Post by Ross Post by Quinn C Post by Ross Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ross Post by Whiskers
I've only encountered 'do' used this way, in the phrase 'hair do'
- something only women have. But I can imagine that someone
trying to sell cosmetics etc might want to extend the part of the
population to whom they can sell their stuff, and thus feel
justified in stretching definitions.
OED has "do", short for "hair-do", one example from 1918, and several
more from the 1960s on.
It also has AAVE "do-rag", with citations from 1968 to 2000, the last
referring to men.
Ah yes; and the use with reference to men's hair is not a recent
development: Green's citations take it back to the 60s ("a kid with
a dew rag on his head", 1966).
Given that, is it clear that the "do" part actually refers to "hairdo"?
I also see it spelled "doo rag" and "durag", so at the very least, many
people don't see the connection.
Yes, many people don't, but the connection with hair-processing is stated
explicitly, e.g. by Smitherman. The practice was common, and we have
good evidence of "do" for "hair-do". And I haven't heard of a better etymology.
Dunno about the etymology, but I think the start of the popular
wearing of a do-rag was by African Americans with "Jheri curls", and
they were popular in the 1980s. The Jheri curl was "invented" by
Jheri Redding, and was a permed hair style that resulted in a "glossy,
loosely curled look". There was a "curl activator" product that was
applied to the hair daily, and the do-rag protected the hair from
gathering dust and dirt during the working day.
I never had occasion to touch a head of Jheri curls, but they looked
When Jheri curls went out of fashion, the do-rag remained a fashion
accessory. It spread from being an African American fashion accessory
to being worn by motorcycle riders (primarily Harley riders) as either
a head covering that wouldn't blow off like a cap would, or a layer
between helmet and hair or shaven scalp.
I see them on bikers all the time:
Not just male Harley-types, either:
Wiki says the do-rag "re-emerged as an urban fashion trend" in the
early 2000s, but I don't think they ever went away between the 1980s
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida