DISCLAIMER: This is MY opinion on MY dreads. You might not feel the same way, but please entitle me to my own views.
This post might not be appropriate...but at the same time, it might be an interesting addition to the "Should I Get Dreads?" section of the memories.
I'm glad I cut off my dreads; they represented something that I'm not. While I had them for 3.5 years, I enjoyed the challenge of fighting the "dirty hippie/pothead" stereotype. However, my confidence has greatly increased since I've cut them off (2 months ago), and I'm assuming that's because I can be myself without carrying around the burden of fighting stereotypes.
Even if people didn't carry stereotypes about me, my dreads made me self-conscious like they did. When people looked at me a little too long on the streets, I always assumed it was because they needed another look at my dreads, and would each have their own opinions on them. With my short hair now, if people look at me a little too long on the streets, I like to think it's because they think I have a cute shirt on, or they remember me from a party a few months ago, or something that isn't so judgmental like the ideas that dreads can bring.
I feel like I definitely attract different people, too. I know that there are exceptions to everything, but I feel like when I had dreads, I only interested "alternative" guys and lesbians (but that's a different story), and generally, I don't prefer either. I think that most guys that I am interested in, that are different from those I listed above, would not be interested in me because of how I looked, and therefore would not get to know my personality. Yes, this is shallowness from both sides of the equation here, including mine, but it was still there. Without dreads, confidence comes back into play because I don't have the fight-the-stereotype burden when I meet guys.
Sometimes I miss my dreads, like whenever I look at pictures--they look so soft and lovely--but then I remember how much of a hassle they were and also for the reasons I've just gone over. And I don't regret cutting them at all. I don't regret things, anyways--I always try to find a reason why I did it, and realize that it was just how I was feeling at the time.
If you're considering dreads, this might not help you because some things are just better if experienced personally, but I wanted to throw my .02 in.
Pictures as reference--
sad as a weeping willow (get it? har har):
excited with curly hair: