“My mom always told me not to go outside with wet hair or I would catch a cold”

Shauna was born and raised in Encino, California. She now attends CSUN in Northridge California, where she lives with her boyfriend. Shauna’s mother has a history of scare tactics. She would constantly warn Shauna about her actions, like going outside with wet hair. As a little girl Shauna always believed that the combination of cold weather and wet hair would result in a cold. She wouldn’t ever dare go outside with wet hair once her mother instilled that fear. Her mother wasn’t trying to traumatize her or forbid her from going out in the cold, but she wanted her daughter to be mindful of her actions and her health. The intention of the tale is good and many other people have heard it, used it, or believe it. As Shauna was telling me this old wives’ tale, her boyfriend Jon starting laughing at how seriously she believed it. So Jon interjected, explaining that according to MythBusters on the Discovery Channel, the catch a cold myth was a fake. All of a sudden there was a debate… was the saying true? Or false? For Shauna, because it came from her mother, she took it has a fact and there was no doubt about its authenticity. Shauna’s reliance and trust of her mother was extended to the old wives’ tale, which her mother told her. This shows that a tale’s importance and significance is relevant  and directly related to who passed it along.

Shauna shared with me because it is something she has followed since she heard it at 5-years-old. She did not want to acknowledge that it could be wrong because for her, doing so would discount other things her mother taught her. The reason that those sorts of old wives’ tales are still around is because people do believe them, or believe the person that told them and so the tradition carries on.

The myth was discussed here:

“Science Snippets.” Tenerife News 9 Apr. 2007. 22 Apr. 2007 (Canary Islands Spain)