ultimately put someone off down the road.
posted by blerghamot to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (59 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Possibly your partner was an unusually light sleeper? I've never had this problem and am a frequent blow-drier.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:50 AM on August 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


Why doesn't get up when you do and fix breakfast or go for a run or do something other than sleep? If he absolutely has to sleep, white noise and earplugs.
posted by greta simone at 4:02 AM on August 22, 2016 [14 favorites]


Have you considered the possibility that your ex-partner was just a jerk? I've certainly been in relationships with women who used blow-driers every day and dealt with it fine.
posted by norm at 4:04 AM on August 22, 2016 [154 favorites]


One has no idea how weird someone will get about these things a year or two down the line.

If he complained about your hair drying at night and in the morning, he might have been rigid or uncompromising about other things, obviously unable to put your experience on an equal par with his own. If you see signs of this in other ways early on, listen! Most men would sleep through, and if they could not, they'd wake up with you -- or go for early morning earplugs.
posted by flourpot at 4:08 AM on August 22, 2016 [16 favorites]


Some hair dryers are quieter than others, so you could try replacing your dryer.
posted by neushoorn at 4:33 AM on August 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


You could time things so that you do other stuff before he wakes, then do the blow-drying while he showers, OR

you could both wake up at the same time and he could do laundry and food prep while you blow dry, then you could do dishes and organizing while he dresses -- in other words, you both use the morning time for good things.
posted by amtho at 4:41 AM on August 22, 2016


Yeah, put me in the "that guy was a jerk" camp. Possibly a light sleeper too, but a jerk as well.

I mean, when people want the benefits of living together, there are also inconveniences and trade-offs. Accommodating your significant other's needs is just part of the package.

You're a very considerate person to be putting thought into this. Pick a partner who is as considerate as you are.
posted by The Deej at 4:41 AM on August 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


If he complained about your hair drying at night and in the morning, he might have been rigid or uncompromising about other things, obviously unable to put your experience on an equal par with his own.

Except if he were asking this question, I would be the rigid one, especially if this were about his needs as a light sleeper (but I don't think this was entirely a light-sleeper issue). Where do I draw the line with this kind of thing?
posted by blerghamot at 4:42 AM on August 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is this ex possibly the same one who got super bent out of shape when you knitted in front of the TV? Because this is another thing about your ex that is, as you put it previously, unusual.

When two people are in close quarters, there's some degree of people just having to be humans around each other, not always at the most convenient times or in the most convenient arrangements. Sometimes one person wakes up earlier and their normal routine can't be any quieter than it already is. If your hair care is slowly eroding your relationship, it's not about your hair care at all.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:50 AM on August 22, 2016 [15 favorites]


Even if someone is a light sleeper, you are totally allowed to go about your own business in another room. With a light sleeper, my compromise would be making sure all of my stuff for the next day (work clothes, makeup, shoes) are in another room so I could get ready for work without spending undue time in the bedroom. It would not be forgoing personal care that includes noise. That would be my line.
posted by kimberussell at 4:52 AM on August 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Any time you're required not just to perform labor in order to look an acceptable way, and then perform additional labor to inconvenience your SO as little as possible when performing this labor, your SO is crossing the line. Any SO who doesn't understand why this is necessary for you and continues to act as though your blow drying your hair is some kind of luxury is not worth your time, IMHO.
posted by peacheater at 4:53 AM on August 22, 2016 [39 favorites]


Healthy relationships don't include ongoing barrages of criticism of how much space one's partner takes up in the world.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 4:58 AM on August 22, 2016 [56 favorites]


I think that being in a bathroom with two closed doors twenty feet away is accommodation enough. This is part of being in a relationship, learning to live with someone else's patterns.

I'm on the other side of this question...I'm a light sleeper, and my husband wakes up before me and often wakes me up with his bathing/getting ready in the morning. I either just doze in bed, or wake up and putter around. This is just part of life with someone else.
posted by christinetheslp at 5:00 AM on August 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


Healthy relationships don't include ongoing barrages of criticism of how much space one's partner takes up in the world.

Not going to threadsit, but the thing is that this was happening on both sides - the ex in question would do things like spend 40+ hours/week playing video games or practicing a musical instrument, ultimately making our TV and living room exclusively his. This bugged me, so it kind of feels like we perhaps both had reasonable gripes with each other's behaviour. He wouldn't have understood that the TV thing was qualitatively different from the hair dryer thing...is it?
posted by blerghamot at 5:04 AM on August 22, 2016


I think you might be overthinking this one a bit. Out of the universe of guys you might end up dating next, you're worrying about a very small slice:
not all potential partners are light sleepers;

not all light sleepers mind the sound of a distant blow dryer (I used to share a bathroom with my sister and I find that it lulls me to sleep, the way a dishwasher does);

not all light sleepers who also mind the sound of a distant blow dryer would choose not to adjust their schedule ("Hey, if I'm going to be up this early, I'll do my workout/cook breakfast/internet surf/etc at this time");

not all light sleepers who also mind the sound of a distant blow dryer and choose not to adjust their schedule would care at all about you sleeping with rollers in (a partner who views you as a human being would not insist that you be perfectly "sexy" 24/7)

...and IMO, of that tiny slice who remains, a lot of them are going to be jerks, so the early morning blowdryer will perform a second useful function and screen them out for you.
Will a good partner maaaaybe get frustrated at times and moan about the blowdrying noise? Sure. But it would never rise to the level of a relationship dealbreaker for most people.

You are lovable even though you blowdry early in the morning! There's a hell of a lot worse out there, believe me.
posted by sallybrown at 5:06 AM on August 22, 2016 [25 favorites]


the ex in question would do things like spend 40+ hours/week playing video games or practicing a musical instrument, ultimately making our TV and living room exclusively his. This bugged me, so it kind of feels like we perhaps both had reasonable gripes with each other's behaviour. He wouldn't have understood that the TV thing was qualitatively different from the hair dryer thing...is it?

Is "spend 40+ hours/week playing video games or practicing a musical instrument" necessary for his job (not that blowdrying your hair should be, but you've said it is in the question)?

Is the limited use of the bathroom early in the morning equivalent to use of the common space 40+ hours per week?

No, it's not at all the same. You were dating a jerk.
posted by sallybrown at 5:09 AM on August 22, 2016 [60 favorites]


Another way to frame this in your mind - this is not a flaw of yours you need to change, this was a flaw of his (inability to be flexible about reasonable noise in the morning). So in looking for a new partner, consider that this particular flaw is not a good fit for your lifestyle.
posted by sallybrown at 5:15 AM on August 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


You were not in a good, healthy relationship. Going forward, if a guy gripes about you drying your hair in the morning or knitting at night, you have my heartfelt permission to rip him a new one. You deserve your space in the world.
posted by kariebookish at 5:23 AM on August 22, 2016 [20 favorites]


Where do I draw the line with this kind of thing?

My sense about you is that you're a fundamentally kind, considerate, giving person. I would not be worried about you overstepping boundaries, taking someone for granted, or abusing their goodwill. Consequently, I think the line should be that you do whatever you feel is necessary to feel comfortable and good, and the other person accepts that or goes away.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:26 AM on August 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


I am not someone who spends a lot of time on my hair, but sometimes my niece does blow dry her hair in the mornings. I have never once thought "Oh! She shouldn't do that - it might wake my partner up!" and he hasn't ever said anything about it.

I think doing it away from them and through several closed doors (and possibly a white noise machine) should be sufficient. Also, maybe saying "hey, let me know if this bothers you, and I'll do it as late as possible"?
posted by needlegrrl at 5:28 AM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Number one, it sounds like your ex was kind of a jerk. Even if you were waking him up with the noise, there is a better way to problem solve the situation than making you feel bad about it.

Number two, more generally, a lot of men want the benefits of high maintenance (the grooming, the beauty) without wanting to deal with the realities of high maintenance (the time, the expense, things like hair curlers). Sort of like my first comment, you want a partner who supports and appreciates you, not someone where you have to find ways to hide and obscure the grooming and maintenance routines.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:31 AM on August 22, 2016 [20 favorites]


I usually shower/hair wash before bedtime - this is only because I'm sluggish early in the day. He sounds a little jerky, but might that be something you could do in your schedule to avoid the frustration?

Also, light foam ear plugs really help me sleep more soundly. Your partner could take some responsibility for his discomfort and use those.
posted by mcbeth at 5:38 AM on August 22, 2016


the ex in question would do things like spend 40+ hours/week playing video games or practicing a musical instrument, ultimately making our TV and living room exclusively his. This bugged me, so it kind of feels like we perhaps both had reasonable gripes with each other's behaviour. He wouldn't have understood that the TV thing was qualitatively different from the hair dryer thing...is it?

You didn't both have reasonable gripes. You had a reasonable gripe, but he didn't. I double-down on my "he was a jerk" opinion. "Necessary hair care done as quietly and out of range as possible" is not equal to "I'm taking over the common living space without regard to your needs or complaints about it."

I get up earlier than my wife. I am considerate about it. I turn on a closet light to get dressed, not the main light. I close the (en suite) bathroom door when I shower. She does the same for me if she come to bed later than me. That's just what considerate people do.

When we are both home and relaxing at the same time, we decide on something we will enjoy together; we don't just make the other person endure our individual choices.

There are also plenty of times when we are both in relaxation mode, but one of us will defer to the other. "Go ahead and watch whatever you want, I'm just going to [read / websurf / work on a craft / whatever] anyway." Or we might ask the other for some leeway. "I know you don't like this show, but let me just finish this last half hour if that's ok."

This is not because we have A Superior Relationship Which All Others Must Envy. This is just how normal adults should behave.
posted by The Deej at 5:42 AM on August 22, 2016 [40 favorites]


I get up well before my spouse, and he hasn't changed his bedtime; he's naturally a night owl and it's fine for us. I gather my clothes the night before and when I get up in the morning, I close the doors to our bathroom (which is en suite). He generally wakes up a little when I get out of bed because when I finally come out of the bathroom (after showering, putting on makeup and blow drying my hair), he's got my pillow over his head to block out the noise. I've never asked him if it bothers him, and he's never volunteered that it does. I figure he'll let me know if he's got a problem with it. I mean, in the nearly 22 years that we've been married, neither one of us has had an issue telling the other if stuff bothers us (he hates it when I forget to put cereal boxes away, I hate it when he "yells" at his computer; we've both made strides to accommodate each other in those things).

As for the TV thing being qualitatively different, it absolutely is. Getting ready for work in the morning is something you must do, as an adult who has a job. Taking over the common space in your living area for your chosen hobbies (and yes, hobbies are important) for so long that the other person you live with cannot also enjoy that common space is actually a dick move.
posted by cooker girl at 5:51 AM on August 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


This is a hypothetical situation? You're not actually in a relationship right now? Do not worry about this. Do what you need to do to feel good about yourself, including whatever grooming regime that requires. You might find a guy who's a heavy sleeper. You might find a guy who needs to get up earlier than you.

This is really not a real problem in most healthy relationships. Perhaps you worrying about this now is some residual thoughts and feelings that you are still processing from your last relationship rather than a specific problem per say.
posted by like_neon at 5:57 AM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to close my comment up with this:
is a part of my self-care that improves my dating pool

As others have alluded, I think there is still some opportunity for some introspection and re-alignment of what a healthy vs unhealthy relationship looks like. That is the self-care you should be focusing on, not a question of when or how to dry your hair.
posted by like_neon at 6:01 AM on August 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


What do other people do? They just manage, as politely as possible, to make room for the other person in their lives. Also: earplugs. We have a jar of foam earplugs in our bedroom to block out other house sounds, snoring, early mornings, late nights. So, if it's giving you anxiety, get the jar of foam earplugs and offer them to your next overnight guest. "I style my hair at 6 every morning - if you're not a morning person, here's some earplugs." That's it.
posted by amanda at 6:04 AM on August 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


I agree your ex sounds intensely prickly and sensitive and you need to re-calibrate what a healthy relationship looks like, not your hair care routine.
posted by jbenben at 6:07 AM on August 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have a door I can close, so it's not much of an issue. But since no one has mentioned it - often I will go to the gym and take a shower / dry my hair there after I work out.
posted by beyond_pink at 6:08 AM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Back to the question (which if it helps people, how would you answer it is she said the place had thin walls and an ensuite bathroom?)

I shower at night and then blow dry my hair straight in the morning and pass a flat iron through it. Granted my hair is "white" but still pretty curly. Because my hair is so dry I usually only wash it every 3 days (yay dry shampoo!) so the blow dryer isn't that big of an issue anyway.

Good luck!

(One day my follow up question will be "how do women with curly hair get it cute again after sex?)
posted by raccoon409 at 6:21 AM on August 22, 2016


My only thought would be that I'd use a bathroom far away if I could.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 6:22 AM on August 22, 2016


I have to get up earlier than my husband and he sleeps in the guest room during the week. I know some people are against this for whatever reason but it works great for us. However, he's still only about fifteen feet from the bathroom where I dry my hair, and I never bother to close the door, and it doesn't seem to be a problem. He's kind of a prima donna about his sleep, too. It sounds like your previous boyfriend was much more sensitive than the average person and that you are not likely to run into this issue in the future.
posted by something something at 6:29 AM on August 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


It sounds like your previous boyfriend was much more sensitive than the average person

Yes, from this question and your previous question about this guy he sounds like someone who is very particular and wanted you to be the one to accommodate him (dealing with 40+ hours of video gaming is a thing that people in relationships talk about, they do not just say "My way or the highway") and you seem to be having trouble calibrating what a "normal" amount of give and take is since most other people in this thread can see that the way you guys had things split wasn't at all normal (or should I say normative, since whatever couples agree on can be considered normal if both people are happy with it)

So the way to work on understanding norms is to talk with people, read books and maybe have some people you confide in about things and ask. I grew up with terrible parents who were very needy and self-involved so I've struggled with knowing how much it's okay for me to stick up for myself. When I was a kid the answer was "none at all." I had to be silent when my father was sleeping. I had to not ask my mother any questions while she was on the phone or working from home. So I see a therapist, ask friends and ultimately make the choices that make me feel happy or at least calm about the situation. Your question is not, at all, about blow-drying hair. Or, rather, it shouldn't be anymore since people are saying "No that is normal, getting to groom in the morning in a reasonable matter" Once you've made some accommodations (quieter hair dryer, closing doors) it's not on you to go to work without having done your hair just so someone else can sleep. Everyone needs to bend, but it's fine to say "I've gone as far as I'm going to go here" but finding that place can sometimes be tough.
posted by jessamyn at 6:49 AM on August 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


This is definitely a case not of picking a better hair dryer but a more reasonable partner. Someone who loves you loves your dried hair, too, including how it became dry.
posted by Namlit at 7:11 AM on August 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


My hair takes at least 20 minutes to dry. It's a pain in the ass sometimes but I dig the results and I like having long hair. I usually dry it in the bathroom or sitting on the couch while checking my e-mails.

My partner and I have lived together for eight years with pretty opposite schedules (he works mostly evenings, I'm a 9-5er). I'm pretty much always the first one up, by many hours. For the first seven of those years, we were in a 600 square foot apartment, so I was never far away. This has never, ever come up in our household. Not once. If it were an issue, he'd try to fix it himself (earplugs, etc). He's a light sleeper too. But he's also a functioning, reasonable adult, so that helps immensely.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:16 AM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


From your descriptions of this guy, it's obvious that he didn't fully respect you. He expected you to accommodate to him, but wouldn't accommodate to you. He even expected you to give up a hobby, because he felt like knitting while watchint TV was the wrong way to enjoy it with him?

This is the kind of thing that emotionally immature, selfish men do. It's a way too common pattern, because our society expects women to accommodate more, but -- it's also not what you should expect, and definitely not what you deserve. Also, he sounds a lot worse than normal in this respect.

You shouldn't use him as an indication of what is healthy and normal in a live-in partnership. You need to recalibrate, and start by ditching what this jerk complained about.

If you need to blow-dry your hair, a non-jerk partner will let you blow dry your hair. It will not destroy your relationship, even if your partner is a light sleeper and it's an annoyance. In a healthy relationship, you would work out a solution that addresses BOTH of your needs.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:21 AM on August 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


You should not overhaul a completely ordinary life behavior because one dickhead didn't like it. If and when you are in a relationship where a person is sharing your living space, you and that individual will negotiate these things together, because that person will be an ordinary human who cares about you, and you will be an ordinary person who cares about them.

What if the next person you date is like me, and can sleep through a literal tornado? But you've spent years contorting your hairstyling schedule to accommodate a person YOU ARE NO LONGER DATING? How will you feel about this expended energy then?

You aren't dating that dickhead. Breathe a sigh of relief, and go forth and feel the boundless joy of not dating a dickhead, and dry your hair the way you like.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:22 AM on August 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


I went back and read your previous questions, and wow, your ex sounds like an asshole. There are adjustments you can make (like a fan or white noise machine in the bedroom) that will cover up the sound of the hair dryer, but that wasn't the real issue. The real issue was controlling you.

Honestly, taking into account this and the knitting thing (which was also unfair on his part), it sounds like the early stages of emotional abuse. He was unreasonably controlling of your perfectly reasonable habits. Here's a list of early red flags that someone may become abusive; do any of these sound like your ex?

Most dudes won't care if you blow-dry your hair in the morning. I mean, everyone has their weird quirks, but reasonable people can work out an accommodation for these things.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 7:23 AM on August 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Being a good girlfriend involves things like closing both the doors, not banging in and out of the bedroom slamming dresser drawers and repeatedly sitting on the bed while you're getting your clothes on, and not doing your blowdrying while singing along to the radio full-blast. You have that well in hand. If he chooses to feel that you are not a good girlfriend, that's kind of too bad, because you've done all the compromising that there is to do on this issue.
posted by aimedwander at 7:30 AM on August 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


He sounds like a jerk. Get him a white noise machine and consider your due diligence completed.
posted by theraflu at 7:43 AM on August 22, 2016


Also I would like to add that it's possible to be a prickly, particular sort of person and still not be a dickhead in relationships. It requires being self-aware, and recognizing and caring about your partner as a human.

My partner currently is pretty open about the difficulties he has had adapting to cohabitation (after literally 20 years of living completely solo--no roommates, even). But he is also 100% aware that those adjustment difficulties are mostly on him, and works very hard to acknowledge that just because he's never had to put up with X behavior before doesn't mean X behavior is wrong.

Here is, I think, an example of a compromise made in a reasonable manner:

Partner: I really can't stand it when you load the dishwasher right before bed. The kitchen is right next to the bedroom, and I'm usually trying to relax, but then there's clanking and water running, and I can't.
Me: I understand that; however, it's really important to me that I have an empty counter in the mornings so I can get my coffee and breakfast ready.
Partner: Suppose we both just hurry up and finish the dishes together, right after dinner?

See how that is framed like, "this thing you want is reasonable. This thing I want is also reasonable. How can we both get our needs met?"

Whereas your partner's complaints were framed as, "why do you need to do life wrong, do it like I do it or it'll end this relationship" with no room at all for what you need.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:45 AM on August 22, 2016 [16 favorites]


The boyfriend has been covered.

To answer your original question; try washing and styling in the evening, and then touching up the styling in the morning. Invest in some high-quality heat styling tools, both to reduce noise and also reduce the time needed to get your hair to what you want it to look like. It might be a steep investment at first, but the time savings and the length of time that your tools will last will make it worth it.
posted by vignettist at 8:47 AM on August 22, 2016


The issue with washing and styling at night was that the ex also would have had a problem with that:

I'm wary of building washing my hair at night into a routine because, again, I've gotten complaints from said ex about how much of my after-work time was taken up with solitary stuff otherwise
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:30 AM on August 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Your last partner was being unreasonable.

Also, this is one of those things that is the difference between someone who is eventually going to become "my last LTR" and "the right person for me". When you actually like somebody, and you're on the same team, and you want them to be happy, stuff like this just isn't a big deal. Not that it never bothers you, but it just isn't important enough for all this worry. If your last partner had been right for you/the relationship had been going well, they would not have had a problem with this.

(Example: my partner snores, and this was apparently a huge issue in previous relationships. I barely notice it, and even if I did, I wouldn't make a federal case out of it or anything.)
posted by Sara C. at 9:31 AM on August 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


To answer your question: morning-noise usually isn't a big deal for couples because most people have to get up in the morning anyway.

For those unusual couples who have (1) significantly different sleeping schedules and (2) small-enough living spaces that the noise of one partner getting up impacts the other (e.g. one partner works night shift) the noisy partner does as much as s/he can to keep it down, including using the further possible space for activity; and the sleeping partner does as much as s/he can to protect him/herself from the noise, including white noise machines, fans, ear plugs. Blow drying can happen anywhere there's a mirror.

That said, you are way overthinking this. Most likely your next boyfriend will either get up with you or doze through it. Those are the typical things people do.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:44 AM on August 22, 2016


Do your hair before bed. When you get up, you should really only need a touch up with a hair straightener.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 11:28 AM on August 22, 2016


Nthing that these issues (yours reasonable, his not) and these types of issues have just never come up with any of the guys I dated or with the guy I've been married to for nearly ten years. It's your ex. He was an asshat. I think this will becoming glaringly obvious with the next nice guy you date. (Yay you!)

On a side note, one of the ways we'd get our kid to sleep when he was a newborn was playing YouTube videos of hours and hours of white noise. His favourites were (yep) hair dryers and vacuum cleaners.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:52 AM on August 22, 2016


Yeah, each update you give makes it more and more clear that your ex was the problem here, not you. As a light sleeper, here's what I think is reasonable:
1. Don't dry your hair in a bathroom that's right next door to someone sleeping.
2. If there's nowhere else to dry your hair other than in a bathroom right next to your sleeping partner, dry it at night and use a straightening iron in the morning.

Follow those two rules and I think 99% of reasonable people who also happen to be light sleepers would feel you'd done your due diligence.
posted by MsMolly at 12:20 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah - maybe it's because my husband also blow dries his hair - but I could never even fathom that this could be an issue unless you were in a single room apartment. Even then there's gotta be a better compromise than you NOT drying your hair. A normal human thing to do when getting ready. I also bet that this guy would have complained about other noise if you did stop drying your hair. You drying your hair want the problem. He was the problem.

I'm also a pretty light sleeper but now that I'm used to my husband routine I don't even wake up when his alarms go off. ALARMS! I sleep through them. (But I don't sleep through mine.)

Also I entirely agree with negotiating downtime and TV time and the Deej has great advice. In fact my house is extremely similar in that regard. Probably because after reading that advice I realized my dad wrote it. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

And trust me. With my own relationships - the Deej being my dad and knowing my husband and my exes - he was never wrong about who was a jerk. Your guy was a jerk.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:36 PM on August 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


As a light sleeper whose boyfriend was a snorer, I wore earplugs. Granted, I have made a huge show of asking him if he slept all right, suggested that snoring is a sign of sleep apnea and I did send him information on getting a sleep study done.
Since then, we have both started running recreationally and what do you know? The snoring hasn't been a problem since.
posted by domo at 1:44 PM on August 22, 2016


Trust me, the problem is not your blow-dryer. Your boyfriend was being ridiculous.

I am a light sleeper. I use silicone* earplugs every freakin' night, regardless of whether my bf (who snores terribly) is home or not - otherwise, just about anything will wake me up. That said, it is seriously not a big deal to spend five seconds popping them in before I go to bed so I can sleep soundly.

*Some of us have ears that are sensitive to foam, for whatever reason. Hooray for options!
posted by psoas at 2:14 PM on August 22, 2016


The boyfriend jerkiness has been covered, so I'll skip that part.

There are definitely quieter hairdryers. The Farouk CHI is considerably quieter than a standard dryer.
posted by radioamy at 8:25 PM on August 22, 2016


>I have an ethnic hair type that requires heat styling to look corporate-North-America-appropriate
This is an unfair double standard that is super fucked-up, eurocentric, causes/enforces self-hatred, and actually is illegal for a workplace to enforce. There are tons of hairstyles for different hair textures that don't require straightening to look good with a suit. Something to consider. You don't have to make space for or conform to other people's unreasonable expectations whether that's about knitting while watching tv, or spending an extra 30 mins a day on your hair to fit a racist beauty myth. You sound wonderful, I read your questions and want you to have SPACE to just fucking live.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:00 PM on August 22, 2016


You are assuming your ex was being reasonable and that his issues were normal. Neither of these things is the case. Instead of trying to preemptively find a way to take up less space in this world for the convenience of assholes, er, others, maybe focus on finding a partner who makes space for you to be yourself and is capable of reaching adult compromises when you do have different needs.
posted by ananci at 10:16 PM on August 22, 2016


Thanks for the input, everyone. You're right, this is about reflecting on a previous relationship, and not so much about grooming as it is about how to deal with whose brain goes all Blue Screen Of Death when presented with something outside of their direct experience.

FWIW, I'm a very light sleeper, but like a lot of light sleepers, I keep earplugs handy rather than making my discomfort someone else's problem. Someone above mentioned the idea of taking responsibility for one's own discomfort - I'm overly good at doing that, and I'd like to find a partner who can balance that burden with me, but those dudes seem to be unicorns or into another sort of woman entirely, so I'll see how that goes.
posted by blerghamot at 3:35 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd like to find a partner who can balance that burden with me,

They typically aren't trained to this instinct, so (in my experience) you do have to explain exactly what you need them to do. Good luck! It's going to be ok.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:21 AM on August 23, 2016


not so much about grooming as it is about how to deal with whose brain goes all Blue Screen Of Death when presented with something outside of their direct experience.

There's no universally correct way of dealing with this. With some individuals the only sane response will be run away, run far away. With others, it may just take a handful of conversations in which you say "I understand your discomfort, however, XYZ is important to me and I am going to continue to do it. How can we both get our needs met here?" Sometimes there will not be a good way to do this, and then you will break up.

GENERALLY, though not universally, it is wise to avoid cohabitating until you have known/dated each other for a substantially long time. When my partner and I moved in together, we already had solid predictions of where our conflict points would be, and rough plans for dealing with them. Obviously, once you live together new things do crop up, but for the most part your lives should not be a mystery to each other when you're signing a lease.

However, the universally INCORRECT way is "make yourself tiny and silent, so tiny you barely exist, don't let them hear you breathe oh god."
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:39 AM on August 23, 2016


So yeah maybe that's my universal-ish advice: Take up your space. Constantly. From the very start. You are a person who blow-dries her hair and knits during TV shows, and these things are non-negotiable. Sure, you'll work with people on the finer points, but these things are a given in some way. That's the thing: if you take up your due space from Day 1, later on, you'll know where and how you can give a little. You'll be more aware when you're giving and your partner is not.

People who suck will not tolerate it, and that's good--you don't want to date those people. "How can I exist as myself and still be a good girlfriend" is a false question, unless you're an actual sociopath or a monster. If you're a reasonably decent person, but your Self and your Relationship cannot comfortably coexist in the first place, then you're in the wrong relationship.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:55 AM on August 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


If your real problem is that every man you've ever dated was a gigantic manbaby who couldn't put up with basic facts of your existence (hair drying, seasonal allergies, you become a pumpkin at 11 PM, whatever), you need higher standards and/or the iron will to break up with people who have no respect for you.

My partner and I both have our little quirks. And yet none of this "how to blow-dry my hair" stuff ever crops up, because we like each other and we want each other to be comfortable. You deserve to be with someone who likes you and wants you to be comfortable.
posted by Sara C. at 10:18 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


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